Ridgewood and Bushwick were highlighted as up and coming hubs of the real estate market during the first QNS Real Estate Conference, hosted by The Queens Courier and the Real Estate Board of New York.
Hundreds of investors, companies and people looking to learn more about the booming real estate market in Queens filled the room at Terrace on the Park, located at 52-11 111th St. in Flushing, for the QNS Real Estate Conference on Thursday, Feb. 26.
A panel of leading real estate experts was on hand to speak about the current state of Ridgewood and Bushwick and the possible future of the neighborhoods.
The panel included Lance Bertrand, licensed real estate salesperson for Halstead Property, LLC; Sal Crifasi, CEO, licensed real estate broker, Crifasi Real Estate; Jamie Wiseman, principal, Cayuga Capital Management, LLC; Mitchell Rutter, CEO and founding partner of Essex Capital; and Tony Argento, the president of Broadway Stages. The discussion was moderated by Liam La Guerre, the real estate editor for The Queens Courier.
Crifasi, having his business established in Queens since 1979, knows the area well. When asked what is the driving force in attracting people to the Ridgewood area, he said, “the driving force, I feel, is what drives most people, affordability and transportation.”
Ridgewood and Bushwick are growing communities, making real estate more affordable than neighboring communities. The L line runs right through the heart of the communities, giving residents easy access to other areas of the city.
Ridgewood is a unique community with 2,100 historic properties. Due to these landmarked buildings, Crifasi said investors should be careful because “you can’t change the facade, but you can do interior work. They’re still a great investment because of the appreciation value.”
“I think that whole area, both along the L train in Bushwick and up into Ridgewood, is an area of focus, particularly the retail district along Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood which is actually, I think, going to change rapidly as that whole area continues to grow,” Wiseman said of the area.
Although, the area is growing, from an investment standpoint there are challenges in investing.
“The ability to actually make rental properties work,” Wiseman said is one of the major challenges facing investors in Ridgewood and Bushwick.
Rutter, with his company, is working on two sites in Ridgewood, at 16-14 and 16-26 Madison St. These old warehouses will be converted into a 90-unit building, creating more apartments for residents.
“We are looking to attract the following: sharers, … new families, or those just out of college looking to start a career,” Rutter explained.
Argento recently purchased a large swatch of land in Glendale for his film production company, Broadway Stages.
“I’m overwhelmed with how great it is,” Argento said of the Glendale community, and Ridgewood as a whole.
Argento said that while looking for warehouse space his company was priced out of many markets, “so Glendale was a natural place to go.”
Bertrand said that rent is going up across the board in both Ridgewood and Bushwick, with Bushwick having a majority of industrial spaces and Ridgewood having more row houses.
The Bushwick native echoed the sentiments of many of the panelists by saying, “the main attractions for these areas are affordability, a lot of people who were priced out of Williamsburg and Greenpoint are now looking for these areas to find a new home, and transportation is a very valuable point in these areas.”
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