This morning Bisnow held it’s first-ever commercial real estate event focused on Queens, and it was a real eye-opener, literally. It took place at The Factory workspace, and upon entering the building one could feel that a whole new Long Island City was forming. Sure, names like the Falchi Building and projects we’ve discussed like Brickman’s “Ace Hotel’ing” get thrown around in mentions of the transformation of LIC’s commercial space, but until one steps inside one of these buildings it’s simply verbiage.
So let me state it plainly, The Factory is a really hip building, and confirms a recent sentiment expressed by Steve Klein of Brickman RE that tenants are getting a much better environment to work in than Manhattan. Expansive lobbies, high ceilings, huge floor plates, in some cases incredible views, great food – currently the owners bring numerous food trucks in at lunchtime, easy access in-building parking, and like-minded tenants, which the owners specifically screen for. Oh yeah and one more thing: the coolest elevator ever.
Kudos to all those developers who had the vision for this area, and also to the tenants who did likewise. Of course while one still can pay about 60% of the going rate in Manhattan (~$35-40 a sq ft vs. $55-60), it’s now double the $17-18 a sq ft one would have paid only three years ago. Fashion is hip, food is hip, and theese are pushing rents higher.
Ironically, despite having a Queens-wide theme, about 75% of the conversation was about LIC. Nevertheless, some interesting things were shared about the rest of the borough:
-according to Eric Benaim of Modern Spaces, much to his surprise all the apartments at The Marx, a new development in Astoria, were sold to native Astorians1. Confirming the desire for new-build in that area
–Jamaica: lots of transportation and rezoning will create plenty of affordable yet market-priced housing. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work?
–Flushing: did you know that the Koreans were the first Asian group to invade Flushing, and were then followed by three different waves of Chinese: Taiwanese -> Hong Kong (Cantonese) -> Mainlander’s?
Asians now view Flushing as the hub for families to shop, eat, and receive medical treatment. Oh, and buy condos too.
Anyway, I’ll leave you with one thought that sums up the hip factor at these commercial conversions going on in LIC. Mickey Drexler, former CEO of the Gap, current CEO of J Crew, and a widely regarded taste-maker, also said The Factory is the coolest office building ever after a recent tour.
//The Hokulea has arrived: crew members from canoe Hokulea will be presenting educational activities inspired by Hawaiian culture at Gantry Plaza State Park Pier 4 this Thursday June 9th from 10am to 3pm. Public schools are closed that day, so they welcome children everyone who is available to join us and discover the Malama Honua mission to care for our water planet!
//Our neighbors at Hunters Point South have a rooftop farm run by GrowNYC (the greenmarket people). Each week during the summer you can get a box of produce worth $35 from local farmers, for only $12. There will be a sign up kick off this Saturday morning on Center Boulevard and 50st avenue from 11am-2pm
This Small Canoe is Sailing Around the World to Deliver a Big Message – to the UN on Wednesday, and saving the best for last, to LIC on Thursday
John Brown’s Newest Texas BBQ themed ‘Mothership Meat Company’ Coming to Dutch Kills – opening later this year w/ a big patio and lotsa brisket
Fresh Food Boxes from GrowNYC – you don’t have to sign up for the season, it’s week-by-week
Mu Ramen Opening a Brooklyn Outpost – coming soon to a mall near you
Warren Buffett Visited LIC Yesterday, and Delivered Three Words of Business Advice – his pals Blankfein and Bloomberg were also at the event at LaGuardia Community College
Chipotle on Jackson Ave Targets August 9 Completion – if only a small business could pinpoint their finish date so concisely
Throwback Pic of the Court Square Diner – previously known as the Bell Diner, which was in the same spot but in a much humbler building. See pic from 1946 here.
Taste of LIC Will Feature Eclectic Mix of Food and Drink from 47 Local Establishments – this Monday, June 13. Tix still available here
Valet Parking at LIC Restaurant Creates Sidewalk Clutter – Arnold Diaz breaks the biggest story since Watergate
Queens Officials Push for Study to Run Light Rail From Jamaica to LIC – this has nothing to do w/ the waterfront trolley project
- what a Star Trek term [↩]