The Real Deal New York

Some of the priciest neighborhoods are built on reclaimed land

Battery Park City is atop sand shipped from Staten Island
July 21, 2018 10:00AM

A dollar bill buried in dirt (Credit: iStock)

There’s money to be made in moving land to the right place.

Large-scale reclamation projects made land more valuable in places like Manhattan and Boston, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Battery Park City, for example, was built in part on sand shipped from Staten Island in the 1970s. The same dirt that was roughly $350 per square foot in Staten Island became worth an average of $1,431 per square foot in the Manhattan neighborhood.

Similarly, today Boston’s Back Bay is one of the city’s priciest residential neighborhoods — at an average of $1,384 per square foot, the report said. But a large portion of the material used to build up the area was excavated from Needham, Massachusetts, where prices average roughly $400 per square foot.

While federal and state regulations have prevented coastal infill projects because of environmental concerns, it’s still common in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe, Vishaan Chakrabarti, associate professor at Columbia University, told the Journal.

Land reclamation is expensive, so “you only really see it in top tier cities with really booming economies [and] great land scarcity,” he said, citing examples like Tokyo and Hong Kong. [WSJ] — Meenal Vamburkar