NEW YORK -- Gentrification, the process whereby lower income areas first draw investment to develop and then often experience higher land values and rents on account of the development, is claiming the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions as its latest victim.
Rising rents and land values are pushing the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions out of the Wall Street offices it has occupied for 15 years and into less expensive space nearby.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Federation explained that Lower Manhattan has seen a dramatic reversal in fortune, with considerable new construction of residential apartments and even more extensively, conversion of older office buildings for housing. It is the impending conversion of 120 Wall Street to high-end residential condominiums, coupled with sharply rising rents that motivated the Federation to seek a longer-term, more cost-effective lease.
"The history of the building is a unique one," explained Federation Executive Director Cliff Rosenthal, who brought the Federation to Wall Street in 1992. "It was converted to a center for nonprofits after the Wall Street crash of 1987, when downtown Manhattan saw huge vacancy rates and was seen as an obsolete, declining area." Larry Silverstein, the building's owner, who has since become famous as the owner of the World Trade Center site, won a bidding process that brought major tax benefits, enabling him to offer the office space at 120 Wall Street at far below-market rents."
The Federation became one of the earliest nonprofit tenants in the building, which previously housed diverse tenants including coffee wholesalers.
The Federation will occupy a full floor at a building just four blocks north of its current location, even closer to a major transportation hub on Fulton Street. "The view is not too bad either," added Rosenthal, "stretching from the East River to the Hudson, and uptown to the Chrysler and Empire State buildings."
The Federation's new address, effective on Feb. 16, will be: 116 John Street, 33rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10038. The Federation's e-mail addresses and main telephone numbers will remain the same.
Additionally, the move will enable the Federation to significantly upgrade its telephone and computer networks, which will help harness new technologies to better serve their members. The previous phone network had given the organization steady problems.