LOWER MANHATTAN — Downtown rents have increased 7 percent in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, part of the recovery that the storm-battered neighborhood has undergone in the last few months, the Downtown Alliance said.
And while about 100 of the neighborhood's 1,082 shops, restaurants and storefronts remain shuttered four months after the Oct. 29 storm, the group says it is well on the path of recovery with the vast majority of businesses and residential spaces up and running.
"Today 99 percent of commercial office space is open," said Elizabeth Berger, the president of the Downtown Alliance, which co-hosted a forum with the Real Estate Board of New York Thursday.
"Ninety-nine percent of residential inventory is open. Ninety-six percent of hotel rooms, open. And 90 percent of small businesses are open and back in business."
Berger presented a view of a surviving — and thriving — Lower Manhattan during the forum.
Even with the storm, more than 1 million square feet of Lower Manhattan office space was leased, the study showed.
Plus, residential rents increased 7 percent over the last few months with an average $4,273 during the fourth quarter of last year.
And while some major downtown attractions like the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and much of the South Street Seaport remains closed, Lower Manhattan finished out the year with a record 11.5 million visitors.
Berger said property owners are making significant investments to make their buildings less susceptible to future storms.
The Alliance found at least 14 properties representing some 14 million square feet of Lower Manhattan office buildings are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to enhance the resiliency of their buildings against flood damage.
And though at least 94 businesses are still operating without full data or telecom service, the Alliance said Verizon is making significant headway in its massive project to replace downtown's old copper wire infrastructure with modern fiber optic cable.
The alliance’s full report will be available online in the coming week.