The Real Deal New York

The top 15 commercial sales in Queens this year

The borough is on track to set a sales record in 2014
By Claire Moses | September 04, 2014 08:30AM

It’s been a good year so far for the real estate business in Queens. In fact, the borough is on track to break a record in 2014, according to Adrian Mercado, Massey Knakal’s head of research.

“Queens is on pace for $3 billion of sales activity,” Mercado said, which would be the borough’s biggest dollar amount ever. The previous record was set in 2006, when transactions topped $2.6 billion. In 2013, the total dollar amount traded in the borough was $2.4 billion.

Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at Real Capital Analytics, which provided the information for the attached map of the top 15 largest transactions, said that the “seemingly unstoppable run-up in pricing in Manhattan and Brooklyn” is fueling investment activity in the borough.

The first half of 2014 saw about $1.6 billion in sales activity, Mercado said. The second quarter saw $750 million. Most of those sales were spurred by high volume rather than dollar amounts.

Stephen Preuss, vice president of sales at Massey Knakal, said the boom in Queens can be explained threefold: People are being priced out of Brooklyn and Manhattan, interest rates are increasing and foreign capital is flooding into the market.

“We are seeing development skyrocket,” Preuss said. With the market getting better, more product has become available. Still, demand is far outpacing supply.

Thypin added that the sale of the Citi Bank tower at One Court Square — for a price reportedly around $500 million — will likely be the biggest sale in the borough this year. And more high-dollar deals are coming down the pike. The Kew Gardens portfolio, one of the biggest multi-family sales ever in the borough, is in closed contract. That portfolio consists of 53 buildings and roughly 1,300 units.

Preuss, who primarily works in Queens and has been with Massey Knakal for eight years, said he expects this trend to continue.

The big transactions have been happening for a while in Manhattan and Brooklyn, he said. “Finally, you’re seeing it in Queens.”