While New York City is the most populous city in the country, according to several studies and surveys, it is far from the fastest growing city.
Nevertheless, one area in the city lays claim to the title of fastest growing residential neighborhood in the country: Long Island City.
That was the message from the Long Island City Partnership this week as it touted the success of the once gritty and now glimmering Queens Neighborhood in the wake of Amazon’s decision not to build there.
Vayner Media says it’s grown in Long Island City and is moving staff from Manhattan to Long Island City.
“Our other office is in Hudson yards. We’re moving, I’d say, 100 people here,” explains Vayner Media Chief Production Officer Aaron Kovan.
The digital content company says it has 900 employees and that most will soon work at the offices it opened in Long Island City two years ago so it could build production studios.
"That’s almost cost prohibitive to do in Manhattan. So, Long Island City was something that had that space, and had that look and vibe we were going for,” explained Kovan.
Vayner Media was just one of the many companies that attended the Long Island City Partnership’s annual Real Estate Breakfast.
“We’re way over capacity. There are some extra seats in the front,” panelist David Brause of Brause Realty told the packed room.
Organizers said many of hundreds of people in attendance seem to have come as a result of Amazon’s decision not to build a corporate campus in LIC.
Local business leaders wanted to know what Amazon's withdrawal means. The Answer: Long Island City will be just fine.
"What has happened with Amazon is that more and more people now know that,” said LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin. “The fog has been lifted and many more people in the world are aware of what Long Island City is.”
The numbers Long Island City Partnership provided back that up.
Job growth here is outpacing growth in the rest of the city and a boom in development shows no signs of easing.
19,782 apartments have been built here since 2006, and 10,700 more are to be finished in the next two years.
“Our family has owned real estate in long island city since 1980. I’ve never seen this much activity,” said Brause.
Brause Realty just finished building 270 apartments at Court Square and owns the building where JetBlue is located and Estee Lauder is coming. Brause calls Amazon “a blip on the radar,” saying Real Estate speculators may have gotten burnt, but the market didn’t.
“We were a little disappointed,” said Kovan of Vayner Media. He says he was excited by the prospect of Amazon bringing more jobs and growth to this community, but says his company's plans are not affected by Amazon's decision to bow out.
Panelists at the discussion admitted it can be tough to convince a company to locate in Long Island City instead of Manhattan. What helps though: a $15 to $20 per foot discount on space provided by a government incentive.
That’s the same kind of incentive so heavily criticized by opponents of the dashed Amazon deal.