A panel of executives discusses the future of real estate in LIC.
Executives from major city real state firms held a breakfast last week to discuss the future of growth and development in Long Island City.
Discussion topics from a panel of experts included the general future development of Long Island City, the Sunnyside Yards property, the balance between residential, retail and commercial, and not over-saturating the area.
“It’s incredibly exciting what’s going on now,” David Dishy, president of development and acquisition at L+M Partners, said. “I’m completely convinced we’re on the neighborhood-making side.”
Since 2006, over 8,600 residential units have been built and there are over 22,000 still in the planning stages, according to Long Island City Partnership, which hosted the event.
It’s not just the increased residential density that’s made Long Island City a hot neighborhood. Over 2 million square feet of class A office space has been developed since 2003 and 20 hotels have opened since 2008. There are 26 more in the development stages.
“As Long Island City continues to evolve and thrive, we thought it was important to take a step back and examine how the area can use this growth to its advantage in the coming year,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of LIC Partnership. “LIC is home to a diverse mix of companies and residents, and it’s crucial that future development continues to leverage the area’s storied past and meet its future needs through the lens of dynamic current projects.”
Long Island City has breathtaking views of Manhattan and has been touted as an “it” neighborhood by myriad media publications in the city.
Thanks to massive growth in Brooklyn, more and more former Manhattanites and first-time New Yorkers are looking at Long Island City as a place to invest in and live.
“What’s happened in Brooklyn has made the outer boroughs not only respectable, but dare I say desirable,” said Seble Tareke Williams, managing director of the NYC Interborough Fund at Emmes Asset Management Company.
It’s also leading to higher property costs.
According to the partnership, the average cost for condos in first quarter of 2015 were $678,333 for a studio, $820,000 for a one bedroom, and $1.1 million for a two-bedroom apartment.
But those prices are still lower than prime Manhattan, which is leading to a lot of buying and density in Long Island City.
The panel, which consisted of Tareke Williams, Dishy, Matthew Baron, president of Simon Baron Development, and Jon Caplan, vice chairman of the New York Capital Markets Group at Jones Lang LaSalle, also discussed specific developments and how to bring in bigger anchor retail stores.
“I think there is a dearth of larger spaces,” Baron said. “At least the space they’d want to be in.”
He did say that he thinks the real estate companies are creating enough density to bring a lot of really great, high-quality retail to the area.
The panel also discussed the much-maligned Sunnyside Yards property, which divides Long Island City. Some developers have built around the area, but the massive parcel of land remains undisturbed.
“I’d love to say that something would happen in my lifetime,” Tareke Williams said. “It’s one of the largest unused land parcels in the city. It can’t be ignored.”
Dishy said the key is to not let the grandiosity of the site get in the way of incremental progress. Developers need to build the area slowly, as it’s not a project that can happen overnight.
The panel was moderated by David Brause, president of Brause Real Estate, who spoke positively about the morning discourse.
“Today’s breakfast featured a very enthusiastic discussion among some of the area’s industry leaders on the growth and demand for real estate in Long Island City,” he said. “The general consensus is that it’s a great time to be in this market, and that the area will only continue to take off in the coming years.”