50 Years of Historic Landmarking in New York City


New York, NY – (RealEstateRama) — A report released today by the NYU Furman Center, Fifty Years of Historic Preservation in New York City, shows the extent of preservation in New York City and compares the land use, housing stock, demographic characteristics, and commercial property in historic districts with those in areas that are not regulated by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

The report shows the varied extent of LPC regulation among the city’s boroughs and neighborhoods. While 27 percent of lots in Manhattan are LPC-regulated, just 3.4 percent of lots citywide are LPC-regulated. In the case of interior or individual landmark designations, Manhattan had 837 protected lots, more than twice the number of lots covered in the remaining boroughs combined.

“There are multiple lenses through which we can view historic preservation in New York City. This report highlights some of the differences between landmarked and other areas and also identifies some surprising similarities,” said Ingrid Gould Ellen, faculty director of the NYU Furman Center. “For instance, parcels in historic districts are built out to the same density on average as unregulated parcels in the same community district.”

Citywide, New York City’s historic districts are more densely populated and have a greater built density than areas not regulated by the LPC, according to the report. But when comparing historic districts to non-LPC-regulated areas nearby, the report finds that historic districts have about the same levels of population and built density. Historic districts also saw fewer new buildings, but similar alteration activity compared to nearby areas not regulated by the LPC.

Multifamily rental units located within historic districts were significantly more likely to be market rate. Within historic districts, 56.6 percent of rental units were market rate, compared to just 30.5 percent of rental units on lots not regulated by the LPC. Public housing units and privately-owned, income-restricted subsidized units made up a much smaller share of the rental units within historic districts. Only 0.3 percent of total rental units in historic districts were public housing units, compared to 12.1 percent of the non-LPC-regulated rental stock, and only 2.7 percent of total rental units in historic districts were privately-owned, income-restricted subsidized units, compared to 10.5 percent of the non-LPC-regulated rental stock.

Consistent with these differences in rental housing stock, the residents of historic districts were higher-income, more highly educated, and more likely to be non-Hispanic white than residents of non-LPC-regulated areas. In Brooklyn and Manhattan, for example, the mean income for households living in neighborhoods mostly inside a historic district was more than double that of households living in census tracts fully outside of the historic district.

“We hope these findings offer a useful snapshot of the nature of historic preservation in New York City,” said Ellen.

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