Real estate recaptures the headlines this week. Notably the LIC Partnership held it’s 11th Annual Real Estate Breakfast this morning. I’ve noted before how it’s always a sold out crowd, and how it’s become more about networking1 than knowledge, as the rest of the city/planet has caught up with the Long Island City phenomenon since I first started reporting on this event four breakfasts ago. Thus it’s largely a victim of its own success.
If there was one theme that seemed to stand out, it was how interest in LIC from an investment-perspective, has shifted from residential to commercial. Between all the supply coming on and the increase in prices for properties and land that’s zoned for residential, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
One of the panelists, Steve Klein of Brickman Real Estate, gave a good overview of the how and why of commercial RE in LIC today. Two years ago Brickman purchased a four-story 320,000 square foot factory-like building that’s two blocks from the 33rd St. 7-train stop. Since then, as the NYC office environment has evolved, they’ve completely shifted their investment mindset from making only small upgrades to a full renovation. Think Ace Hotelesque, with an enlarged lobby outfitted to be more like a lounge for all the tenants to use, four food “stations,” a bike room, and a small gym with a showers equipped locker room. As Steve pointed out, the latter are needed for all those tenants using bikes for their commute.
Here’s the math that’s motivating developers to pay up for these commercial buildings, and tenants to move there despite the locale. If a business occupying 50,000 sq ft in the garment center is currently paying $60 a square foot, they can get a similar office in one of these newly retrofitted buildings for $35 a square foot, thus saving $1.25 million a year. In addition, Steve added, they are getting a much better environment to work in which will include 16′ ceilings and the aforementioned amenities – something similar buildings in Manhattan are not adding.
Confirming this trend, Paul Neuman who’s Neuman’s Kitchen just started operating out of LIC after two decades on the Lower East Side, said he’s getting 2 1/2 times the space he had in his old location for the exact same price. After a lengthy search city wide, Paul decided on LIC for his corporate catering business because its proximity to the subway was necessary for his employees, many of whom work off hours, as well as it’s multiple easy-to-access entry points to Manhattan for his trucks.
On that note, while knowledge is a smart thing to have in the real estate business, so is a good spread – which Neuman’s brought with them this year to enhance the event.
A Q& A on LIC Real Estate with JRT Realty – a basic summary on the current commercial state
A Construction Update on 41-21 28th Street – not much to report, but will be a pretty cool building when it’s complete
TF Cornerstone’s Jeremy Shell Still Loves Rentals – if you want to understand the definition of long-term thinking in the real estate business, read this
Frustrated 7-Train Riders Unload on Officials – at the 7-train town hall meeting last night. Despite all the kvetching, some interesting thinsg came out of it: track replacement and Steinway Tube work will be finished by year end; two additional trains to be added to the evening commute in the fall; and the CBTC project, which will speed up service and bring countdown clocks to the 7-line, should be completed in 2017
Acid Attack Was Heinous Cover-Up – a woman who had acid thrown on her last summer in LIC, was the director of a charity that was being embezzled by the alleged perpetrators according to the DA
Nomad Cycle Arrives on 37th and 37th – a move from their original home of two years in out of the way Austell Place
- this years attendees included Melinda Katz and Carolyn Maloney – who like most politicians have a nose for constituents and