The fabled Second Avenue Subway Line in Manhattan is actually underway. And this means big things for New York City. City planners had this subway line on the books in 1929, though construction on the completed line will only wrap in 2029 – a full century after plans were approved. But, with the completion of Phase I in late 2016, investors can expect a significant increase in property value… starting yesterday.
Indeed, this subway project is one of the most critical for residents of the Upper East Side. Its initial proposal in the 1920s saw the demolition of the Second Avenue El. Although this route was despised by residents – it did leave a massive gap in public transportation around the area.
Unsurprisingly, pressure mounted on the Lexington Avenue Line and over the years, the “line that time forgot” was occasionally pushed to the fore of politics and planning, including some work in the 1970s. Still, the Second Avenue Subway Line didn’t see any real action until 2005 when voters pushed through the Transportation Bond Act. Included in this act was partial funding for the revived line. Slowly, the ink on construction tenders dried, and work began in 2007.
Although Phase I is still under construction, it is clear that property investments will grow tremendously in this part of town.
Prospects for the Future
The Second Avenue Line, connecting to four stations between 96th Street and 63rd Street along Second Avenue, will not only reduce dependence on Lexington by 13 percent, it allows for new developments along the way. As part of this project, the Q Line will extend north, allowing travel from 96th and Second all the way to Canal Street. And, a single switch to the R train will take you into the financial district by the end of 2016 making 1st and 2nd avenue one of the most desirable areas in New York.
Property prices in the Phase I area have clearly benefited from the Second Avenue Line already. Reports demonstrated an increase of 11.4 percent in 2013 per square foot of condo space along Third Avenue. Industry experts predict an increase of 25 percent per square foot on new developments within a year after completion and some of these homes aren’t even on the drawing board yet. Along with underground construction, decrepit blocks above ground have been demolished opening the way for investors to cash in on new buildings. Empty buildings and land in the area are being snatched as quickly as investors can manage.
Construction on the second phase, extending the line to 126th Street, hasn’t begun, yet the effect on property prices is apparent. As the line pushes into Hanover Square, property prices will continue rising. Along Second Avenue, prices should fall in line with Lexington area properties. With the final stage set for completion in 2029, it’s clear that there are years of growth ahead. And, it won’t be long before they change the unofficial name of the “line that time forgot” to “the most modern line in New York City.