The State of Lower Manhattan a Decade Later

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The eyes of the world are on Lower Manhattan as we near the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center. And what they will see is substantial progress at the site–along with a growing, flourishing district that may have been knocked down but couldn’t be counted out.

Yesterday, the Alliance for Downtown New York issued a report called the State of Lower Manhattan 2011, providing a comprehensive review of Lower Manhattan’s remarkable economic and demographic changes, leasing activity, and development and market trends since 9/11. You can find the report here.

Over the last decade, Lower Manhattan’s population has more than doubled and tourism has climbed to nine million visitors annually. Simply put, this is one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in New York City.

“We’re rebuilding what was lost, and that’s not just bricks and mortar,” said Downtown Alliance President Elizabeth H. Berger. “Through this rebuilding process, Lower Manhattan has created a multi-dimensional community where families and parks can co-exist with law firms and banks. One of the things that has happened since 9/11 is that Wall Street and Main Street are now the same street in Lower Manhattan.”

Lower Manhattan has redefined itself as much more than a place that thrives from 9 to 5. It has become a powerful community and a home. More than 15 million square feet of office space were converted to residential use from 1995 to 2006. Families now constitute a majority of residents of Lower Manhattan, and 40 percent of childless households say they plan to have children within the next three years.

Thanks in part to a public and private investment of $30 billion, Lower Manhattan has fought through the attacks of 9/11 and the largest economic downturn since the Depression and come out on top. The neighborhood has added 12 hotels since 9/11 and is home to 130 more companies than were here a decade ago.  In the last two years alone, it has opened six new primary and secondary schools.

Lower Manhattan has done more than just survive the most devastating day in the city’s history. It has come together to build a stronger community. It is a testament to the world about New York’s resilience.