THE CHANGING FACE OF HARLEM is big news. After decades of stagnation, and a few years of runaway real estate prices, buyers and developers are charging uptown, the best bargains in Manhattan. Rents are rising, prices are soaring. Although "affordable units" are often part of the deal in new high-rises, the character -- and affordability -- of the area is bound to change.

We begin with an aerial shot of the area between Park and Lexington Avenues, from 121st to 126th Streets: an area with a LOT of potential! On the left of this photo is the 125th Street Metro North/Amtrak station (there's also a subway stop at 125th and Lex, a block to the East). In the vacant lot directly to the left of the train station, a new 34-story office/residential tower, "Harlem Park," is planned.

The eight city blocks shown below have 141 tax lots in them. By the city's figures, their aggregate land value, as of 2006, is $24.9 million, and their aggregate building value is $73.4 million. But you know what? As we keep telling you: be very suspicious. Eleven parcels that have been sold, during the last two years, are highlighted in red below. (They aren't the only sales, as it turns out -- fifteen more, in these 8 blocks, were listed with a selling price of Zero.) In any case, the combined selling prices of the eleven parcels shown here was -- wait for it -- $26.7 million.

Here's a quick rundown on the sales shown above:

104-106 East 126th Street. A four-story, commercial (Class 4) building, built in 1900. The city says its value (land + building) is $151,000; it sold in August, 2005 for $3,375,000 -- and has, since then, been snazzily renovated.

132 East 126th Street. A single-story sliver of a building, 15 x 100. Listed obscurely on the assessment rolls (no street address is given), it sold in June '06 for $1.18 million. The city said its value was $428,000 -- which actually seems high, considering...

100-102 E. 124th Street. Two five-story apartment buildings with 50 residential units. Valued by the city (land + building) at $737,000, they sold in August '06 for $5,197,500.

120-122 E. 124th Street. Another two-fer deal. These two five-story buildings, valued at $988,000, were sold in May '05 for $7.6 million. Together they are 100 feet wide by 100 feet deep.

160-164 E 124th Street. Three 21-foot wide, 3-story buildings have recently been demolished here. All three have the same owner; their consolidation was effected in 2004 for a mere $399,000. Their combined tax bill for this year is $19,147.

100 E. 123rd Street. The only building standing for some ways around, this sold in Nov. '04 for $500,000, about $50K less than the city said it was worth.

146 East 123rd Street.
This impressive building contains five commercial and 12 residential units; the city considers it to be worth $643K, but it sold in July '05 for $2.7 million.

Four of the five vacant tax lots to the left are owned by Parks and Recreation; the building to the far left, 170 E. 123rd, is owned by Ebenezer Baptist Church. Its land is tax-exempt, but the building is not.

2017, 2011 and 2007 Lexington Avenue. The situation here is a bit curious -- it'll be interesting to see what transpires on this block. Though you can't see it in the picture, 2017 has a vacant lot on either side of it. 2011 is two doors down, and 2007 is another two doors down. They all have different owners, so this doesn't seem to be a big bundling deal -- at least, not yet. To make a long story short, though, here are their numbers:

Address

"Lex. Ave."
2017 Lex
2015 Lex
2011 Lex
2007 Lex

Stories

0
3
0
3
4

"LV"

??
85,500
19,000
42,300
28,900

"BV"

0
500,000
0
71,200
6,300

Sale price

N/A
813,561
N/A
905,000
920,000

Stay tuned for more astounding deals in Harlem!


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