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East Side singles bars give way to baby carriages.

In less than two decades the demographics of Manhattan's East Side have undergone a major transformation. Yesterday's yuppies have become parents, and instead of frequenting the singles bars that once dotted the Upper East Side, they're now pushing baby carriages up and down Second Avenue.

For property managers, the changes are most vivid in Manhattan's residential market. Over the years, the population in the majority of our East Side buildings has shifted from yuppies and "Dincs" (double-income, no children), to families. Singles who purchased apartments in the late 1970's and 1980's, have now filled their former "bachelor, pads" with playpens and high chairs.

The realities of today's real estate market means that it takes longer to move apartments on the market and sellers generally must accept less money than they paid. As a result, families are staying in the buildings they bought into rather than migrating to the suburbs, a decision that is less a result of choice than of necessity. This is true of our buildings throughout Manhattan's East Side from 205 Third Avenue in the Grammercy Park area, The Vanderbilt at 235 East 40th Street, and all the way to The Upper East Side.

For the residential real estate market, the effects of these changing demographics have had a profound impact on everything from the types of retailers that have opened stores on the East Side to the way tenants view their buildings.

Owners of co-ops and condominiums are increasingly turning to renovation in order to adapt to the new realities of family living. Simultaneously, they are

paying more attention to their buildings in order to protect the value of their investments.

The scaffolding that currently covers much of the East Side is evidence of the restoration of much of the city's older housing stock. But this restoration goes far beyond the condition of building facades. Common areas and building services have assumed increasing importance. Tenants are insisting on exercise rooms, building security has become a major concern, requiring more service and additional building attendants, and laundry rooms are now of the utmost importance.

As the East Side has matured, so has the role of property managers. The days are gone when a property manager's primary responsibility was to attend monthly board meetings, deal with residents' complaints and personnel relations. Today, property managers must become increasingly sophisticated, offering more in the way of personal service, financing expertise, employee/resident relations and insurance expertise, as well as assuming responsibility for all the physical aspects of building management.

Today's economic downturn has forced property managers to wear an increasing number of hats and deal with a multitude of special problems. People now view their property manager in the same way they regard a doctor, lawyer or accountant. In order to maintain their investments, owners are playing an' active role in dealing with the value of not only their apartments, but the building overall.

Since many owners are defaulting, property managers must now justify every expense and juggle to stretch dwindling budgets. Physical repairs must be dealt with immediately, but new and clever ways must be found to keep building services at a high level. In addition, it is necessary to find ways to upgrade buildings by refurbishing lobbies, health clubs and common areas in order to attract new purchasers.

We are working more closely than ever before with co-op boards and individual residents. With the rush to refinance at low mortgage rates, property managers have the additional responsibility of immediately correcting violations, maintaining building appearances that could adversely impact appraisals, and ensuring that all queries from financial institutions are answered in a timely fashion.

In many ways, these changes are very positive. As the East Side becomes more family-oriented, it is now a warmer, friendlier place to live. As property managers, we also feel more connected to the tenants in our building. Property managers are no longer impersonal strangers, we are deeply involved in the lives and concerns of our residents as part of the East Side family.
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Title Annotation:More Mid-Year Review & Forecast; demographics of Manhattan, New York, New York's East Side undergoes transformation bringing changes for property management firms
Author:Goldwater, Pat
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Article Type:Column
Date:Jul 7, 1993
Previous Article:Life safety plans new residential priority.
Next Article:Manhattan seems to be bottoming out.

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