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4 Reasons LIC's Boom Has Room to Run

With Cornell's new tech campus under construction a stone's throw away and chatter of a development-friendly rezoning, the area's real estate explosion is far from over. Those are among the issues our expert panel will be discussing on Aug. 18 at Bisnow’s Future of Long Island City at Water’s Edge, starting at 7:30am.

1. The Diverse Mix of Real Estate


RXR EVP Seth Pinsky (snapped last December, and a speaker at our event) says the mix of creative office, financial services, arts and culture, heavy industry and a wide range of residential inventory is something you just don’t find in any other single neighborhood in the city. Charney Construction & Development principal Sam Charney (also on the bill to speak) notes that in order for the restaurants and bars along corridors like Vernon Boulevard to work, they need to stay busy during the day, which the area’s diverse office market allows. But with land in some parts of the neighborhood trading around $4k/SF, the neighborhood runs the risk of losing much of its industrial space as landlords cash out, Seth points out. He says that’s something to watch for in the event of a rezoning, and notes that the folks benefiting from affordable housing included in new 80/20 developments will also need the kinds of jobs that make sense for them. Otherwise, we’re kind of missing the point of building so much affordable housing. 

2. Rezoning's on the Horizon


Douglas Elliman managing director Rick Rosa (a speaker at our event this year, snapped at our LIC event in 2013 with Elliman colleague Ashley Murphy) points out that just 10 years ago, there really wasn’t a distinct Court Square submarket. Now, he says, Court Square is arguably as sought-after for renters and buyers as the LIC waterfront. And while there’s a gap where development has lagged between Court Square and the waterfront, a rezoning to allow for more development is something the city’s considering, says Seth. If that happens, it’ll be more of a good thing for developers, since much of the neighborhood’s already zoned for high-density development. Arguably the neighborhood’s pièce de résistance, PMG’s 77-story rental tower, is in the pipeline to rise next to the landmarked LIC Clock Tower. (PMG director Jason Algaze will be a speaker at our event.)

3. Cornell's Coming!


Sam reminds us that Cornell is building an 800k SF tech campus on Roosevelt Island, within sight of the LIC waterfront. LIC’s office market is the natural place for many of the young companies that’ll emerge from the campus, he says. And they’ll need places to live. Sam anticipates that his 56-unit condo development at 11-51 47th Ave will hit its sell-out by then, but says the demand boost the area will get from Cornell in five to 10 years is among the selling points for buyers today.

4. It's Still a Value Play


Sam says when he was shopping around for a site for his condo project, he noticed land was still trading at half and even a third of what it was in prime waterfront areas of Brooklyn. As he points out, access to transit nodes like the LIRR, eight different subway lines and ferry service to Midtown and the Brooklyn waterfront means LIC’s even better served by transportation than a lot of places with a higher barrier to entry. But there’s room to grow. Michael says LIC’s retail scene isn’t yet what it could be, but Sam points to corridors like Vernon Boulevard, Jackson Avenue and 44th Drive as places to watch as luxe residential infill continues to take hold. CBRE's Michael Lee, also a panelist, reminds us that LIC’s eclectic mix of commercial, industrial and office space has people asking whether the neighborhood could be “the next Brooklyn.” But he says the point isn’t whether it’s the next Brooklyn, but the next neighborhood that’s gotten back in touch with its roots while embracing change. That, Michael says, is what put Brooklyn back on that map, but it’s not happening in the same way in LIC—nor should it, he says. Things like the preserved Pepsi sign on the waterfront with TF Cornerstone's East Coast luxury rental development in the background offer a case in point. We'll see you at the event on Aug. 18 at Water’s Edge, 4-01 44th Dr, starting at 7:30am, say the neighborhood’s only going to get hotter. Get more info on the event and register here.