The Real Estate Board of New York recently held the “Residential Sales Agent Boot Camp Seminar: Queens Overview,” in which reps from Argo Residential, Modern Spaces, Corcoran and Douglas Elliman discussed new developments, pricing and increasing consumer interest in the Queens real estate market. Apparently Queens merits its very own real estate seminars now! The free event was offered to REBNY residential members licensed for three years or less.
The picture of the panelists above includes Jodi Nath of Argo Residential, Rick Rosa of Douglas Elliman, Aleksey Gavrilov of Corcoran and Eric Benaim of Modern Spaces. The panel moderator was Miles Chapin of Warburg Realty Partnership. Topics of conversation included neighborhoods like Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights, and panelists stressed a need for more REBNY certified brokers in the borough to accommodate growing demand. During the panel, Jodi Nath noted that over the last 12 months, she has seen a 50 percent increase in inquiries for homes in the borough. “Buyers are becoming more and more attracted to Queens,” she said. “They are leaving Manhattan in the hopes of more space and are drawn to the competitive prices and breadth of inventory available in Queens over the other boroughs. They are increasingly attracted to the sense of community, parks, cultural centers and retail establishments.”
Crain’s has just reported that today the City Planning Commission approved the controversial Astoria Cove mega development. Affordable housing was a huge concern around the proposal, and Alma Realty ultimately agreed to build 20 percent of the total 1,723 units as affordable through mandatory inclusionary zoning. As Crain’s explains, “That means Alma will be legally required to build the units without any subsidy, aside from an as-of-right tax abatement.”
There’s still a City Council vote ahead, but usually the City Council votes in line with the Planning Commission. The 20 percent affordable requirement is actually quite the disappointment — word was that the city would push for closer to 30 percent, with this decision considered a precedent for Mayor de Blasio’s new initiative to create and preserve affordable housing throughout New York.
The recent opening of Nordstrom Rack at the Shops at Skyview Center got quite a bit of attention, but there are a few more openings at the Flushing shopping center that flew under the radar. First off, Justice & Brothers, a national retailer that specializes in tween fashion and accessories, is now open on Level D. And the flagship location of Royal Beauty Spa, a nails and hair salon, just celebrated its grand opening on Level B last week. Grandma’s Dim Sum (pictured), a restaurant focused on Eastern Asian cuisine, is serving peking duck and dim sum on Level B; it joins Little Lamb as a sit-down dining option within the mall. Finally, GNC, the health and nutrition chain, opened on Level B over the summer.
SculptureCenter continues to break the mold. Founded as The Clay Club in Brooklyn in 1928, the nonprofit changed its name and moved to a carriage house on West 8th Street in Manhattan in 1944. Four years later, it relocated to another carriage house on East 69th Street. In 2001, the arts institution purchased a former Long Island City trolley repair shop, which was then renovated by Maya Lin, the landscape artist who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.
Recently, ScuptureCenter underwent another renovation and it now boasts a new 2,000 square foot, one-story entrance lobby with bookshop, coatroom, seating area, and restrooms; 6,500 square feet of flexible interior exhibition space; an elevator and stairway to the lower level galleries; and a 1,500-square-foot, enclosed courtyard for outdoor exhibitions and events.
Now it’s time to celebrate with a special, day-long event and a four-month exhibition. More information and photos are after the jump page.
Lovely, lovely, lovely. This home at 32-15 157th Street, right near Bowne Park in Flushing, is on the market for $938,000. The facade looks to be in excellent shape, and the interior has good bones although it may need some work — we bet there are hardwood floors hiding underneath all that carpet. We especially love all the dark wood detailing and the wood burning fireplace, not to mention the sun room and rear garden. With a little work, this house could really be a stunner. What do you make of the ask?
On September 30th, 1916, the Hells Gate Bridge opened to rail traffic over a treacherous section of the East River. Nearly a hundred years later, the thing presents Queens with a big question.
Just the facts: Construction began in March of 1912, and was completed in 1916. The design of the thing is credited to Henry Hornbostel, under the direction of Gustav Lindenthal. The Hells Gate Bridge was co-built and owned by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad company and by the Pennsylvania Railroad, but today it is the property of Amtrak. Actual passenger service wouldn’t begin until April of 1917.
Interested in nabbing an affordable apartment at Hunters Point South, the under-construction development along the LIC waterfront? Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board Two are hosting information sessions beginning this week. The Court Square Blog posted the above announcement, which contains all the details you need to know.
The city will release housing applications in October for the 925 units. The income restrictions will be tailored to middle-income New Yorkers, and Community Board Two residents (Sunnyside, Woodside and LIC) will be given priority over other applicants on 50 percent of the units.
Lots of news for the now-sleepy area of Hallets Cove, in Astoria, which will not remain sleepy for long. Over the weekend the Times reported that the Durst Organization recently paid over $100,000,000 for a 90 percent stake in the Hallets Point development site. The organization bought the stake from Lincoln Equities Group (who will keep the remaining 10 percent); Lincoln spent seven years compiling industrial properties in the area, and also worked with residents and city officials on the ULURP proposal. The Bloomberg administration approved the plans last year. The mega development includes seven buildings with 1,921 apartments, including 483 affordable units, as well as a waterfront esplanade, school and retail space. The developer will also build two affordable buildings on the grounds of the nearby Astoria Houses.
Here’s what developer Douglas Durst has to say about taking on the development, which is one of the company’s biggest residential projects to date: “Times are changing. Large-scale office development opportunities are sparse and Manhattan land is cost-prohibitive to build rentals. It is time for the family to go deeper into residential and to cross the ocean to Astoria.”
Moving on to Astoria Cove, the other area mega development making its way through the public review process, DNAinfo reports that the City Planning Commission will vote on the proposal today. The expectation is that the city will push for at least 30 percent affordable units at the 1,700 unit development — affordable housing has been a huge concern throughout the public review process. Stay tuned for news of the vote.
This is one of our all-time favorite buildings in Queens (see here, here and here) and if you haven’t seen it in person yet, you need to. Tabernacle of Prayer Church is offering a free tour this Saturday of its incredible Jamaica home, the former Loew’s Valencia Movie Palace. The theatre closed as a movie house in 1977, but the Tabernacle of Prayer has kept the building — and its extravagant interior — in immaculate condition. The tour begins at 11 am and is by appointment only. Call Sister Forbes at 718-657-4210 ext. 20 to sign up.
Then on Saturday, October 4th at 11:30 am, the Historic Districts Council is offering another tour of the theatre. This one is ticketed: $30 for Friends of HDC, $40 for the general public. For more info and to buy tickets, go here.