By Elizabeth Lusskin, president,
Long Island City Partnership
As the largest neighborhood in Queens — and with an influx of new development flocking to the area daily, Long Island City is putting the mix in mixed-use community by solidifying itself as a draw for those seeking a 360-lifestlye and offering a rich cultural experience and respite from the high cost of living in Manhattan.
The time has never been riper to invest in this vibrant community, which boasts all the amenities of other boroughs — from breathtaking views of both the Manhattan and growing LIC skyline to historical sites, thriving commercial corridors and sprawling green spaces, such as our beautiful waterfront park and ferry landing — all while retaining a unique small-city feel.
Since relinquishing its status as its own separate city in 1870, LIC has come a long way. While its physical, social and economic landscapes have shifted dramatically throughout the years, one thing remains the same: LIC embodies a great combination of entrepreneurial exuberance and pioneer passion.
The factories that kept America fed and clothed–and our engines running–decades ago are now being modernized to house everything from high-tech to light industry and thriving commercial use, fostering a well-rounded eco-system.
LIC today is home to Fortune 500 companies, world-renowned arts and cultural institutions, prominent film and television studios, a large industrial base and more than 70,000 residents. Over the past decade, more than 8,000 residential units were built in the neighborhood, and nearly 20,000 more are currently underway.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 to 2010, the neighborhood saw population increases above 25 percent, adding 20,860 people who are a lively mix of young professionals, families and empty-nesters. With a variety of housing options that offer a range of various price points—and many with unrivaled amenities, a large number of LIC’s residents not only live here, but also work nearby, whether it’s in LIC itself or just across the water in Manhattan.
But, the growth doesn’t stop here. The community’s residential outgrowth has attracted strong commercial interest and development. More than two million square feet of Class A office space has been created since 2003 in the Queens Plaza and Court Square regions of LIC, and 26 new hotels are presently in the works. Once complete, the new hotels will join 20 others that have opened in the last seven years, for a total of 25 operating.
This combined development has led to a dramatic jump in pedestrian foot traffic on Queens Plaza South — a major transportation hub for the area — from 5,900 pedestrians between 8am and 6pm on a typical business day in 2009, to 8,218 present day.
Recently developed office buildings continue to attract and retain top-tier tenants, like JetBlue, Citi, CUNY, Uber, MetLife and the Miami Ad School. Factories and buildings that were constructed during LIC’s industrial renaissance—such as the historic Falchi and Factory Buildings, and Standard Motor Products Building—are seamlessly adapting to LIC’s new 360 environment by reimagining their industrial space and modernizing to excel in the 21st Century marketplace.
These buildings are emblematic of the larger transformation taking place in LIC, as it continues to rise, quite literally, from the ground up. They join several others that are undergoing green retrofits and other renovations, creating a one-of-a-kind experience and sense of authenticity that can only be found here—a draw for single professionals and families alike.
Nearby higher education institutions—LaGuardia Community College, CUNY Law, and soon, Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island—have fostered an entrepreneurial spirit that has caught on in the rest of the neighborhood, garnering the attention of world-class startups and a workforce steeped in creativity and business acumen who want to not only feel like they are a part of the local community, but also contribute directly to it.
Our cultural institutions and burgeoning local artists are also in line with this trend and often forge meaningful partnerships with local businesses and schools to produce public art installations and premier events, such as the LIC Arts Open and LIC Flea & Food Market, rounding out our 360 environment. Moreover, our 29+ arts/cultural institutions and 150+ bars, cafes and restaurants, including two which are Michelin-star rated, make it easy to see why LIC is on everyone’s radar. Whether you are in search of business, pleasure, or even a place to call home, LIC has something for everyone, and its offerings are as diverse as the Borough itself.
The Long Island City Partnership is hosting its annual Real Estate Breakfast today (Wednesday) from 8:30-10AM at the Learning Center at ConEd, located at 43-81 Vernon Boulevard. For more information on this event, or to register, visit: http://www.licpartnership.org