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The L Train Closure – An Opportunity To Invest?

According to the survey published by the straphangers’ advocacy group Riders Alliance, 77% of L train riders (among the 350 people surveyed) prefer a complete shutdown of service for one and a half years. During the time of the suspension, the MTA is going to make all the necessary repairs of the 100-year-old Canarsie Tunnel damaged by the Hurricane Sandy in 2012. According to the documents, the Canarsie Tunnel was flooded from Manhattan to Brooklyn. The tunnel’s electrical system and concrete are deteriorating, so there’s a lot to be done.

The L Train Closurevia MTA

In order to avoid unexpected shutdowns, the L line needs a complete repair and renewal. The Canarsie Tunnel has about three miles of cable, concrete and rail damages in need of repair. On the average, the L train route has 400,000 daily riders on weekdays. How will all of these people get to work every day when the reconstruction scheduled for 2019 will begin? Lots of Brooklyn residents panicked at hearing the news about the complete shutdown of the vital L line, but there’s always a way, right? A video posted by Gothamist shows the reaction of residents at hearing the news about the shutdown.

What Are The Options?

Despite the fact that the two-track closure is the most efficient and fastest way to reconstruct the Canarsie Tunnel, there is another option here, which is the single-track closure that will last three years. In this case, L trains will operate only in Brooklyn. According to the MTA’s statement, this scenario will provide the “near-normal service between Bedford Avenue and Rockaway Parkway, but no service between Eighth and Bedford Avenues”.

So, what choice do we have when the L train will be shut down in 2019? The Metropolitan Transportation Authority promises to find other options for commuters to compensate the closure of L trains. For example, extra trains of the G, J, and M lines could be added. The Fourteenth Street can have a bus service. Additional ferry service can also be helpful for the time of the closure.  It is also planned to run a shuttle bus to the J, M, and Z lines to transport riders over the Williamsburg Bridge. Let’s wait for the MTA’s future statements and decisions.

What Are The Consequences?

The L Train Closure

photo credit: XXX via photopin (license)

It’s no brainer that the L line closure will affect the rental market in the areas left without a proper commute service. When we’re looking for an apartment in NYC, one of the most important questions we ask ourselves is “How far will I live from public transportation?”  That’s exactly why real estate brokers and renters are waiting for the prices to drop for the time of the closure. Brooklyn renters may be planning to end their leases and start looking for apartments in other places with a better commute. However, the anticipated 15% drop of rents in the areas close to the L train, it can be worth staying, as alternative ways to commute will be available. Finally, the good news! Since the neighborhood isn’t cheap, 15 percent can be a reasonable amount to save on rent.

It’s an interesting fact that despite the rumors about the Canarsie Tunnelshutdown, “the monthly average rent in Brooklyn increased by 1.84%”, according to the MNS April Market Report For Brooklyn. As for Williamsburg, rental prices for Studios dropped by 2.30%, while prices for two-bedroom apartments dropped by 5.44%. Most probably, landlords will drop their prices in a couple of months after the shutdown. But as for rents in South Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, they could even increase due to the close location to the J, M, and Z lines. The L train closure will also affect rental prices in Bushwick. Rents for one-bedroom apartments dropped by 0.46%, while rental prices for two-bedroom apartments dropped by 4.52%. Although the closure is not happening tomorrow, brokers say that the news has already scared some new renters away. Showings are being canceled, as people don’t want to deal with the commute situation. The area along the L corridor is home to young professionals who need to go to work and want to live in a place convenient for the commute. The L Train provides a seven-minute ride to Union Square for Williamsburg and Bushwick residents. When the L Train closes for the reconstruction, people will definitely spend more time to get to work.

Nonetheless, experts say that homeowners should not worry about the reconstruction of the Canarsie Tunnel that transmits the L train under the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan. The closure won’t impact sales that mush. The buyer pool could shrink, but on the other hand, the inventory is really tight. Thus, the prices should be stable, and might even go up a bit. Still, some homeowners want to sell their property before the works begin, to be on the safe side and not to lose money. So, if you think about selling your place in Williamsburg or Bushwick, do it rather sooner than later.

Unfortunately, not only the rental market will be affected by the upcoming changes. Small retailers and restaurants can face severe times as well. But let’s look at this situation from another side. If people will have troubles going to Manhattan they will spend more time in the neighborhoods. Thus, local restaurants and shops can become popular.  Adding to the good news we should say that thousands of new people will come to the neighborhoods after the reconstruction. Maybe they will become even more popular than nowadays. So why leave now?

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