Long Island City is booming. The industrial waterfront is being transformed into a residential community. Glass towers are replacing former chemical dumps.
“People are choosing to live in Long Island City, not being forced,” said Rick Rosa, vice president of Douglas Elliman, who heads the brokerage’s Long Island City office. He’s been living in the neighborhood since 1999.
It comes down to access. Many subway stations are one subway stop, or one ferry ride, from Midtown Manhattan. And the area is still cheaper than its western neighbor.
Low mortgage rates and rising rents are encouraging people to buy, and the price per square foot for condos has exceeded $1,000 per square foot, unheard of just years ago. Yet supply remains low compared to demand, since many of the projects coming online were envisioned before the 2008 crash. But the next wave spreads new buildings further. Related Companies, the big developer of Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards, is adding more housing at Hunter’s Point South. Rockrose is building up Court Square.
And perhaps nothing epitomizes the new flavor of the neighborhood than TF Cornerstone’s 4545 Center Boulevard and its resort-like rooftop amenity deck, which will have tennis and volleyball courts, grills and a park when it is completed.
The housing surge has not yet been fully matched by retail. Residents are still awaiting a full-scale grocery store. Family-owned shops continue doing business in the same spot that they’ve occupied for decades. But other institutions, like the graffiti center 5Pointz, are on the way out.
Although Williamsburg is an obvious comparison, Rosa likens Long Island City more with Battery Park City, the planned community on Manhattan’s West Side that was formed by man, not nature. “It’s more family driven, less bar-driven,” says Rosa of Long Island City. “It’s forming its own identity.”
Photos: Roland Li