Tuesday 17 September 2019

Queens apartment secures record price after Amazon arrives

High hopes: Amazon’s decision to locate its New York HQ in Queens has served to boost residential prices in Long Island City
High hopes: Amazon’s decision to locate its New York HQ in Queens has served to boost residential prices in Long Island City

Oshrat Carmiel

One of Long Island City's most expensive condos found a buyer last week at a record price after lingering on the market for six months - all within days after Amazon.com Inc.'s announcement that it's coming to the Queens neighbourhood.

The two-bedroom unit at the waterfront complex called 'The View' went into contract last week, after being listed for 189 days and getting a 9.1pc price cut, according to StreetEasy.

The buyer paid cash, and more than the $2.998m the owner last sought, said Silvette Julian, the Compass broker who listed the property. At the listed price, the deal comes out to $2,077 a square foot - a neighbourhood record, Julian said.

The sale is a sign of the times in Long Island City, which flipped overnight from a buyers' market to one that favours sellers, after Amazon's November 13 announcement, according to Patrick W Smith, a Stribling & Associates broker who handles sales in the neighbourhood.

"Almost every open house, we are overwhelmed with buyers," he said. "Developers are not negotiating anymore. Now, it's take it or leave it."

The 1,443 sq ft (134 sq m) apartment at The View, with an additional 716 sq ft terrace, was originally listed for $3.298m last May, according to StreetEasy. The current owners purchased the property in 2014 for $2.53m, according to property records.

Homebuyers are wasting no time casting bets on Long Island City's property market in anticipation of the 25,000 new workers Amazon promises to bring to the area.

The apartment at The View was one of 11 in the neighbourhood that went into contract last week, the most for a seven-day period this year, according to Smith. In the week that included Thanksgiving last year, just one unit found a buyer.

"If you're marketing a condo right now, this is like manna from God," said Justin Elghanayan, president of Rockrose Development Corp. It's also a boon for an apartment developer like Rockrose, which owns or has under construction almost 3,000 rental units in Long Island City.

Elghanayan described a virtuous circle of benefits: Amazon would bring thousands of "interesting people" to the neighbourhood, which, in turn, would draw more creative retail and other tech companies to locate offices there. All that would increase the appeal of renting in the area.

A Whole Foods, owned by Amazon, is a given, he said. But expect more bars and restaurants that do well with a 24-hour presence of both office workers and residents.


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