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What happens to a neighborhood’s rents when a luxury tower rises?

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Plus, former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann lists his Gramercy Park penthouse—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

Max Touhey |

Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to tips@curbed.com.

What effect does a luxury apartment tower have on a neighborhood’s rents?

New studies have analyzed what exactly happens when a luxury tower rises in a neighborhood—namely, if that leads to higher rents for the surrounding housing. As the New York Times reports, the answer is not entirely straightforward.

For instance, in a study on the effects of new housing in New York City, Xiaodi Li, a doctoral fellow at Furman Center, found that new buildings attract more restaurants and cafes—which may increase rents—but that new housing supply overshadows that, as it can in fact help in lowering rents (but not for every building).

Li’s study found that for every 10 percent increase in the housing supply, rents in properties within 500 feet are lowered by 1 percent.

“Those benefits appear to be going to tenants in high-end and midrange buildings nearby,” the Times explains. “Presumably, their landlords see new competition and adjust their own rents accordingly.”

But, as the Times points out, the same study finds that new housing has no effect on rents in buildings more than 500 feet away, as landlords may not see luxury towers as their competition directly.

And in other news…

  • A profile of Thomas Heatherwick, who’s responsible for several major (but not always loved) projects on Manhattan’s west side.
  • More than 6,000 NYCHA apartments will come under private management as part of a $1.5 billion deal that will help fund much-needed repairs for the agency’s ailing housing stock.
  • Get a peek inside the New York Society Library, once frequented by George Washington.
  • Former WeWork CEO Adam Neumann wants $37 million for his triplex near Gramercy Park.
  • One year after the Amazon HQ2 deal fell apart, state Sen. Michael Gianaris—one of the lawmakers who strongly criticized that deal—wants the city to rethink incentive programs that offer tax breaks to big corporations.
  • The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a new structure that will rise on a Dumbo lot that’s been empty for decades.
  • And finally, Greely Square Park is now home to what might just be the city’s nicest bathroom. Go forth and pee in peace this weekend; we’ll be back on Tuesday.