Long Island City in Queens is the city’s fourth-largest business district and a hotbed for mixed-use development. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
Long Island City is a neighborhood in transition. This large swath of western Queens sits parallel to Midtown and the Upper East Side on the East River. It was once a thriving industrial community, but today is the city’s fourth-largest business district and a hotbed for mixed use development.
"The famous Citibank Tower came in to Long Island City in the late 1980s. Since that time, there has been a tremendous new wave of office development coming to Long Island City," says Dan Miner of the Long Island City Business Development Corporation. "That one building has been joined by the Citibank Two Tower, which is going to be housing the Law School of the City University of New York, moving from Flushing, Queens. It's also been joined by the United Nations Credit Union Building, by MetLife in the new MetLife Plaza Building.
Miner says in the last several years there have been nearly 50 residential projects completed or under construction and more than a dozen hotels have been built.
"What's attracting people to Long Island City is its unparalleled proximity to Midtown Manhattan, says Miner. "We are so well served by train lines and much lower costs."
While the economy has stalled a number of projects. Construction of the first phase of Tishman Speyer's proposed 3.5-million-square-feet Gotham Center development is in progress. A 21-story, 660,000-square-feet building will serve in part the city’s Department of Health, and 2,800 of its employees are expected to relocate to the Class A office tower.
Construction is also underway at Queens Plaza. More than $75 million in city and federal money is being injected to spruce up the gateway to Long Island City.
"It will have a new park, new transportation bike lanes, pedestrian walkways," says Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
Miner says the transformation of Queens Plaza and the influx of DOH employees will likely lure more businesses to invest in the area, which lags in conveniences like drugstores, restaurants and shopping.
Additionally, since Manhattan rent prices took a dip, it has been difficult to rent spaces in Long Island City, but Miner is optimistic that too will change.
"We are going to be at least as attractive as an overflow destination as anywhere else in the New York metro region, so we are just waiting for the economic weather to improve and we'll be here," says Miner.