Halstead Property is making its first foray into Queens with a new office in Long Island City, where the firm hopes to capitalize on a new development boom.
The firm opened a 1,500-square-foot office at 47-12 Vernon Boulevard in the Hunters Point area. Robert Whalen, who worked at Nest Seekers International and was press secretary to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, will oversee the 20-agent office as director of sales.
“When you look at the amount of development going on, how could you not look at it [Long Island City]?” Halstead CEO Diane Ramirez told The Real Deal. “We’ve had our eyes on it for a while. We’ve been selling there for a while and we like boots on the ground.”
According to a recent TRD analysis, more than 24,000 residential units are being developed in Queens. And some say the number could be higher; once projects in the predevelopment stage are announced, some 30,000 units are expected in Long Island City and Astoria.
Condo prices in Long Island City are now north of $1,000 per square foot, up from around $700 per square foot 18 months ago, according to Modern Spaces, one of the most active residential brokerages in Queens. In Astoria, prices are between $800 and $1,000 per square foot.
Last year, Halstead opened a Bedford-Stuyvesant office, its sixth in Brooklyn. And earlier this year, it opened in Montclair, N.J.
With more than 800 agents here, Halstead is one of the city’s biggest residential firms and ranked No. 3 on TRD’s 2015 list of top firms based on number of agents. The brokerage had $711 million in listings volume as of March 29, according to data from listings portal On-Line Residential. And it closed $1.21 billion in sales for the 12 months ended March 29, TRD found.