34 THE QUEENS COURIER • QUEENS BUSINESS • JUNE 13, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Crystal Windows chair shares success story at expo
The chairman and founder of Queensbased
national manufacturer Crystal
Window & Door Systems, Thomas Chen,
was a featured speaker at the International
Franchise Expo on May 31 at the Javits
Convention Center in Manhattan.
Organized by the International
Franchise Association, nearly 350 companies
exhibited franchise opportunities,
and numerous workshops and seminars
were part of the show’s three-day
program. While Crystal Windows is
not involved with franchising, Chen was
invited to share his past immigrant business
experience with the show’s attendees.
Chen’s seminar entitled How to Become
a Successful Entrepreneur in the US
focused on strategies for startup and sustained
During his presentation, Chen shared
the challenges he experienced 29 years
ago in launching and growing his window
manufacturing company and how Crystal
Windows overcame these challenges to
“As an immigrant from Taiwan and new
to America, my initial employees and I in
1990 had several additional challenges to
overcome besides the typical issues faced
by a startup entrepreneur,” said Chen.
“We had to develop better English language
skills, adapt to American business
Thomas Chen, chairman and founder of Crystal Windows, addressed the International Franchise Expo on May 31.
practices and culture, build a professional
organization, and develop a brand and
image before Crystal could really grow.”
With limited resources and a tight budget,
Crystal developed very creative
initiatives to address these obstacles.
Working with local community colleges,
he arranged for onsite English language
classes for employees to improve their
communications with customers and suppliers.
Chen also hired industry professionals
for key positions to bring expertise
quickly to critical functions and train
and develop employees.
The local NYC manufacturing assistance
organizations advised Crystal on
streamlining operations and improving
production effi ciency. Several business
associations facilitated introductions and
networking between Crystal and potential
suppliers, vendors, customers, and government
agencies at their events.
“I am very grateful to the many Queens
and New York City organizations that
mentored, advised, and helped Crystal as
it grew from a small operation to a national
manufacturer,” said Chen.
Started in 1990, the Crystal family of
companies has almost one million square
feet of production space at its fi ve manufacturing
facilities and 780 employees
across the country. Crystal Windows is
perennially ranked among the top window
and door manufacturers in North
America by national trade publication
Window & Door Magazine and among
the Top New York Area Minority-Owned
Firms by Crain’s New York Business
Real Estate Investment Activity Blossoms in Central Queens
BY STEPHEN PREUSS
For the Queens real estate leasing and
investment market, many large-scale
transactions, and resulting press coverage,
have centered around Long Island
City, Jamaica and Flushing in recent years.
However, along with the broader economic
growth we’ve seen in the Greater
New York region, there has been an arrival
of new tenants, investors and development
enthusiasm in maturing real estate
submarkets across the borough.
No submarket better exemplifi es this
than Central Queens, where development
and investment activity have blossomed
up and down Queens Boulevard
and along adjacent streets in Woodside,
Elmhurst and Rego Park.
Th ere are approximately a dozen new
residential developments that have been
announced, if not already under construction
or completed, in central Queens.
Th is includes modern new towers along
Queens Boulevard, such as the 11-story,
69-unit 70-26 Queens Blvd. condominium
tower in Woodside, the 23-story, 116-
unit mixed-use 98-04 Queens Blvd. development
in Rego Park and the two-building,
561-unit complex at 69-02 Queens
Blvd. in Woodside.
While the diversity of businesses
and the proximity to major transportation
hubs have long attracted developers
to Queens’ central business corridor,
the scale of these recent projects
refl ects Central Queens’ economic viability.
Major residential investment activity
in this area extends beyond just Queens
Boulevard, with new mixed-use developments
set to deliver at 31-19 56th St. in
Woodside and 46-02 70th St. in Elmhurst,
among other developments planned on
side streets to the corridor.
Many of the Woodside development
sites have been acquired and developed
thanks to a rezoning along Queens
Boulevard, which was allows industrial
property to be converted to residential.
Th e 2011 rezoning has been a boon
to the area, providing housing to residents
who have been priced out of LIC
and Astoria. Developers are anticipating
further rezonings in Woodside and
In addition to the uptick in residential
activity in Woodside and Elmhurst, the
industrial market in those neighborhoods
has been thriving. Th at is because longtime
industrial tenants have migrated east
aft er being priced out of submarkets closer
to Manhattan or cashed-in on properties
they previously owned and now need
new space to operate.
To demonstrate the growth in industrial
values in Central Queens, a Cushman
& Wakefi eld analysis of recent industrial
sales transactions in Woodside shows
that the average price rose to $488 per
square foot in the last year from $347 in
On the leasing side, Central Queens
has proven capable of attracting marquee
industrial tenants, like Amazon, which
recently signed a long-term deal for a
83,000-square-foot fulfi llment center at
26-15 Boody St. in Woodside. Th is is in
keeping with the uptick of national retail
tenants coming to or recently opened
new locations in central Queens, such as
Starbucks, Chipotle and Target.
Demand for mixed-income residential
developments across the region and the
7 train connection to the revitalized Far
West Side suggest real estate investment
activity in Central Queens may continue
unabated. High potential development
sites now listed in the area include over
91,000 buildable square feet at 47-11 90th
St. in Elmhurst and more than 13,000
buildable square feet at 70-01 Queens
Blvd. in Woodside.
Th e continued attraction of Central
Queens’ industrial assets, retail corridors
and residential population growth
to real estate investors should be a welcome
trend to Queens residents. Property
owners should see signifi cant valuation
growth for their assets, and residents are
poised to benefi t from the jobs and economic
stimulus that follow the arrival of
new commercial tenants to the region.
A rendering of 69-02 Queens Blvd. in Woodside