City officials often talk about the potential for a tech boom in Queens in the coming years, but according to the Wall Street Journal, cheaper rents and warehouse availabilty have already given the borough a head start on fulfilling this promise.
Manufacturing company Plaxall has applied for funding to convert a Hunters Point building into an incubator. Meanwhile, 3-D printing company Shapeways has opened a distribution center nearby and education start-up Digital Natives Group has signed a lease in another Plaxall building. Digital music business Songza has also been based in Long Island City since 2007.
Annual office rents in Hunters Point average $15 to $25 per square-foot, compared to about $56 per foot in Flatiron and $40 per foot in Chelsea. And the area offers just as short a commute to Midtown proper as its Manhattan tech scene rivals.
Still, LIC has along way to go. A city directory lists just seven start-ups in the neighborhood and even the firms currently in the area lament the lack of restaurants and bars that typically attract start-up firms. And a true influx might not arrive in the neighborhood until there’s some spillover from the forthcoming Cornell campus on Roosevelt Island. [WSJ]