The Real Deal New York

Shibber Khan is switching gears at his LIC site with plans for one of the city’s largest self-storage facilities

The developer had been marketing the property for sale
By Mary Diduch | February 01, 2019 10:00AM

Shibber Khan and 31-08 Norther Boulevard in Long Island City (Credit: YouTube and Google Maps)

Looks like Shibber Khan’s Criterion Group will be keeping its Long Island City development site after all — and it’s planning to build one of the city’s largest self-storage facilities on it.

The Queens-based development firm wants to construct a nine-story self-storage and commercial facility at 31-08 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City, according to a new building application pre-filed with the city’s building department.

The project will span about 255,000 square feet and stand 115 feet tall. That would make it one of the biggest self-storage facilities in New York. In the Bronx, Public Storage’s Gerard Avenue site stands at 12 stories tall with 270,000 rentable square feet of space.

Khan’s firm did not immediately return a request for comment.

Criterion bought the development site in 2015 for $40 million from investor Joel Gluck with plans to hold it long term.

But the company changed its tune after getting offers from others looking to build a large office complex there, and in 2016 began marketing the site for sale.

The move to build a self-storage property marks a departure for Criterion, which in the past has focused on multifamily developments in Western Queens.

But with the flurry of residential activity in Long Island City, thanks to the impending arrival of Amazon’s headquarters to the neighborhood, Criterion may be banking on a growth in demand for people to store their belongings.

Some industry experts note the city already has a dearth of self-storage space. New York is the least-supplied market in the country on a per-capita basis, with a per-person inventory of around 3 net square feet. That’s half the national average, according to the most recent analysis on the sector from research from Yardi Matrix.

Thanks to this rising demand, rents for self-storage space in the New York metro area rose 3.6 percent year over year in December, according to Yardi. That’s triple November’s growth rate of 1.2 percent.