Long Island City became the talk of the town late last year after it was marked as one of two likely locations for a new Amazon headquarters. After much uproar from residents worried that such a massive project would rapidly gentrify their neighborhood, the retailing giant pulled out of the deal -- leaving little in its wake aside from confusion and some lingering heated tempers.
But the Queens neighborhood -- having established itself as a burgeoning area for both commercial and residential real estate development well before it fell onto Jeff Bezos’s radar -- appears to have emerged from the controversy no worse for the wear.
We Were Fine Before Amazon
In March, CNBC surveyed several local real estate agents who all felt that Long Island City's future looked bright with or without Amazon, as the “fundamentals” that made the neighborhood alluring from the get-go are all still firmly in place.
And this seems to have proven true. In late April, Patrick W. Smith of the Corcoran Group released a 2018 Year-End Long Island City Condominium Report. It revealed that 15 condos were sold for $2 million or more in the area. That was the most in the neighborhood’s history, and an increase from five condos in each of the two years prior. The study excluded any contracts signed after the November 5th announcement of the Amazon deal, thereby rendering that would-be development a non-factor (Smith, however, suggested that the market may be softening after seven consistent years of growth.)
Some Long Island City-based brokers have expressed confidence about the neighborhood's residential outlook in the post-Amazon landscape. “This was a fastest-growing neighborhood a year ago, way before Amazon,” Eric Benaim, CEO of Modern Spaces, told The Cooperator in March. “Four months ago, it was a hot neighborhood, After Amazon, it will continue to be a hot neighborhood. We're still four minutes from Manhattan, we still have the best waterfront views. We're still transportation rich. None of that changed. The only thing that changed is that we don't have a certain neighbor.”