Tag Archives: Swain Weiner

Strong game plan ignites a bidding war in Ridgewood

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Greiner Maltz

Two mixed-use properties, situated one block from each other, were held in an estate. Despite their ideal location in the rapidly developing neighborhood of Ridgewood, their sale faced a particular challenge.

The executor of the estate could not act independently, as he was accountable to multiple family members who held conflicting perspectives regarding the handling of the properties. For the sake of simplicity, they desired to sell the properties as a single package. The executor lives out of town and is neither familiar with the neighborhood nor its local market, and did not know how best to proceed, much less negotiate with the relevant parties.

Taking a referral from his lawyer, the executor contacted Swain Weiner at Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties. After targeted research on comparable sales in the area, Weiner executed appropriate asking prices for each property that would both push the market in the favor of his client and maintain the ability to attract prospective buyers.

Tailored marketing strategies were implemented for both properties as each was introduced to the market. Weiner made personal phone calls to owners in the area who held similar properties, and oversaw an effort that distributed postcard advertisements via direct mail, and sent listings via email. The market for potential buyers was completely covered.

Not only were the properties sold simultaneously and within an efficient time period, but they also sparked bidding wars. Each resulted in separate buyers purchasing the properties at their full asking price, closing at only 60 and 40 days’ due diligence respectively. The final purchasing price for one of the properties set a new record in the area, selling at 31 times the rent roll.

Its impressively low capitalization rate—coming in at 2.7 percent—is similar to what is seen in Manhattan. The other property’s full asking price was met at 14 times the rent roll, representing a 5.5 capitalization rate (a rate that is still quite low for the area).

With the two properties yielding an optimized purchasing price far above the sales price of a package deal, Weiner not only effectively served the interests of the estate, but far exceeded their expectations.


An overview: Multi-family buildings in Astoria and Long Island City

| sweiner@gmipny.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


For a long time, Queens has had the reputation of being the go-to borough if you want to buy tires or surround yourself with the elderly.

That being said, this generalization is quickly becoming antiquated as neighborhoods in Queens are experiencing revitalization through the renovation of 1950s and pre-war era apartment buildings as well as the addition of new, modern buildings that have attracted the attention of young families.

Combine these new living spaces with sites like MoMA PS1, four restaurants that were just granted a Michelin star rating, and reasonable rates, and the stage is set for Queens to become a primary option for families looking to make an investment in themselves.

Though this trend is throughout the borough, the areas most impacted and evident of this change are Astoria and Long Island City. The New York Times reports that over 10,000 apartments are being planned over the next three years, ranging from “amenity-laden rentals to family-sized condos.” These condos are especially attractive to younger, up-and-coming families.

Last summer, I listed a 32-unit building in Long Island City. The asking price was just over $6 million, average rents for each unit were around $1,300 a month and 28 of the 32 units were one-bedrooms. This location was not more than a 90-second stroll from Queensboro Plaza.

Consider that the same station has stops for the N, Q and 7 trains, as well as the E, M and R a block away. That’s six trains with accessibility to almost every area in the city. For people looking for a chance to have the space and extra cash to expand their families, the location alone is reason enough to invest in properties like those 32 units. From its rooftop, a very large portion of visible real estate is in some kind of development, just further evidence of the opportunity provided in this part of town. It’s buildings like these that already have provoked the attention of potential investors and residents who have pushed along the progress of Astoria and LIC.

Families see a place where they can have their cake and eat it, too. The amenities offered in a luxury rental are not exclusive to the condos, as the Times reports these buildings will often have gyms, play areas for children, cafes and green roofs. All of these offerings, plus the space required to house a family, plus accessibility to other areas of New York City have bred a common mindset among this demographic.

The New York Times quotes one recent resident as saying that the amount of new people “asking directions and taking photographs” of what was once a very untouched area in the city feels very “cosmopolitan,” a word that would never have been used in reference to Queens until recently.

The question remains: where will the occupants come from? As Bloomberg reported, Cornell University has just been granted 12 acres on Roosevelt Island to build a graduate and applied sciences campus.

The people who populate that campus will populate Long Island City and Astoria. Not only is Roosevelt Island next door to these neighborhoods, but Queens is by far the most affordable of all the areas surrounding it. People feel that the low price they are paying is not reflective of some lack of character the neighborhood has; instead, they feel like they’re getting in at the ground floor of an exciting new investment.

The families that move in, like those that will attend the future Cornell Campus, will bring others similar, and what was once simply a reasonable place to live will remain reasonable with the added benefit of camaraderie and popularity. The new, “cosmopolitan” view of this area is now the generalized view.

