NYC: Opportunity Zones!

New York City has a large quantity of Opportunity Zone parcels, almost four times as many as Miami. Due to the size of the dataset, I've sketched an outline of upcoming posts below, to layout how to tackle it. In keeping with my previous practice when researching Miami, I’ll start with a broad, bird’s-eye view of the data and then move into smaller, more detailed exercises to unpack the value-add development scenarios of what can you build.

  • General Parcel Breakout (Today)

  • Parcel Breakout by City

  • Parcel Breakout by Use Type Allowed

  • Parcel Breakout by Potential Total Gross Buildable

  • Parcel Breakout by Year Built

The zoomed-out view of the parcel make up within the city helps keep the scope of analysis clear and succinct, while simultaneously revealing broad insights into the volume of parcels, where they are, and what their current status is (vacant or containing an existing building). It will also help assess opportunity when diving deeper into specific inquiries in future posts. These development scenarios do not happen in a vacuum, and realizing all the parts to the whole is paramount when evaluating parcels in a primary market such as New York City.   

New York City:  A bird's-eye view

Deepblocks’ New York City dataset has over 800,000 parcels. To no surprise, only about 4% of the parcels are vacant. Of those, over 90,000 are located within a Qualified Opportunity Zone, a little over 10% of the total [Figure 1]. Of these, only 5.7% are vacant [Figure 2], a similar ratio to the makeup across all the parcels within the five boroughs.

Figure 1. Opportunity Zone Parcels in NYC

10.8% of all NYC parcels are in an Opportunity Zone.

Figure 2. NYC Opportunity Zones: Vacant Parcels

Vacant land represents only a 5.7% of Opportunity Zone parcels in NYC.

Below are the parcel quantities, broken down by city [Figure 3]. Brooklyn leads the way with 39,937 parcels, followed by Queens with 27,046 parcels, the Bronx with 15,138 parcels, Staten Island with 5,315 parcels, and Manhattan with 4,946 parcels. To my surprise, Brooklyn has the most. My assumption was that it would be the Bronx, due to a multiple of factors, such as its proximity to the north of Manhattan, ease of transportation into the city, and the metrics used to qualify for an Opportunity Zone mandated by the government [1].

Figure 3. Opportunity Zone Parcels per NYC Borough


On a very broad level we can begin to prioritize where to look for opportunity based strictly on volume.  We could very easily focus on Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx and find ample opportunity. Manhattan and Staten Island could be prohibitive because they don’t have a lot of available parcels in Opportunity Zones, and the ones they do have are located within well defined markets, so their price is most likely extreme.

In the coming weeks, I’ll take a few deep dives based on our datasets. I’ll combine basic parcel info to uncover opportunity. A few examples, such as Use Type Allowed, Potential Total Gross Buildable, Zoning Code Type and Year Built are accessible for free via Deepblocks Maps. As we’ve seen with the previous Miami studies, aggregating data can provide tangible market insight into Opportunity Zones. Paired with local knowledge and experience, this could provide a competitive edge when making decisions on future development.


  1. These are the two main metrics for an area to qualify as an Opportunity Zone:

    • Poverty Rate is at least 20%

    • Median Family Income Level does not exceed 80% of the statewide median family income.

Author Olivia Ramos
Founder and CEO of Deepblocks, holds master's degrees in Architecture from Columbia University and Real Estate Development from the University of Miami. Her achievements before Deepblocks include designing Big Data navigation software for the Department of Defense's DARPA Innovation House and graduating from Singularity University's Global Solutions and Accelerator programs.