New York City Real Estate Battles Rising Seas

12:40:59 | 2012-06-12

The light blue area above depicts today’s FEMA 100-year flood zone for the city (the area of the city that is expected to be flooded once every 100 years). With rising sea levels, a 100-year flood at the end of this century (not mapped here) is projected to inundate a far larger area of New York City, especially under the higher emissions scenario. Critical transportation infrastructure located in the Battery area of lower Manhattan could be flooded far more frequently unless protected. The increases likelihood of flooding is causing planners to look into building storm-surge barriers in New York Harbor to protect downtown New York City.
(New York, NY) — With 520 miles of coastline, New York City is currently one of the top cities in the United States vulnerable to rising seas levels. Due to current and expected climate changes, the sea levels surrounding New York City are projected to rise 13 inches by the year 2050.

The report, issued by Climate Central, provided a harsh reality for New York City officials to face, as one of the city’s most pressing problems is set to have an even greater magnitude.

Even though the city is already spending $1.5 billion to improve its current storm water management systems to keep water levels from encroaching on city space; this effort may not be enough. This number may not even compare to the funds that will be needed to build proper infrastructures to protect the New York City shorelines if they rise as expected.While there are some parties looking to find ways to combat the potential rising water levels, by adding wet lands or other potential barriers, there are others that are looking to construct new homes along much of the New York coastline.

One new construction area that is garnering a great deal of attention is the initiative to build homes in the current Hudson River Park area on Pier 40. Despite reports indicating that the rising sea levels with eventually threaten the area, there are plans, instigated by the Hudson River Park Trust to build homes in the area to bring back the struggling public park. However, some are challenging the idea and claiming that it is both economically and environmentally irresponsible. Not only will the homes be placed in an area that is projected to be underwater in a few years, but the cost of maintaining and insuring housing built over the water in the area is projected to be exorbitant. This may cause private developers to seek public subsidies and cause even more more of a burden to the area.

Numerous open spaces along the water front, such as those in the Hudson River Park area are consistently being looked at by NYC developers as potential new space for housing. Despite the impending issue of overcrowding in New York that has many in the real estate world worried, developers must also look to see if taking advantage of these open spaces for housing will outweigh their potential future dangers.


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