Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lots And Lots Of Lots In Hunters Point, Long Island City


N. Side of 47th Ave (Vernon+5th St.)

So, you want to be a real estate developer? You want to build from scratch in an area that is growing by leaps and bounds? Well friends, Hunters Point might just be the place for you! It seems, I'm not the only one thinking so. Prices for vacant lots or tear downs in the area have escalated over the past couple of years. Prices are generally based on dollar per buildable square foot, and those rates which were around $150 per builable square foot in 2006, are now offered between $200 and as high as $300 per buildable sq. ft.. The area north of 48th Avenue from Vernon Avenue West and North To the Anabel Basin (45th Road), is particularly intriguing. 5th Street, for instance, 1 block from the water, has seen virtually every property between 47th Road and the Basin turn over in the past 2 years. Many see 5th Street as the next upscale shopping/gallery strip in the area. Between 5th and Vernon, there is no shortage of lots for the developer in you, although they do seem to be getting snatched up quickly.

What will be built in the area? I think it will fall into 2 categories. First will be the luxury condo. Given that most of the properties in the area are zoned for 6 stories of residential with buildable ratios of 2 or 3 times the lots size, I think you will see an abundance of 6 story condos with ample outdoor space. I call this the "Casa Vizcaya" model, for a condo recently built in the area under these restrictions. Condo prices in the area have edged over the $800 per square foot mark, so if you can manage to get a building up for $300 per foot, profits are in your future. The more these lots fill up with luxury condos, the more desirable, presumably, the area becomes. The second use in the area will be "community use". Community use could be anything from a hotels to dorms, and depending on the use, the city may grant you a variance to build more than the zoning allows for. There is a full block on 5th Street between 47th Ave and 46th Road, that is rumored to be a 13 story dorm for CUNY graduate students (unconfirmed). Such a height would be above the zoning limit and require a variance.

If anything, it should be very interesting to see how the area is developed. As of now, it is a blank canvas. A couple of years from now, expect it to look dramatically different, and if you have the itch to try your hand at development, now is your time.

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