Officials at PropertyShark.com, a site that offers real estate data and detailed property maps, announced today that they have photographed every building in Manhattan – about 40,000 in all.

“We’ve indexed each photo to an actual building,” said Matthew Haines, PropertyShark.com founder, in a statement today. “Each photo has been taken by hand, by our team of extraordinary photographers, with high-quality digital cameras equipped with wide angle lenses to capture entire buildings and portions of neighboring properties. These photographers have quite a few stories to tell about all they’ve encountered in their mission to complete this project.”

The company plans to continue the photo project until all of the buildings in New York City are photographed, according to the announcement.

Founded in January 2003, PropertyShark.com provides detailed information about every building and tax lot in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, and also provides some property data for other areas across the country. The Web site provide sales prices, owner names and addresses, phone numbers, foreclosure information, maps and photos, among other information. To date, the company has indexed over 20 million U.S. properties.

Ryan Slack, PropertyShark.com CEO, said, “When we first came up with the idea to do this project, we tried to fashion a much more high-tech way of taking pictures, but eventually went back to the most effective method – taking pictures of each building on foot, walking nearly 1,000 miles in total.”

Slack said that while MSN, Google, Yahoo! and Amazon’s A9.com have attempted similar photo projects in Manhattan, “no other company out there has done this.” PropertyShark.com offers a full picture of the entire facade of each building, he also stated, and provides photos of every building on every street, whereas other companies only have some commercial streets available. “We also link every photo to a specific building address,” Slack stated.

In addition to displaying the pictures in PropertyShark.com’s property reports, the photos are incorporated into the site’s maps.

“While this started out as a practical addition to our site, useful for professionals and consumers alike, as we began to work through the project … it became a conceptual art project with sociological value,” Haines said.

“Both Ryan and I moved to New York City from California and we came to love the gritty, big city feel – we wanted to capture the overwhelming size of it. We saw that New York City was undergoing a huge boom in new construction, and we knew that five years from now the city we had come to love would no longer be the city newcomers would see. We wanted to capture all the parts just as they are,” said Haines, adding that the images are “everyday photos” rather than “glamorous architectural shots.”

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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