LIC Partnership awarded $100k grant for comprehensive neighborhood study As the housing and rental market continues to explode in Long Island City, the transformation of this former industrial-focused community to a mixed-use residential area has been a major topic in recent years. To maintain the community’s industrial roots — which still supply many jobs for the city’s manufacturing workforce — while preparing for possible changes in other sectors, the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership is hoping to conduct a comprehensive study of the neighborhood and create a plan for the future. The LIC Partnership study is close to realization as the advocacy group announced Monday it was awarded a $100,000 grant from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council to create a comprehensive plan of the future of the neighborhood. The group hopes to use this plan to guide LIC and maximize the benefits of its growth from all aspects, which on top of industrial and residential also includes the expansion of the commercial and tech markets as well. “Currently experiencing a period of explosive transformation, much of it 30 years in the making, Long Island City, Queens, is now ready for its own, comprehensive look,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “Funding for this study will allow us to work to set a vision and priorities consonant with the neighborhood’s goals. We hope to guide city, state and federal action based upon an in-depth studied assessment of the facts and current conditions.” The LIC Partnership applied for the grant with support from local community leaders and politicians. The state had to review about 2,600 projects that requested funding. The study was selected among 71 projects in New York City, where a total of $61.2 million was awarded. The plan, which was discussed at the partnership’s 27th annual trade show and luncheon in November, would for example help the community navigate through the wave of major residential developments planned for the area while learning how to improve the quality of life for current and future residents. A wave of national retail and commercial investments is also expected to hit LIC in the future as well as a tech boom fueled by the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, and the partnership’s study will be necessary to examine these changes as well. “The $100,000 grant from the Regional Economic Development Council is not only a recognition of the stellar work of this organization,”Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said, “but begins the real work of completing a comprehensive study on how to get LIC to reach new and even greater heights.” Photo by Liam La Guerre REPORT: Queens apartment sizes getting smaller Queens is shrinking. Elliman. “Construction costs increased, really stepped up their amenity programming Maybe not geographically, but new rental land costs increased, and in general, unless and their common areas by providing apartments in the borough tend to be smaller you’re dealing with a specific building that bigger and more functional common studios and one-bedrooms as opposed to is catering to a real luxury market or large spaces,” Finn said. “By having that space larger two- and three-bedroom apartments, apartment market, the majority of your that you can leave your apartment, you need according to a report released on Dec. 11 run-of-the-mill rentals cater to a somewhat less of your apartment so its enabling us to by Douglas Elliman Real Estate. younger crowd. The apartments are getting market smaller apartments. People are looking Smaller apartments took more of the a little tighter so that the rents don’t go up at these amenity spaces as almost part market share in November when compared too much.” of their apartments.” to October, as well as when compared to But although the sizes of apartments Since smaller apartments still have lower November of 2013, according to the firm’s are shrinking, values have continued to rents than bigger ones, average rents in monthly analysis, which tracks rentals in increase. November decreased, the survey found. The northwest Queens. Rent price per square foot increased 8.2 average renter paid $2,681 in November, In November, 76 percent of new apartments percent to $40.96 dollars in November from which is 9.5 percent lower than last year, were studios and one bedrooms, $38.27 during the same month last year, when the average price was $2,963. compared to 71 percent in October, and just according to the report. And of course, renters will still be better 60 percent in November of last year. To sell these smaller apartments, Finn off with Queens prices than those of some “The majority of renters, particularly said owners have begun to market larger other boroughs. Median rents in Queens younger renters, are very sensitive to price common spaces and building amenities in were $710 less than those in Manhattan thresholds,” said Clifford Finn, executive new developments. and $423 less than those in Brooklyn, according vice president of new rentals at Douglas “A lot of the newer rental buildings have to the report.
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