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2015 Queens Real Estate Conference

The 2015 Queens Real Estate Conference was held on February 26, 2015 at the Terrace on the Park in Flushing, NY. The event brought together experts in the fields of residential, commercial, and industrial real estate development. Current trends in the borough’s real estate market were discussed as well as the outlook for the future. Seth Pinsky, Executive Vice President at RXR Realty, discussed the recent trend of a “push and pull” dynamic occurring in Queens. Rising rents and costs in central locations such as Manhattan are pushing people out and forcing them to find housing in other locations. On the other hand, increasing development such as in various areas in Queens with good transit access, walkability, and vibrant communities are pulling people to want to look for housing in the borough. Mr. Pinsky stated that there are increasing opportunities for real estate developers and investors where these two dynamics intersect; Queens being a perfect example.

Other topics discussed regarding attracting residents included affordable housing, access to retail and food establishments, and “24/7” vibrant communities. The first panel, which included speakers from RXR Realty, Related Companies, L+M, and Onex Real Estate, discussed the reasons why investments are being made in Queens. The second panel included speakers from the LeFrak Organization, the F&T Group, the Mattone Group, Cord Meyer Development, and Modern Spaces. These speakers discussed their experiences with investments in the borough as well as the current trends in the real estate market. Mario Gaztambide, Vice President at the LeFrak Organization, provided the group with the great quote: “the trend is your friend.” Mr. Gaztambide illustrated how the trend has been for people being priced out of areas such as Manhattan. He talked about the large demand for rental housing with limited supply in areas such as Flushing. This scarcity will provide for growth opportunities in these areas. He went on further to say that the LeFrak Organization has seen the potential in Queens and is demonstrating its commitment to the borough by rebranding its LeFrak City complex with substantial improvements. The last panel included speakers from Halstead Property, LLC, Crifasi Real Estate, Cayuga Capital Management, LLC, Essex Capital Partners, Ltd, and Broadway Stages. This final group discussed the Ridgewood/Bushwick area and how affordability and access to transportation have attracted new residents from other areas.  

These principles have been discussed among real estate developers and investors in Nassau and Suffolk to attract young professionals. Many developers in Long Island are looking for transit-oriented communities with easy access to shopping and good restaurants. However, the balance of affordable housing and providing the services and amenities that young professionals desire can be a real challenge.

Michael Torhan is a Senior Tax Manager in the Real Estate Services Group providing tax compliance and consulting services for businesses in a variety of industries including the real estate, hospitality, and financial services sectors.

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