Essex Crossing Development-SPURA-Seward Park-Lower East Side-NYCEssex Crossing Rendering by Taconic Investment Partners

New York City is famous for breaking real estate records, for most expensive of course. In a city known for $100+ million apartments, deals into the billions, and parking spaces that go for $1 million, it can be easy to forget that there’s also a tradition of selling property for $1 dollar. This token transaction amount is often used a development incentive and potential buyers need to show they have plans and the funds to execute. The $1 deals happen at several levels –between federal and city/state, between federal and private citizens, between city and private developers, between city and non-profit organizations. New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development sold 700 buildings for $1 between 2002 and 2006 alone, though the pace has decreased considerably since then as the city’s own stock of ownership has declined.

Many of these locations may truly surprise you, as they have since become embedded into the urban fabric seamlessly.

1. Governors Island

Governors Island-Sold $1-Downtown Manhattan Skyline-NYC

In 2001, 22 acres of Governors Island, formerly an Army Base and a Coast Guard site, was declared a national monument by President Bill Clinton. In 2002,  it was announced that the remainder of the island, about 150 acres, would be sold to the people of New York. In 2003, this transaction took place for $1. A not-for-profit organization, The Trust for Governors Island was created by the City of New York to plan, redevelop and maintain this part of Governors Island. The island has been open to the public since 2010 and there are plans to make it a year-round destination.