UPPER WEST SIDE — While the luxury boom in the southern end of the neighborhood continues, developers have rushed to its northern edge as well, and local families are feeling the pinch of escalating prices, experts said.
Investment in the northern section, from roughly West 96th Street to West 115th Street — which some argue was set off by the arrival of the Columbus Square development in 2009 — has accelerated in the past two to three years, said Shlomi Reuveni, managing director of Town New Development.
In that 14-block range, there are no fewer than seven residential developments either soon to be under construction, currently under construction or already accepting applications to rent or buy units.
"The neighborhood right now is in an incredible process of transition," Reuveni said.
Rental prices went up by 4 percent in the neighborhood last year, the fourth highest percentage boost of all Manhattan neighborhoods in 2015. And the median price per square foot for residential sales leapt upward by $409 last year, from $1,250 to $1,659 at the end of 2015, according to the real estate firm MNS.
Many of the condo buyers at One Morningside Park, at West 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue, came from points south in the neighborhood. They were residents who didn't want to leave, but found the lower portion of the Upper West Side increasingly unaffordable, Reuveni said.
Upper West Siders know what they have and want to stay, so they're moving north, he said.
"Unlike many other neighborhoods it would be harder to move someone from the West Side to Downtown or to the East Side," he said.
Reuveni will soon launch condo sales at Circa Central Park, a new 38-unit condo building developed by Artimus Construction that sits along Frederick Douglass Circle at West 110th Street. Residents will start moving in next January, he said.
From the inquiries he's gotten already before the official launch and some sales that have already been made, Reuveni characterizes the demand for the building as "incredible," and evidence that locals see it as a "value proposition."
Though there are some units below the median price per square foot for the neighborhood, there are also those well above it. The 38 units range from $1,500 a square foot to $3,000 a square foot.
Perceptions are changing about the entire area and it's not just real estate development that's coming.
A new gastropub is on its way to Columbus Avenue at West 107th Street; a craft beer hall opened on Broadway at West 106th Street this summer, followed by another craft beer hall on Amsterdam at West 108th Street; as well as a new wood-fired pizza restaurant and an Italian restaurant on Broadway at West 107th Street that has a sister spot in SoHo, among others.
As a 27-year-long Upper West Side resident, these changes to the north feel "very fast," and they make this area feel more like "an extension" of the blocks south.