Amazon is an opportunity to improve
the community, says LIC real estate broker
16 DECEMBER 2018 I LIC COURIER I www.qns.com
Photo: Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech
BY MARK HALLUM
A Long Island City real estate bro-ker
wants to assure residents that just
because Amazon is coming doesn’t
mean that the neighborhood will lose
its sense of community.
“Beyond just dollars and cents this
is a great opportunity for the com-munity
to see an improvement for
a lot of lives,” said Robert Whalen,
director of sales at Halstead Real
Estate, a tristate area real estate
According to Whalen, local real
estate firms won’t be the only ones
who will benefit from LIC’s soon-to-be
new neighbor. In order to make sure
everyone in LIC benefits, he stressed
that between brokers and community
members must have a more open
dialogue — because, ultimately, both
pro-Amazon and anti-Amazon resi-dents
want the same things.
“We just differ in how we should
get there,” said Whalen.
Multiple Amazon protests have al-ready
taken place in Long Island City,
with many residents upset that with
the company’s arrival, longtime low-income
residents could be pushed out.
Some residents have been fearful that
tax breaks for Amazon means less
money for Long Island City schools
Since Amazon announced that
Long Island City would become home
to one of its HQ2 locations, the real
estate market has seen a surge in
interest with traffic at Halstead open
houses being three to four times
higher than normal.
Many properties have attracted mul-tiple
buyers. Walk in traffic at the firm’s
Vernon Boulevard office has doubled
and phones are ringing off the hook
with sellers asking for advice. The price
for residential and commercial space
will most likely skyrocket as Amazon’s
arrival grows closer.
Long Island City was already the
fastest-growing neighborhood in the
United States before Amazon an-nounced
its impending arrival and has
been an industrial center for decades.
According to Whalen, Amazon’s ar-rival
and the resulting influx of people
in Long Island City is part of the nor-mal
evolution of the neighborhood.
“It is going to accelerate it and give
it a little more definition,” said Whalen.
Whalen not only works in the
neighborhood, but he’s also lived
there since 2007. He said that the
increased development brought more
restaurants, martial arts studios,
soccer leagues, salons and other
businesses that he, his family and
neighbors can enjoy.
“It’s a little bit different and the
buildings are shinier but there is an in-terest
in preserving that,” said Whalen.
But in order for progress to hap-pen,
he concluded, Long Island City
residents need to accept and try to
work with Amazon and each other.