Watch out Williamsburg— Long Island City is quickly becoming the in-demand waterfront neighborhood.
More renters are coming to the western Queens area for the short commute to midtown Manhattan — and for Long Island City’s growing amenities. The number of rental buildings is also rapidly developing in the neighborhood. Leading the way is TF Cornerstone, which opened two new rental buildings this spring on Long Island City’s waterfront, and has already started building two more.
Demand for the real estate developer’s buildings is high. Most units are already occupied and rents have gone up since TF Cornerstone opened its first building in Long Island City about five years ago. Though these increases are on par with rising rents across the city, it’s likely demand will become even greater as Long Island City keeps developing.
“Long Island City in particular is becoming more of a desirable area to live,” said Eric Benaim, CEO of Modern Spaces NYC, a real estate firm located in Long Island City.
“We pretty much have everything we need right now, he added, speaking about neighborhood amenities such as restaurants, supermarkets, parks and good public schools.
But that wasn’t the case when TF Cornerstone constructed its first rental building in Long Island City in 2007.
Between when 47-20 Center Boulevard opened and now, more people started to discover the neighborhood. But when the economic downturn hit, real estate development slowed and rents stopped rising across the city.
Rents are now coming back to pre-recession levels, demand is high and development is starting up again.
When 47-20 Center Boulevard first opened, studios were about $1,700 to $1,800, but today are in the low $2,000s, and the 498-unit building is currently fully occupied, said Scott Walsh, director of market research for TF Cornerstone.
In March, TF Cornerstone opened 46-15 Center Boulevard, a 42-story, 367-unit building that is just over 80 percent rented. This month 45-40 Center Boulevard, a 32-story glass tower with 345 units, opened.
An 820-unit building, 45-45 Center Boulevard, is currently under construction. It will be full of amenities, including tennis and volleyball courts, a children’s play area and a dog run. Also, TF Cornerstone just broke ground on 46-10 Center Boulevard, a luxury building with 585-units. Both will open around late 2013.
People who are filling these buildings are coming from all parts of the city and a range of ages, said Walsh.
“We have a great ability to retain people,” he said.