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95 Percent of 20,000 Apartments Planned to be Rental


June 24, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge

Developers are continuing to build rental buildings at a rapid clip, as their interest in constructing condos in Long Island City remains tepid.

At the LIC Partnership’s second annual LIC Summit Tuesday, business owners, developers, community leaders and neighbors gathered to discuss the myriad of issues facing Long Island City including development and population growth.

Modern Spaces founder Eric Benaim, who introduced a panel addressing LIC’s residential community, said that about 95 percent of the 20,000 new housing units that are currently in construction or being planning for the neighborhood will be rental. Five percent will be condominiums.

Benaim said these numbers came from Modern Spaces and LIC Partnership data.

One developer on the panel, however, said he expects market forces to change this dynamic in the near future.

“With current land prices where they are, and current construction costs where they are, the concept of doing a rental at this point doesn’t really make sense,” Frank Monterisi of Related Companies said.

“I think going forward the proformas that work are going be the proformas where you’re selling condos at a pretty high value,” he went on, referring to developers’ profitability calculations.

According to a recent Douglas Elliman market report, Queens condo and co-op prices are rising, while rental prices sank compared to last year.

Such a shift could provide an opportunity for the City and developers to explore affordable home ownership, which some panel speakers said is vital to pulling low-income populations into the middle class.

“If we really want to consider equitable wealth building, there should not only be affordable rental living, but affordable purchase opportunities as well,” Bishop Mitchell Taylor of Urban Upbound, a nonprofit that works with public housing communities, said. “We don’t want to lose good people from our neighborhoods.”

According to John Young, director of the Department of City Planning’s Queens office, the City is examining how to make affordable condos work in Long Island City.

“Our goal when we’re coming up with our zoning recommendations [as part of an ongoing Long Island City zoning study] will be to ensure that housing, regardless of whether it’s a for sale or rental projects, will be including a portion of housing that’s affordable,” he said.

However, Young acknowledged, “ownership is a much trickier problem to solve [than rental] for long term affordability.”

“It’s tough to make affordable home ownership work,” Monterisi agreed. “How do you give a long term tax abatement to an owner? How do you stretch that far enough in the future so someone’s going to write a mortgage on that… It gets really complicated and technical.”

Speakers at the LIC Summit also contemplated pressing infrastructure needs as new housing in Long Island City continues to sprout, from transportation, to artist space and especially to schools.

One Hunters Point resident and biotech entrepreneur said that he is worried about recruiting senior employees to his company without assurance from the City that their children will have seats in neighborhood schools.

Liz Lusskin, President of the LIC Partnership, echoed these sentiments.

“The biggest recruitment issue isn’t so much about LIC as a place to work, it’s as a place to raise your children, and will there be schools,” she said.

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it would be a foolish move to keep all of this new construction strictly as rentals. with such a low inventory available in condos and purchase options for homeowners, it will drive prices up to the point where long-time residents may not even be able to afford a home here.

that does not suit LIC at all.

i’d have more belief in Benaim if any of Modern Spaces were able to sell any of their listings in the last 6 months. 😉


Try Costco on Vernon Blvd. Can take the Q103 bus there and a car back after you buy enough toilet paper and detergent for the next year. Along with prime meat at a fraction of the price rip-off Food Celler charges.


11 years. Not too long but it’s still home. Anyway not to make it about me, just wanted to point out some people are in fact leaving, which may be good from the pov of those who remain.


Of course people are leaving. Its the way life works. LIC and Manhattan are great for a while but most people move on when they start to raise a family. Studies show people move every 7 years as their circumstances change. Most people do not pick a neighborhood and stay in the same place for 40years anymore. That was another generation. There are always new 20 somethings looking to move in and the 40 somethings looking to move out


Just finalized my departure from LIC. Great neighborhood with a bright future. Best of luck to those staying.


It’s not just about the schools either. There is so much more that LIC is missing and more people is definitely not what the area needs.


you won’t get more retail and more offerings to the area without enough volume of residents and daily workers who will visit and support these new stores and local operations.

what do you think the area needs without bringing in more residents?

People don’t visit the local restaurants enough as it is……landlords are charging insane rents and places go out of business.

There is nothing here besides food, and most of which is Italian, and overkill at that.

new lic resident

Can we get another grocery store in the neighborhood please? Food Cellar and Co. is a ripoff and Key Food constantly tries to sell expired/expiring today or tomorrow food.

Unless there is another place in the neighborhood I don’t know about.


Unless you have a car, lugging groceries on the subway is the only solution unfortunately 🙁


There is another place, it’s called: Not in the immediate area. You can go to Food Bazaar or Stop and Shop both on the LIC/Astoria border


Really?! What’s there to dislike about the comment? It’s true. Although, I do like Key Food. They’ve been in the neighborhood forever.


StopnShop is pretty decent.

Their PeaPod service is only $6.95 for delivery and the driver we had was very friendly and courteous when making the delivery to our home in Astoria.

it is not always easy and practical to acquire groceries in this manner, but it does save you money.

Has anyone seen the obscene prices at Urban Market? I saw an 18 pack of Egglands Best for $7.95

Everything else was grossly overpriced as well

ALSO, you have organic produce available from Brooklyn Grange just a quick few minutes to Standard motor parts building at 37-18 Northern Blvd off the 36th Street R train

fresh as h3LL

Fresh direct. It’s based in LIC and you can opt to pick up instead of paying for delivery.


Go to Food Bazaar! The first time we went we were like kids in a candy store. Bought $400 worth of groceries. It is well worth the $10 cab ride each way. Very good prices. Stop and Shop is also close to Food Bazaar. Food Cellar would go out of business in a week if Whole Foods opened up. Despise that place.


Also consider Whole Foods near the 59th Street Bridge in Manhattan. They deliver to LIC. We even took the ferry once across to 34th street and walked to Farway in Murry Hill a short distance away. Anything to avoid Food Cellar.

Anonymous visitor

When resources are allocated for more dog parks and weighted similarly as schools and playgrounds well you know which way the community is going to go ie for short term renters.


Frankly, I’d rather have more dogs and fewer double wide strollers with on obnoxious parents who think their spawn is a special gift to the world.


Thank you David. Let’s not forget the dog fights in the lobbies, the stench of urine in the summer, the drool on the floors in the elevators, the wet dog smell in the elevators and the jerks who don’t clean up their doggy doo.

Anonymous visitor

For David, women are only worthwhile when their asses are slapped on the sidewalk or when they are ogled at naked in a strip bar like a side of beef. But if they want to raise kids in their own neighborhood, they are to be hated and ridiculed.


yeah, we love the smell of urine in the summer and doging your doggy poops like a minefield. thanks!


Not enough schools for the children in the community and surrounding communities now . Always building “after the fact” ..There should be a built in requirement that schools be part of the plan when building like this is undertaken ..


exactly. which is why every TFC building on the waterfront operates like a hotel, and no one stays in the area for more than 1-2 years unless the are buying.

Not only that, but TFC with their market rate rents, and other rental buildings as well are nearly matching prices in some areas of Manhattan, or are just shy.

Why would people want to leave Manhattan to come to LIC for $200 less in rent when there is no retail and barely anything to do here on the weekend?


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