The deteriorating and dilapidated urban landscape of many of New York City’s neighborhoods is rapidly becoming a thing of the past because of people like Joe Sitt. Ancient crumbling structures are being repurposed and renovated at an increasing rate that promises a huge return on investment as well as a revitalization of what was once considered irreparable urban squalor.

The driving force behind the change is a new economic understanding of the potential that urban real estate development offers the builder, the residents, and the city. The prime mover in this glowingly exuberant trend is the Center for Urban Real Estate.

The campaign has enlisted numerous banks and builders including:

-Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group $26 million investment in the renovation of the Golden Heights neighborhood by Jonathan Butler into a trendy place for meetings, food, and corporate events.

-Cook and Fox Architects and the Durst Organization recent completion of a revitalization of the Front Street landmark that bodes to become a tourist Mecca again.

-Lower Manhattan has been revitalized by the Carnegie Corporation, Vishaan Chakrabarti with the Center for Urban Real Estate, and Marc Holiday, a real estate development expert and professor at Columbia University, into an area that produced $16.7 billion in tax revenue for the city of New York in 2015.

The trend often starts with the development of a single business in a gentrified urban neighborhood. That business serves as the hub for more development. The residents of the existing neighborhood see the new structure as a sign of hope and a meeting place. New residents find a place to work and live that is dramatically different than they expected.

The new developments that are springing up all over urban neighborhoods in NYC employ the latest in building technology and energy efficiency. The use of newer methods and materials produces jobs and tax revenue from other areas of New York.

New York has no shortage of celebrities. Many of New York’s most well-known have become involved in the urban real estate development programs in their former neighborhoods and in their own residences.

Fashion photographer David LaChapelle, supermodel Tyra Banks, singer Jon Bon Jovi, actress Brooke Shields, Harrison Ford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, and news anchor Anderson Cooper have all spent their own money to renovate their own New York homes and help set the tone for the neighborhoods of the future. Their investment doubled the asking price.

The city of New York had a choice. They made an excellent investment in renewal that is paying for itself. New places to live and work, a better life, and hope for neighborhoods that had lost hope have been the results.