Half the homes in one of NYC’s priciest nabes vacant most of the year

From left, State Senator Liz Krueger, 721 Fifth Avenue

From left, State Senator Liz Krueger, 721 Fifth Avenue

Nearly half of the apartments in one of New York’s most expensive neighborhoods are empty for the majority of the year.

Data from the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey reveals that, 285 out of 496 apartments, or 57 percent, in a three-block stretch of Midtown, from East 56th Street to East 59th Street, between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, are vacant at least 10 months a year. From East 59th Street to East 63rd Street, 628 of 1,261 homes, or almost 50 percent, are vacant the majority of the time.

“My district has some of the most expensive land values in the world — I’m ground zero for the issue of foreign buyers,” State Senator Liz Krueger, whose district includes Midtown, told the New York Times. “I met with a developer who is building one of those billionaire buildings on 57th Street and he told me, ‘Don’t worry, you won’t need any more services, because the buyers won’t be sending their kids to school here, there won’t be traffic.’”

The developer told her that the buyers basically would never be here. “He said it like this was a positive thing,” she added.

It should be noted, however, that the Census Bureau data does not drill down into individual buildings.

State Senator Brad Hoylman is proposing legislation to charge an additional tax to owners of expensive pieds-à-terre. According to the proposal, owners of a pied-à-terre priced between $5 million and $6 million would pay 0.5 percent of the amount over the $5 million threshold in annual taxes. This would gradually increase, capping off at properties of more than $25 million, where the owner would pay a $370,000 annual fee plus 4 percent of the amount over $25 million. [NYT] —TRD

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