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TriBeCa School Rezoning Won't Hurt Real Estate Values, Brokers Say

By Julie Shapiro | October 17, 2011 12:42pm

TRIBECA — The city's sweeping rezoning of lower Manhattan's schools will not hurt property values in North TriBeCa, three neighborhood brokers said this month.

While the city's plan, if approved, would force families living north of North Moore Street to send their children to P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village, rather than to the popular and closer P.S. 234, that inconvenience will not cause condo prices to drop, as some had feared, the brokers said.

"I don't think there will be a significant difference," said Bruce Ehrmann, executive vice president at Stribling & Associates, who has lived in TriBeCa for 23 years. 

"TriBeCa is a hugely desirable location," Ehrmann continued. "There's still Hudson River Park. There's still the openness of TriBeCa, the expansiveness of the streets. There are still the restaurants."

The city proposed removing the northern part of P.S. 234's zone and relocating its students to P.S. 3 because P.S. 234 is overcrowded and this year received 38 more kindergarten applications than it could hold. The District 2 Community Education Council is currently weighing the proposal and may suggest modifications to it this fall.

Many North TriBeCa parents, who oppose the city's rezoning plan, have raised concerns about how it would affect their property values when they look to sell their homes in the future.

"Who would want to move to North TriBeCa knowing they would be kicked out of their neighborhood to go to school?" Wendy Driscoll, 33, who has two young children and lives at Greenwich and Hubert streets, asked at a public hearing earlier this month.

However, another broker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because real estate agents are not allowed to discuss the impact of the quality of schools on their trade, said the zoning change would have little to no effect on property values because both P.S. 3 and P.S. 234 have strong test scores.

"P.S. 3 is just as desirable," said the broker, who has been selling real estate in lower Manhattan for more than 10 years. "The property values in the Village are sky-high, just like TriBeCa. If we were talking about a ... school [with lower test scores], I could see why it would cause people to panic."

On the most recent English Language Arts test, 85 percent of P.S. 234's fourth-graders passed, while 84 percent of P.S. 3's fourth-graders passed.

A third broker, who has lived in TriBeCa since 1976 and has been selling real estate there for more than 30 years, also thought the rezoning would have little to no impact.

Property values have never declined as a result of previous lower Manhattan school rezonings, which most recently sliced eastern TriBeCa out of P.S. 234's zone two years ago and sent children to the Spruce Street School instead, the broker said.

"It's not as though P.S. 234 is the only terrific choice," the broker said. "There are many wonderful schools, some less crowded [than P.S. 234]."

The broker said some TriBeCa families have long traveled north of Canal Street to bring their children to elementary school, whether they chose private schools on the Upper East Side or gifted-and-talented programs in other parts of the city.

The broker also pointed out that people move to North TriBeCa for many reasons aside from sending their children to P.S. 234. Plus, those without children or those planning to send their children to private school will still find the neighborhood desirable.

"A variety of people want to live here, and I believe a variety of people will still want to be here," the broker said.