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Developers likely to start building condos, as young renters want to put down roots

Rockrose's Linc LIC

Rockrose’s Linc LIC in Court Square

June 19, 2014 By Christian Murray

Several of Long Island City’s leading real estate experts believe that developers will start focusing on building condos now that the neighborhood is starting to mature.

Developers have largely focused on building rental units since coming to the neighborhood a little over a decade ago. For instance, TF Cornerstone has built six out of its seven waterfront properties as rentals. Rockrose, too, has focused on rentals since it started building in Court Square.

However, this focus is likely to change.

“You have all these renters coming in who are falling in love with [Long Island City] and are getting invested in it,” said Justin Elghanayan, president of Rockrose, who was a panelist at the LIC Summit on Tuesday. “We are gestating a large condo market…where there are a lot of young people who start renting and then want to stay.”

Rockrose is in the midst of developing four buildings in Court Square totaling 2,200 units. “The final building of the four may be [a small] condo,” Elghanayan said. He said that developers tend not to build condos until an area has matured and taken shape.

However, many renters are moving out of Long Island City despite their love of the area.

Eric Benaim, founder of Modern Spaces and another panelist at the LIC Summit, said a big factor for their departure is the lack of 3 bedroom apartments in the neighborhood. He said that in most buildings about 30% are 2 bedrooms, with the remainder typically studios and 1 bedrooms.

“There is demand for—yet lack of–3 bedrooms in the neighborhood…and families are moving out to the suburbs since they can’t find any large apartments,” Benaim said.

Kevin Singleton, executive vice president at TF Cornerstone and panelist, said the neighborhood has more families than the company ever anticipated.

He said that when the company developed 45-45 Center Boulevard it constructed a children’s playground catering to the needs of 45 children. “Now we have a waiting list to use it…so there are a lot of children and strollers,” Singleton said.

The demand from families was also evident at TF Cornerstone’s 184 condo development The View. “We found a diverse population, lots of families, lots of strollers,” Singleton said. “We didn’t anticipate the need for stroller parking originally, but now we have that need.”

TF Cornerstone’s most recent building, however, 46-10 Center Boulevard, caters mainly to single urban professionals. The majority of units are studio apartments, Singleton said.

Elghanayan said that he was not concerned by claims that there is a lack of retail in the area. He said that stores will continue to open in the area as the population increases. Currently, developers are providing incentives for retailers to come to the area.

Nevertheless, Long Island City is not a place where the dollar goes far.

Benaim, speaking in general terms, said that rents on the waterfront tend to go for between $55 to $60 per square foot; Court Square about $50 per to $55 per square foot; and Queens Plaza in the high $40s.

Condos are selling on average for about $1,000 per square foot, Benaim said.

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I guess real estate developers are as short sighted as the rest of corporate America. And the City blindly followed along.


I’d rather buy a house with 3 bedrooms, a yard,
have a garden for way less than1.5 M!

Sick NYC

They aren’t necessarily earning Wall Street money or even living on trust funds from their blue-blood families. That’s the perverse thing about New York City these days. We’re drawing the plutocrats from all over the world. Evidently, there’s a bumper crop of them able to buy million-dollar-plus apartments as if it were chump change.

Amadeo Plaza

Well that’s a deflating point of view for those of us who don’t make Wall St. money. Haha.

Medium Timer

As long as the young renters earn wall-street salaries by the time they’re ready to purchase, it shouldn’t be a problem!

Realistically, condos in this area are for those making a tonne of money, not for someone who couldn’t afford to live in Manhattan to begin with.

Time's Up

I’m still wondering how we’re all gonna fit on the 7 – even with increased ferry service.

This bubble’s gonna pop. There’s finite number of millionaires, and college graduates are doing worse than ever.

Waterfront resident

And on the flip side, there are many millionaires looking to settle here, so how about some super large and extravagant waterfront condos? Maybe convert 4540 and 4610 down the road?

Amadeo Plaza

This is the two-pronged issue I’d be facing as well. I’ve spent a large portion of my life in Queens and now live in Linc. I’d like to settle down in LIC, but with a baby on the way, which will probably be followed by a second later down the road, a 3-bedroom would be ideal. But convincing my fiancé to spend the money it costs for a 3-bedroom condo here would be next to impossible. You can’t get one without spending over $1.5M. You can take that kind of money to the burbs, or even deeper into Queens, and get an amazing home for that price. At the end of the day, most of us are still just regular people. Not millionaires. And now that we’re starting families, it’s hard to wrap our heads around $1.5M price tags.


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