Real estate boom creates dilemma for Flushing’s diverse restaurant scene

"Low budget food will eventually disappear in Flushing," official says
June 11, 2016 05:00PM



It’s a familiar story in NYC: high-end developments raise local rents and put mom-and-pop restaurants in jeopardy. That scenario is currently playing out in Flushing’s highly diverse restaurant scene.

Several longtime restaurants in the Chinese food mecca have shuttered of late, including the 20-year-old Happy Buddha and seven-year-old Mellie’s Seafood restaurant, according to Eater.

Restaurants in the neighborhood can now pay more than $1 million in rent per year, but the market still can’t bear higher prices, according to a report translated by Voices of NY and cited by Eater.

“Flushing is the most competitive neighborhood for restaurants,” James Chen, founder of restaurant delivery site Flushing Food, tells World Journal. “The rent here is higher than that in the ordinary districts in Manhattan. But the price for the same dish is 40 percent lower.”

But with more and more Chinese people moving to the area, the competition for real estate has grown fierce, pushing up prices, John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, added.

“The situation will be even worse with the increase in the minimum wage,” Choe says. “Low budget food will eventually disappear in Flushing.” [Eater]Christopher Cameron