KAI RYSSDAL: First thing to note is that there did used to be an actual wall there. Also, George Washington was inaugurated there. It’s where the Bill of Rights was adopted. It’s home to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the New York Stock Exchange. And today, it was put on the National Register of Historic Places. Marketplace’s Alisa Roth reports that’s good news for property owners in the neighborhood near Wall Street.
ALISA ROTH: The street pattern around Wall Street dates back to the 1600s. Most of the oldest buildings are from the 1800s. And around a quarter of the district’s structures are already officially historic.
In fact, perhaps the biggest surprise about Wall Street joining the National Register of Historic Places is that it wasn’t there already.
Steven McClain is president of the National Architectural Trust.
STEVEN MCCLAIN: There’s no question that it creates a sense of cohesiveness among the population. It gives people a sense of honor. It can help commerce.
Of course, he says, the nation’s financial capital was doing fine without it.
MCCLAIN: How that’ll apply on Wall Street, I don’t know. Because Wall Street’s so desirable already.
The neighborhood’s character has been changing lately. The stock exchange is still there. So’s New York’s Federal Reserve. But banks have been moving uptown to other neighborhoods, and people have been moving in.
Eric Deutsch heads the business improvement district in the neighborhood. He worries the designation could impede development there.
ERIC DEUTSCH: We would hope that this designation would not hinder the progress being made in the large part due to the federal assistance downtown. We’d also hope that property owners are given the appropriate latitude and leeway as they make major improvements to the properties downtown.
Landlords may also be encouraged to renovate however, since the new appointment makes them eligible for grants and tax breaks — as long as they preserve the building’s character.
In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.
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