Editor’s note: Parking their dreams

Back in the 1970s, Joni Mitchell sang about how “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

These days in New York City, they are paving more parking lots.

Developers are replacing their dreams of paradise — shiny new glass condo buildings — with parking lots and small, one-story “taxpayer” buildings that will house nail salons and dry cleaners on their stalled construction sites.

It’s not quite the opposite of paradise (the opposite of paradise would have been the hell of early 2009), but it’s a new purgatory for developers of some of the city’s 500 stalled construction sites.

Call it building 2.0: Developers generate a small amount of income to keep their land and delay big building plans until the market recovers. It’s all part of the landscape for stalled projects, detailed in an excellent package by reporter Sarah Ryley, “Stalled projects come back from dead.”

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But it’s not just condo projects getting out of the ground today that are facing problems. Even if the overall residential market has shown marked improvement, new condos that sold off most of their units two and three years ago are seeing resale units hit the market in droves, as investors who bought with the idea of flipping quickly can no longer afford to carry them. Check out reporter Candace Taylor’s informative story, “Falling fortunes for buyers,” part of a package on a new round of issues that are emerging for condo buildings.

This month also features our annual 164-page Data Book, a comprehensive almanac of the past year in New York City real estate, with facts and figures galore — including extensive data on apartment sales, the rental market and the office leasing market, as well as hotel and retail info.

There are also more than 40 pages about distressed real estate — including maps and charts of all the stalled construction projects in the city. And bright spots, too — which firms sold the most in the tough market, the top-performing agents and the biggest sales.

We’re pretty tired from working around the clock to bring you this double issue, and yes, we plan to get some rest soon. Special thanks to Margaret and Dawn Daisley, the research and layout team behind the Data Book, who are returning to the project after a one-year hiatus. It’s good to have them back. And thanks to everyone else for reading.

Enjoy the issue.