Tag Archives: Real Estate

One Hunters Point: From Parking Garage, to Olympic Village Hotel, to Condo


| ddynak@queenscourier.com

Original concept rendering vs. actual building today (Can you spot the differences?)

Did you know? One Hunters Point condominium building, located on the corner of Vernon Blvd and Borden Avenue, was originally designed to house Olympic athletes.

Back in the year when New Yorkers dreamt about hosting 2012 Olympics, Alayo Architects designed loft style hotel building on site of a former garage lot. Excerpt from the cmpany’s website reads: “The building sits opposite the proposed Olympic Village, and takes advantage of the site’s panoramic views across the East River to Manhattan.

The building’s design is an interpretation of the traditional loft buildings that have been typically built in the area.

The building’s technical challenges include locating the building partially over the Queens Midtown Tunnel and utilizing a steel and plank superstructure.”

After our city’s bid for the games failed in July 2005, the entire Hunters Point area’s Olympic dream had to be rethought and repurposed. But rezoning was in place and Simone Development, an office developer from Westchester, purchased the lot and rights to the architectural plans, and built a condominium we see today.

Estimated cost to build was $35,000,000 and by April 2009 the building was completed. If you compare the original rendering and the finished building, you will notice that that they are not that different.

Trade the crest for balconies, change stucco color, and remove some glass, add rooftop cabanas, and you’ve got today’s 5-49 Borden Avenue.

Consider Owning Income Producing Property


| helen.keit@kw.com

As prices on multi-family homes have come down and rental apartments in demand, owning a rental property makes more sense than in years past.

This type of asset can help balance your volatile stock portfolio and low-to-no-income producing bank or money market accounts.

Speak to a real estate professional so you fully understand what being a landlord entails and how to choose a good investment property.

Are you ready to be a landlord?

Check if you can refinance your current mortgage.


| helen.keit@kw.com

Call a mortgage professional to see if you qualify for refinancing and what the monthly savings will be.

If your current rate is at least 1% higher than today’s rates then refinancing would definitely be worthwhile.

Consider closing costs and length of time you plan to own the property to fully understand if refinancing makes sense. If you already have an FHA insured mortgage you may be qualified for a special program which will reduce your monthly payments with minimal documentation required.

New legislation will be voted on in November to help homeowners refinance whose home values has fallen below their outstanding mortgage.

The Industry Arrives in Long Island City


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Modern Spaces

The expansion of LIC continues. On October 19, Eric Benaim and Ted Kokkoris of Modern Spaces hosted at a premier party to announce that the real estate firm is now marketing The Industry – a condo developed by Silvercup Studios. Guests packed the space at 21-45 44th Drive and were treated to music by DJ Cerok, food by LIC Market and photography by Jesse Winter.

This luxury 76-unit condominium apartment building in vibrant LIC was developed by Stuart and Alan Suna, founders of Silvercup Studios – the city’s largest full-service film & television production facility. The studio is also in LIC and it’s iconic sign can be seen from The Industry’s magnificent rooftop.

With beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline, modern amenities, a landscaped rooftop terrace, and state-of-the-art fitness center, The Industry has everything you need for luxury living in historic, exciting LIC. Check out www.theindustrylic.com for more info.

Your Primary Residence – Rent vs. Buy?


| helen.keit@kw.com

For those who are confident in their job and have their personal finances in order now is the time to buy. The combination of home prices reduced drastically from their highs and interest rates hovering near 4% for a 30 year mortgage make this one of the most affordable times to own a home or apartment. Buyers will be surprised to find their monthly payments including tax deductions (not to mention future appreciation of the property) will most likely show buying a property to be the right choice. An article mid October 2011 in the Wall Street Journal entitled It’s Time to Buy That House  told readers “It’s an excellent time to buy a house, either to live in for the long term or investment income…Houses aren’t the magic wealth creators they were made out to be during the Bubble. But when prices are low, loans are cheap and plump investment yields are scarce, buyers should jump.

Global fashion giant opens distribution center in Long Island City


| ddynak@queenscourier.com

Zara USA, a division of INDITEX Group, one of the largest fashion conglomerates on the planet signed a lease for 22,000 square feet warehouse on Borden Avenue

Zara USA, a division of INDITEX Group, one of the largest fashion conglomerates on the planet signed a lease for 22,000 square feet warehouse on Borden Avenue, located between Long Island City’s beloved Crab House restaurant and the Foundry condominium. The facility building will house a distribution center for Zara’s seven existing NYC metro stores, as well as a rumored new shop coming to outside of Manhattan. The state-of-the art facility is unique and will serve as a testing ground for just-in-time merchandise delivery concept for the company that prides itself in quality of both product and customer shopping experience. Check out the exterior of the building currently undergoing significant build-out on the inside.

From (Rooftop) Farm to (Restaurant) Table


| ddynak@queenscourier.com

Food and real estate. Not always in the same sentence, yet actually always connected. Our food (after it arrives from farms) is washed, sorted, peeled, processed, packaged and shipped from a warehouse in the industrial part of town. It is then sold as grocery or served by a waiter at a retail location near you. Or, for a great number of New Yorkers, delivered via bicycle, trucked by Fresh Direct, or mailed inside a box full of dry ice. It’s been this way for quite some time, ever since the farms of the Long Island began converting into factories and apartment buildings of today’s Queens County.

It seems what we eat, and how it is grown and prepared, is always undergoing transformation. For example, organizations like Brooklyn Grange, Eagle Street Rooftop Farms and BK Farmyards, among many others, grow food crops on rooftops and inside urban gardens. A growing number of restaurant chefs attempt to grow their own herbs and vegetables in the city. The most ambitious one: Valentino’s on the Green in Bayside will try to “produce 80 percent of the restaurant’s herbs, vegetables, fruits, fish, seafood and mushrooms using stacks of modified shipping containers”.

I myself have noticed increased tenant activity in the organic, sustainable and natural food category. From hydroponic farms inside warehouses to organic stores, neighborhoods like Long Island City and Astoria are slowly catching up to Brooklyn. From BluePrint Cleanse juices on 38th Street, to BAO Foods’s Kombucha Tea on Borden Avenue, ultra-healthy products made naturally or organically in Queens are making headlines nationally. BAO has even initiated a sort of a food incubator inside its factory, offering access to USDA-certified organic kitchen to start-ups and small operators who normally can’t afford access to commercial space or equipment. We’ve also worked recently with a gluten-free commercial bakery and raw cookies manufacturer. It seems everyone wants to come to this part of town because NYC is simply the most exciting market for these specialty foods.

Even the city government is chipping in. On 37th Street off Northern Boulevard, a special kind of Entrepreneur Space sponsored by Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) sits inside a warehouse: a Food and Business Incubator. It features 24/7 access to commercial kitchens, use of professional equipment, commercial refrigeration and office space for food start-ups, offered at below-market rates, allowing small businesses and newbie operations to get started without large capital investment and expensive overhead.

As food consumers, New Yorkers now have a grade system to help them choose a restaurant based on cleanliness. We judge restaurants using “A’s,” “B’s” and “C’s” as if we really understood how these grades are assigned. But looking at store shelves and menus, words like “organic,” “all-natural,” “raw” and “locally-grown” are on the rise and certainly in vogue. And, it is actually quite possible today to eat a whole meal made using ingredients entirely grown and prepared somewhere between 58th Street and the East River, between Bowery Bay and Newtown Creek. It’s come a full circle in a way, because as recently as 100 years ago most of Queens was actually all farmland. Take a trip to the Queens County Farm Museum to see the proof. Bon Appétit!