As skyscrapers sprout in Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, look to southern Brooklyn for value, said developers, designers and real estate agents at Wednesday’s Brownstoner & QNS Real Estate Conference.
“What you’re seeing emerge is an entirely new streetscape on Flatbush Avenue,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer, who calls it the Flatbush Avenue Skyscraper District.
Transportation is a challenge throughout the city and a bottleneck to development, especially in Brooklyn and Queens, all participants agreed. The future of development and real estate is in outlying portions of Brooklyn and Queens, they said.
The key is to focus on creating self-contained communities, said architect Eran Chen, founder and owner of ODA. As well, there is practical value in good design, he continued. It does not necessarily cost more, although it can. Developers who invest in it will see higher sales prices and margins and bigger profits, he said.
“It’s scary to see how much construction there is around the city,” said Jake Elghanayan, senior vice president of TF Cornerstone. “It’s hard not to say this is an unprecedented level of construction.” Yet the firm is still in the market to buy new properties when they see great new locations — some of which could be in outlying areas, he said.
Having recently developed four skyscrapers in Downtown Brooklyn, Red Apple Group has moved on to Coney Island, said John Catsimatidis, the firm’s founder.
“Highly seasoned agents will be listing ever deeper in Brooklyn, and there will be more inventory coming on there,” predicted Brown Harris Stevens agent Jeanette Colegrove. Speakers were bullish on Brooklyn and even more so Queens and on rentals more than condos, citing continued price increases in Queens and a slight dip in prices in Brooklyn in second quarter.
Buyers in Brooklyn and Queens are typically 20- and 30-somethings buying their first or second home, said Modern Spaces CEO and President Eric Benaim. “They try renting in a neighborhood and if they like it they want to buy something.” About 10 percent are empty nesters, he said.
The yearly conference took place Wednesday, October 10 at the Brooklyn Expo Center in Greenpoint. Sponsors included California Closets, Charter Real Estate School, Douglas Elliman, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Flushing Bank, LoanDepot, Long Island City Partnership, Movers Not Shakers, PropertyShark, the Real Estate Board of New York, Sweeten, The Guarantors, Modern Spaces and Rockrose, Crystal windows, CPEX