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FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 11, 2017 • THE QUEENS COURIER 27 oped A LOOK BACK This gem of a photo taken in 1930 was found among the archives of the Times Newsweekly’s 100th anniversary issue published in 2008. The Queens Library “Book Bus,” which brought books and periodicals to parts of Queens without easy access to libraries back then, is shown outside the Executive Mansion in Albany. Look carefully toward the doorway at far left and you’ll see then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt standing with other offi cials, educators and leaders. Just two years after this photo was taken, FDR would be elected president of the United States. Send us your historic photos of Queens by email to editorial@qns.com, or mail printed pictures to A Look Back, The Queens Courier, 38-15 Bell Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361. All mailed pictures will be carefully returned to you. letters & comments Queens market still heating up BY TOM DONOVAN Queens has had all of the underpinnings of the next trendy area for some time now. Its sheer size — home to 2.4 million residents across 178 square miles — would make it the fourth-largest city by population in the United States, lagging only Los Angeles, Chicago and Brooklyn. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse urban areas in the world, with more than 138 unique languages represented. Th e borough also boasts some of the easiest transportation access in New York, including 12 subway routes serving 81 stations; nearly 100 bus routes; 22 Long Island Railroad stations; and the elevated AirTrain connecting both the subway and commuter rail systems to JFK International Airport. In addition to the cultural diversity and abundance of public transportation, Queens is home to several iconic cultural attractions, including Citi Field, Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium, Aqueduct Race Track, Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silvercup Studios and Resorts World Casino. People are fi nally taking notice. Boutique, artisan and national businesses that typically look to Manhattan and Brooklyn are now turning to Queens. Investment sales are reaching new heights – in 2016 sales volume in Queens hit nearly $5 billion, a 26 percent increase over 2015. Multi-family housing is particularly booming, thanks in large part to the fact that Queens boasts the lowest vacancy rate of all fi ve boroughs, at less than 1 percent. Elevatorserviced apartment buildings had the largest increase with $969 million in sales volume, an increase of 84 percent from 2015. Walk-up apartment buildings saw a 15 percent increase in sales, with a total of 232 buildings switching ownership. All of this represents just the beginning of an increasingly hot market. More than 170 new development permits have been issued over the past 90 days within Queens. Th ere are over 20 million square feet currently under construction, with more than 25,000 new residential units planned. Notable developments under construction include the following: 22-44 Jackson Ave., a two-tower, 1,115 unit mixeduse project totaling approximately 1.2 million square feet in Long Island City; 23-15 44th Dr., a 66-story, 800-unit condo building in Long Island City; 93-01 Sutphin Blvd., a two-tower, 669-unit, mixed-use complex in Jamaica; and 336-350 St. Nicholas Ave., a 180,000-buildable-square-foot, mixed-use development site in Ridgewood. Long Island City, Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Woodside in particular have benefi ted from the rising costs of their Brooklyn neighbors. As owners, investors, and developers have been priced out of more mature submarkets, their Queens neighbors have been viewed as safe, economically desirable alternatives. Th e recognition of Queens’ heating market is evidenced by some new notable tenants including Apple, Shake Shack, Denny’s, H&M, and an Australian coff ee chain, Toby’s Estate Coff ee. Iconic buildings have also traded in the last year such as Long Island City’s Falchi Building, a 658,000-square-foot offi ce building purchased by Savanna for $257.5 million; 24-02 49th Ave., a seven-story, 650,000-square-foot industrial offi ce building purchased by Innovo Property Group & Westbrook Partners for $195 million; Clock Tower development site, a 1 million-buildable-square-foot site purchased by the Durst Organization for $167 million; and Rego Park’s Saxon Hall, a 419-unit rental apartment building purchased by Madison Realty Capital for $136 million. Financings were provided by heavy-hitters like Blackstone Group, ACORE Capital and Deutsche Bank, to name a few. With the volume of new residential space coming on line, sectors such as retail, offi ce and hospitality will all benefi t, creating a perfect storm of factors that will lead to Queens becoming the next hot market for investment sales. Tom Donovan is vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefi eld, an international real estate fi rm with 300 offi ces in 70 countries across the globe. TIME FOR A REAL FIX ON QUEENS BOULEVARD While I love living in Forest Hills, the number one thing I would change about the neighborhood is Queens Boulevard. Th e road’s current design favors drivers above all other users, at the expense of our safety, health, prosperity and environment. I’m impressed with the Department of Transportation’s plan to redesign the stretch from Eliot Avenue to Yellowstone Boulevard. Like the existing phases, the plan includes new and improved crosswalks, expanded medians and protected bike lanes. Th e fact that 535 people were injured and two were killed by motorists on this stretch between 2009 and 2016, according to the city’s Vision Zero View, is unacceptable. Th e fact that this road prioritizes vehicles, when we know that their emissions are driving climate change and increasing respiratory illnesses, is illogical. It doesn’t have to be this way. Queens Boulevard can and should be redesigned so that it is safe, functional and sustainable for everyone. People from all walks of life live, work, take the train, go to school, shop and eat along the boulevard, and we all deserve better. Th is is an opportunity to plan and build the future we want, rather than maintaining a status quo no one likes. Laura Shepard, Forest Hills COULD DEADLY QUEENS VILLAGE BLAZE BEEN AVOIDED? Five lives were lost in a Queens Village fi re, which I fi nd most sad. Th e lives that were lost were all under the age of 20. I can’t help but think this might have been avoided. I myself lived in Queens Village on 213th Street for over 20 years. Th ere was a house across the street from my family home and there was a woman who was smoking in bed and fell asleep. Th e house was destroyed and the woman died; she left behind a young son and a husband, who were not in the house at the time. I believe safety is a must and proper precautions are needed. According to the American Red Cross, a working fi re alarm doubles a person’s chance of survival. If the homeowner had one, maybe the outcome would have been different. Th e cost of a combination fi re alarm and carbon monoxide detector is about $50. But as reported, there are free options through the Red Cross and FDNY. Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village BLAMING POLITICAL CORRECTNESS FOR PRISON RAPE Our politically correct government and politicians continue to cost us taxpayers money. Need proof? City lawyers just settled the case against Correction Offi cer Benny Santiago fi led by Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2, two female inmates who fi led rape charges against this male correction offi cer. I have been saying for years why do we allow female offi cers (and civilians) to come in contact with male inmates and male offi cers (and civilians) to come in contact with female inmates? Th is is a recipe for disaster plain and simple. Th omas C. Murawski, Glendale


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