The iconic gantries of Gantry Plaza State Park // Eagle photo by Katie Finkowski

Queens Development Boom Outpaces City But Leaves Some Behind

Victoria Merlino

Queens Daily Eagle

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Queens is New York City’s fastest growing borough with a flurry of new development that outpaced even Brooklyn or Manhattan in the first half of 2018. But not everyone gets to share in the success.

According to the real estate tracker New York YIMBY — short for or “Yes In My Backyard” — new residential unit filings increased by 243 percent in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2017. The number of filings increased from 1,867 in the first half of 2017 to 4,536 in the first half of 2018 — the most dramatic increase for any borough.

That rise was fueled by development across Long Island City, the fastest growing neighborhood  in Queens — and in the United States, according to a recent report by real estate website RentCafe. Developers built 7,203 new apartments in LIC between 2010 and 2017, the report stated.

YIMBY also counted the top ten tallest building filings, finding that the two tallest properties listed in Queens — one in Long Island City at 41-05 29th St. and one in Hunters Point at 52-41 Center Blvd. — will add 84 apartments and 394 apartments, respectively, to the borough.

The Center Boulevard property is the shorter of two towers that will be built in that complex, with the first tower having its permits filed in October 2017. Together, the properties will yield 1,197 apartments, with 800 being dedicated toward providing affordable housing to lower income families.  

With the real estate industry in trendy areas like Hunters Point and Long Island City booming, residents and activists call for more affordable housing to be constructed to ensure long-time residents and lower-income New Yorkers can remain in their neighborhoods. Many criticize the existing affordable housing lotteries as unattainable for the majority of extremely low income New Yorkers.

The median household income in Queens is $59,758, according to the 2016 American Community Survey.  About 14.6 percent of the Queens population lives below the federal poverty level of $11,880 according to the survey. Many affordable housing lotteries target upper middle class using a the Area Median Income, which includes higher income areas like Westchester County.

A July affordable housing lottery, for example, offered 59 units beginning at $2,098 for a studio in a Hunters Point Avenue development. A family of six could rent a three-bedroom apartment for $3,131. To qualify, applicants had to make a minimum income of $93,052 for a household of at least two, and could not exceed more than $135,590 for a four-person household.

Two other buildings in Hunters Point — 1-50 50th Ave. and 1-55 Borden Ave. — are currently accepting applicants for their affordable housing waitlists. Housing ranges from $1,862 per month for a studio to $5,183 for a three-bedroom apartment.

Hunters Point was recently named one of the most expensive neighborhoods in New York City by PropertyShark, with a cool $1 million median property sale price. It was named the second most expensive neighborhood in Queens after Belle Harbor.

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