The Real Deal New York

Even more condos planned for Long Island City

With land prices shooting up, rentals no longer pencil out for many builders

December 22, 2014 05:00PM

Clock Tower building at 29-27 41st Avenue and rendering of Ascent Development's 11-51 47th Avenue in Long Island City

Clock Tower building at 29-27 41st Avenue and rendering of Ascent Development’s 11-51 47th Avenue in LIC

With Long Island City land prices blowing up and the neighborhood’s demographics shifting to an older, more monied crowd, developers are increasingly considering condo development in this area dominated by rental apartments.

Developer Sam Charney, who is building condos in the neighborhood with partner Ascent Development, said: “We witnessed this neighborhood go from a renter’s neighborhood where people who couldn’t afford to be in Manhattan moved here in their mid-20s… Now they’re in their mid-30s, having children, and they’ve saved up a little money,” according to Bloomberg.

Charney is currently completing a 3-unit building at 5-41 47th Road and has plans for a 54-condo tower three blocks away at 11-51 47th Avenue.

This mindset signals a shift from the neighborhood’s rental-building craze that was triggered by a 2001 rezoning, which allowed higher-density towers to be built within the 37-block manufacturing hubs of Queens Plaza and Court Square.

Partially as a result, rentals flooded the market, with 6,100 units added in the past eight years, according to data from the Long Island City Partnership. Currently, 19,700 rentals are planned or under construction in the neighborhood, compared to only 518 condos — hence Charney’s conclusion that there is a void to be filled.

In addition, rising land prices are making rental development less of an appealing option. Price per buildable square foot in Long Island City jumped 27 percent this year through September, Bloomberg reported.

“Now everybody’s talking about doing condos [in Long Island City.] With land prices shooting up dramatically from where they were a couple of years ago, it doesn’t really pencil out for a developer to do a rental,” said Eric Benaim, president and chief executive officer of brokerage Modern Spaces.

Property Markets Group is also reportedly considering condos as part of its plan for LIC’s Clock Tower building. [Bloomberg] — Tess Hofmann

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