After nearly two decades of progress, the development of the Queens waterfront is nearly halfway done. Now, NYC?residents are deciding if the best views of Manhattan are from behind the iconic Pepsi sign.
Similar to the growth of the Williamsburg waterfront —which took off thanks to the short ride to Manhattan on the L-train — developers are trying to capitalize on the west coast of Long Island City and the 4-minute trip it takes to get to Midtown on the 7 train. For just a short commute, residents get luxury developments at more affordable prices than what they could find in Manhattan.
“It’s like a postcard. The best views of the city are the ones right outside of it,” says Modern Spaces President Eric Benaim, whose firm is handling sales for The View, a 185-unit condo that finished construction in early 2010.
The View has already seen other developments spring up around it, and more are coming. A six-building mega-development from TF Cornerstone, dubbed East Coast — along with another one from the developer’s brother/former business partner, Rockrose Development — will bring 3,500 units to the area upon planned completion in 2014. The newest building to hit the market will be 46-15 Center Blvd., with 367 rental units opening up in the next month.
While it is doubtful the renters paying over $2,000 per month for a studio will have use for the plethora of taxi-repair shops that have called LIC home for decades, TF Cornerstone hopes the retail and recreational additions to their development will keep residents close by and feeling like they’re a part of a community. It remains to be seen if restaurants such as the Asian fusion spot Shi or the upcoming opening of Sweetleaf coffee bar — touted by the New York Times as the best espresso in the U.S. — will be seen as merely building amenities or the start of a “local’s joint” feel. If they’re lucky, renters will be hustling across the river in a classic tale of “f you build it, they will come” — that is, if the 7 train is running on time.
The views into the city may be stunning, but someone gazing from the other side might not be in awe. All of the buildings except one were designed by Miami-based architects Arquitectonica, giving the area a South Beach silver tower vibe, which seems out of sync next to the East River. What the area lacks in a white sandy beach, however, it makes up for with greenery and parks put in place to get residents out in the open.
Have kids and need more space?
That’s what TF Cornerstone is hoping. Three-bedroom apartments will be released in 45-50 Center, which is expected to open in June. A K-8 public school is also under construction.