Lower Manhattan sees fast recovery post-Sandy

February 28, 2013 11:30AM

Four months after Hurricane Sandy devastated swaths of Lower Manhattan, the vast majority of the area below Chambers street is back in business, according to a new progress report from the Downtown Alliance, a local business improvement district.

Nearly 99 percent of Lower Manhattan’s commercial office space and residential inventory is now open. And nearly 96 percent of hotel inventory and 90 percent of retailers have reopened. 

“Lower Manhattan’s recovery from Sandy has been vigorous,” Downtown Alliance president Elizabeth Berger said in a statement. “The Downtown Alliance’s research shows dramatic improvement across all of Lower Manhattan’s major markets. Moreover, property owners and utility companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the district’s future to protect against the threats of future storms.”

The report also demonstrates precisely how expeditious Lower Manhattan’s recovery was. Within three weeks of the storm, 80 percent of commercial office square footage was reopened. In seven weeks that figure had risen to 89 percent; in nine weeks, 96 percent; and in 16 weeks 99 percent of office space was back online.

And despite the prolonged period without basic utilities that residents of Lower Manhattan experienced following the storm, residential recovery was also robust.

After the storm, 20 percent of the district’s residential inventory — some 5,950 units of Lower Manhattan’s 30,500 residential units — was inaccessible, the data show. But by mid-November, 3,400 of those closed units had reopened and by year end, 4,914 units were back.

Tenants leased 1.23 million square feet below Chambers Street in the last quarter, and Lower Manhattan residential rents increased 7 percent, Berger said.

“The fundamentals of Lower Manhattan continue to draw workers, residents, and visitors from near and far,” she said. —Christopher Cameron