16 THE QUEENS COURIER • SEPTEMBER 6, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Modern Spaces in Long Island City celebrates 10th anniversary
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Th ose familiar with the world of real
estate have probably heard the name
Modern Spaces — the well-known company
Teachers Federal Credit Union acquires
Queens-based Melrose Credit Union
BY QNS STAFF
As a part of the acquisition, Melrose
firstname.lastname@example.org / @QNS
Credit Union’s location in Briarwood
will stay open and its members will have
One of the country’s largest federally
access to 27 full-service TFCU branches
insured credit unions has acquired
throughout Nassau and Suff olk counties
Melrose Credit Union in Briarwood.
and its 5,600 shared service centers
Teachers Federal Credit Union
across the country. Members will
(TFCU) announced on Aug. 31 that it
also have access to TFCU online features
had obtained all member shares as well
including Mobile Banking, Mobile Check
as some loans and other assets from the
Deposit, Digital Wallets for Apple and
Queens-based credit union. As of the
Samsung and Smart Watch integration.
last call report, Melrose Credit Union
Members’ accounts will also remain
had 19,864 members and approximately
insured by the National Credit Union
$1.1 billion in assets.
Share Insurance Fund, which insures
Th e acquisition will provide TFCU to
individual accounts up to $250,000, and
expand and grow in the New York City
a member’s interest in all joint accounts
combined is insured up to $250,000.
celebrated its 10 year anniversary
this past July. But according to the CEO,
president and co-founder, Eric Benaim, its
good reputation and high acclaim is not
something that happened overnight.
Prior to his career in real estate, Benaim
was the owner of a live event production
and marketing fi rm that concentrated on
Manhattan luxury sales. But as time went
on, he realized the untapped potential in
the Queens real estate market, particularly
in Long Island City. In 2006, he sold over
50 residences in the burgeoning neighborhood.
In late July of 2008, Benaim and his business
partner Ted Kokkoris started Modern
Spaces in the midst of the economic crisis.
Th ey opened their fi rst offi ce at 47-42
Vernon Blvd. and ran their business without
a website for the fi rst few months. Soon
aft er they established the business, Lehman
Brothers fi led for bankruptcy resulting in
hardships for Benaim’s company.
“It seemed like the world was going to
end,” Benaim said.
Following the crash, the LIC resident
said that the company experienced a
“dark winter” where he recalled they had
“no money in the bank.” Th ey borrowed
money from family in order to sustain
their business and keep up with costs.
During their fi rst year, the company’s
focus was on selling walk-up apartments
and Benaim said that the company did not
make a profi t for the fi rst couple of years.
But things started looking up in early 2009
aft er they were approached by Powerhouse
“Th ey gave us 60 units to rent out, which
we happily took,” Benaim said. Within
three months they had sold all the units
Powerhouse gave them.
Since its inception, Modern Spaces has
increased from two to three agents to over
100 and has secured over 70 percent of
LIC’s market share. Th e full-service company
is involved in all aspects of the real
estate process including predevelopment
consulting, staging and selling properties.
To date, they have completed over $5
billion in sales, with $1 billion in sales
occurring over the past year. Benaim confi
rms that the company has approximately
4,000 units in the pipeline that they are
currently working on.
Now, the company has expanded
from its one offi ce in Long Island City
into Astoria, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Benaim’s reasoning for establishing offi ces
in diff erent neighborhoods is to integrate
the company into the communities
which it serves.
“If we’re good to the community, the
community will be good to us,” he said.
Benaim’s has been active in the Long
Island City community over the past 10
years and is informally known as the
“Mayor of LIC.” In addition to Modern
Spaces, Benaim also serves on the board
of directors for the Long Island City
Partnership and started the annual LIC
He recalled that the fi rst year of the
parade, which he started with Gianna
Cerbone-Teoli, Raquel Navas-Salas and
Sheila Lewandowski, they gave out about
80 treat bags to 80 children with
Modern Spaces business cards stapled
on them. Over the last few years, he estimates
they’ve distributed over 1,000 bags
to kids, refl ecting the population increase
in America’s fastest growing neighborhood.
With the changing neighborhood and
demographic shift , Benaim shares that it’s
time for Modern Spaces to rebrand itself.
“Ten years ago, ‘modern’ meant something
diff erent. Th e demographics at the
time were people in their 20s and 30s,” he
said. “Now the demographics are people in
their 20s, 30s and 40s.”
He also notes the increase in property
price, with the average unit selling for
$600,000 10 years ago versus $1.2 million
in the present day. Th e company’s
rebranding will involve a shift to a more
“elevated” look, according to Benaim, who
adds that they will be opening up their new
8,000-square-foot headquarters in Long
Island City by the end of this year.
Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces
Modern Spaces CEO, president and co-founder
Photo: Google Maps
Photo via Pxhere
New farmers market to make its debut this
weekend at Forest Park in Richmond Hill
BY EMILY DAVENPORT
email@example.com / @QNS
Richmond Hill residents will soon be
able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables
from local farmers right in their
On Sept. 8, the Forest Park Youthmarket
will launch at the Buddy Monument in
Forest Park, located at Myrtle Avenue and
Park Lane South. Th e farmers market, the
fi rst of its kind in Richmond Hill, was a
longtime goal of Councilman Eric Ulrich,
who funded the initiative.
“Th e farmers market will bring fresh
produce to the community, which is
something that locals were looking for,”
said Simcha Waisman, president of the
One Stop Richmond Hill Community
Th e market will run every Saturday
from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Nov.
17. At the market, those who spend $5
through SNAP/EBT will receive a $2
Health Buck to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.
Th e market also will be partnering with
GrowNYC to hire students from John
Adams High School’s ROTC program to
help staff the market.
“Th e community center will be paying
students from the high school’s ROTC
program so they can learn how the business
works,” Waisman said. “We’ve
worked with the ROTC program many
times before. Th ey are good kids and I
believe they’ll learn a lot from working at
Waisman in particular would like to
thank Councilman Ulrich and all of those
involved for supporting the farmers market.
“Th is is something that the community
has been wanting, a local place where
people living in the area can come and get
fresh produce,” Waisman said.