What Williamsburg was to hipsters is what Astoria will become for young families, and the discrepancy between low prices and quality of the areas and residents absolutely screams investment opportunities. The allure of Astoria and LIC will only become greater, increasing the already high demand for renovated multi-family housing.

Astoria might still have some of the highest rent prices in the borough, though families moving in feel they are still getting a bargain. A New York Times piece on the area references a couple who recently moved to Astoria who pay $3,720 a month for a two-bed, two-bath with use of a “two-story gym, squash and basketball courts, a coffee lounge, three roof decks with barbecues and wet bars, and a children’s playroom.”

The family states that anywhere in Manhattan the same environment would cost more than $5,000 a month. This is the case with much of Astoria. Prices are comparatively higher than the rest of Queens, though lower than anywhere else in the city. But what the cost does not show is the value for these families’ purchases — the list just goes on and on for recreation and opportunities that these condos will provide to their families.

Last year, a developer in Astoria had a goal of selling 23 of 58 available condos in six months; every condo of the 58 was spoken for within four months. Another development group has followed suit and started 33-unit and 77-unit condos that will likely be taken in a similar amount of time. Though these are just two groups, they are not the only ones. These are the types of living spaces that will start popping up all over the neighborhood — condos tailored for families, complete with skyline views of Manhattan.

The growth of Astoria and LIC will be characterized by the addition of more than just the 10,000 apartments the New York Times mentioned. These additions will be tailored to suit the needs of families, spreading the popularity of multi-family housing by creating an environment where people raising children can have the best cost-benefit ratio offered anywhere in the city.

The 32-unit I listed last summer is far from the last time I dealt with a multi-family building in Astoria and LIC. In fact, I suspect that in the near future many more buildings cut from the same cloth will come out of the woodwork, primed for investment. Queens is in high demand, Queens is up-and-coming, and Queens is affordable. This new possibility of having enough room and means for families will continue to be a driving force in how these neighborhoods flourish.

Swain Weiner is president, partner and founder of Greiner Maltz Investment Properties, which specializes in all types of commercial investment sales throughout the five boroughs and Long Island. Before Greiner Maltz Investment Properties, Weiner sold more than $215,000,000 in aggregate sales with more than 1,300 residential units.

Swain Official Headshot

Swain Weiner


Queens – the best spot for commercial investment

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark


Swain Weiner is president, partner and founder of Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties, which specializes in all types of commercial investment sales throughout the five boroughs and Long Island. Before Greiner-Maltz, Weiner sold more than $215,000,000 in aggregate sales with more than 1,300 residential units.

Predictions for the state of the real estate market in Queens are in, and things are looking fantastic.

Many consider Queens to be the new Brooklyn as buyers are moving out of the popular borough into Queens due to high prices. Queens is also appealing to buyers due to its proximity to Manhattan and the proliferation of restaurants, condos and retail venues.

Inventory is limited and prices are increasing, serving as a good indication that those who are involved in the real estate market in Queens will benefit in a rising marketplace. An increase in the number of sales has also been seen, as well as a decrease in negotiability.

The economy in Queens is the greatest contributor to the state of commercial real estate. Out of all five boroughs in New York, it has the second largest in population and boasts the most diversified economy.

Queens also has many jobs that are based on exports outside of the region, which aids in drawing interest to the area. What is amazing about the area, particularly for workers and consumers is that no one industry dominates the local economy. It is instead comprised of many large-scale industries and small businesses that bring commerce and jobs to the area. For example, the airline industry supplies a number of careers in the neighborhoods surrounding LaGuardia and JFK. Healthcare is also a booming industry in the borough along with social assistance. As globalization continues to grow in Queens, more opportunities are sure to follow.

Many of the families residing in Queens have rich and diverse cultures. This brings a variety of businesses and opportunities to the area along with a burgeoning social scene. These developments and constant growth lead to a variety of opportunities for commercial investors. Hotels, high-rises, apartment complexes, parks, etc. are being built to address the demand for the borough.

One of the most dynamic driving forces behind the increased demand in Queens is the interest of foreign investors. Investors from all over the world, particularly China, are showing an increased interest in the area.

There have been reports of sales occurring and offers being extended without some investors even seeing the properties. Foreign investors from as far as Nepal and as close as Canada are entering the commercial real estate market in Queens, signaling a revival in the borough’s real estate market.

Queens is becoming such an exciting place and a promising location for everything. Everywhere you look, more small businesses and entrepreneurs are emerging. The borough is continuing to attract the interest of international investors and businesses. Artists, students and young families are flocking to the area for more affordable housing options. This is a great time to pursue commercial real estate in Queens.

