While the L train partial and temporary shutdown won’t be a reality until 2019, some real estate investors and tenants are already taking steps in anticipation of the proverbial traffic ahead. As a result there has been increased demand and an escalation in prices at properties close to the J, M, Z train stations, the next best thing to the L in Williamsburg and Bushwick. (The G train, which has no Manhattan station, is also being talked up.)
This is quite a reversal for the unloved stepchild that was the J, M, Z lines. Prior to this situation, the J, M, Z were scoffed at as unreliable; when they left Brooklyn they curled through a remote area of Lower Manhattan; there were few transfer points. The parts of Brooklyn that the lines went through were lagging considerably behind Bedford Avenue and the most coveted parts of Williamsburg.
The L train panic started in July 2016 when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it would shut down the popular line between Manhattan and Brooklyn—on which 225,000 Brooklynites commute into Manhattan daily—for 18 months to repair damage from Superstorm Sandy starting in 2019. Commuting alternatives—like shuttle service over the Williamsburg Bridge—are still unclear and the outcry has prompted the MTA to host public meetings about the situation.
While the temporary shutdown of the L train line will impact residents and workers in a large portion of Williamsburg and Bushwick, some real estate pros are looking at the situation as positive for some and negative for others.