Swain Official Headshot (1)

Swain is very civic-minded. He currently volunteers his time in the following positions:

• Vice President – Astoria Kiwanis

• Board member – Astoria Civic Association

• Board member – Astoria Local Development Association

• Board member – East River Kiwanis

• Board member- Queens Symphony

• Past President – Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce

• Member – LIC Partnership

• 82nd Street Partnership Steering Committee


Broker of the Week: Swain Weiner, Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Greiner Maltz Investment Properties 

Swain Weiner is president, partner and founder of Greiner-Maltz Investment Properties, which specializes in all types of commercial investment sales throughout the five boroughs and Long Island. Before Greiner-Maltz, Weiner sold more than $215,000,000 in aggregate sales with more than 1,300 residential units. Weiner also serves as vice president of the Astoria Kiwanis, a board member of the Astoria Civic Association and Central Astoria LDC, a member of the LIC Partnership, a board member of Queens Symphony and past president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. He sat down with Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre to talk about the Queens market.  

La Guerre: Right now the Queens market is hot in certain areas. Do you think owners should sell property now before land prices fall?

Weiner: I kind of think we are reaching the top of the cycle now. A lot of properties are even higher than they were pre-2007 when the market was at its strongest point. The question I think owners have to ask themselves is how much more do they think they can make versus how much they can lose if there is a correction. If the loss is greater than the gain, then they should sell.

La Guerre: And many are. But owners of many manufacturing sites and buildings in Queens are selling their properties for huge numbers to residential developers, who are looking to maximize profits. But people have said this is damaging an industry here. What do you think?

Weiner: The problem is those opportunities for business in the United States have left. They are being outmaneuvered by foreign trade. If you rezone those neighborhoods back for factories then there’ll have to be tax incentives as well. And if there isn’t then I think it’s just window dressing. I’m not saying to blow everybody up because of residential development. I think a balance between those two will be totally interesting. But how do you get those guys to stay when you’ve got 10 years left to work and you’re getting money now to walk away from the land? So I think it would be great to keep, but I don’t see how the economics come into play.

La Guerre: What Queens projects are you looking forward to and why?

Weiner: I’m really happy about the Astoria Cove project. I think that’s going to really put Astoria on the map. The other project that I really like a lot is the Willets Point transformation. I think that’s going to be a major help in bringing Corona to a higher level and also to unite Flushing and Corona together. I think that’s going to open up that part of Queens, because Corona has been lagging behind in comparison to Flushing. Then what I think will happen is Jackson Heights will start to feel the overflow and Elmhurst will take some of the overflow and East Elmhurst will feel it also.

La Guerre: But doesn’t the Willets Point project still have lots of opposition?

Weiner: There are some eminent domain issues with it, but the city will work through that stuff.

La Guerre: What is one thing that you would you like to see happen going forward?

Weiner: Generally, people that invest in real estate are kind of juxtaposed to the stock market. At a certain point many people that have owned properties for a number of years, and either their kids don’t want them or they don’t want to deal with it anymore, they would like to see and take the money out. But they can’t because by the time the accountant advises them, they are looking at a 35 percent tax liability and basically all of their hard work is going to the government. So I think if there was a relaxation on some of that, you could possibly see more sales.


Sunnyside Chamber gets new president

| GGiaconelli@queenscourier.com

Swain Official Headshot

Swain Weiner is trying to get Sunnyside recognized. The newly-elected president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce feels the neighborhood, which he calls “vibrant and multicultural” is not as widely recognized as it should be.

“It is a close-knit and fabulous neighborhood,” said Weiner. “I want to make people more aware of what a great neighborhood it really is.”

Weiner previously served two terms as secretary of the chamber.

“He’s a very fine gentleman and he will certainly represent us well,” said Luke Adams, former Chamber president and current marketing director. “I’m looking forward to working with him. I think he’ll do a fine job.”

Weiner will take over the position from Rebecca Barker.

“I was very flattered to be [able to follow] a strong leader and I hope to be on board with their excellence” said Weiner.

Weiner is president and partner at Greiner Maltz Investment Property. He also serves on the board of the Kiwanis Club.

The real estate and investment property expert got his start at Katz Media, where he was the director of sales. ‘

In 2009, he became a vice president at Massey Knakal, where he had worked for nine years.

“After going through three corporate buyouts with Massey Knakal, I felt like there was a need to go in a different direction – a direction of growth,” said Weiner.

Weiner grew up in Bayside and attended Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business where he earned a BS in business and marketing. He has been married for 25 years and has two sons, ages 21 and 19.

While it may be occasionally difficult to achieve unity in a community, Weiner believes if everyone works together, initiatives can be accomplished.

“One of the biggest challenges I feel is to always make sure everyone is going in the same direction and that we are all on the same page, doing the most we can for the community,” he said.