LIC Partnership annual luncheon focuses on the future

Kenneth Adams 2
THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre 

The Long Island City Partnership’s 27th annual trade show and luncheon on Thursday highlighted the answer to the question on everyone’s mind — what now?

While the event celebrated the growth of the burgeoning neighborhood, keynote speaker Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development (ESD), emphasized state initiatives to help advance the area further, including a possible $100,000 state grant for a planning study of LIC.

The LIC Partnership has applied for the grant, and the state is currently reviewing about 2,600 projects for funds. The applications that win state funding will be announced in December, but the LIC planning study has been upgraded to a priority plan, Adams said, because members of the Regional Economic Development Council from the five boroughs support it.

“The study is necessary, because we have to make sure that there is the opportunity for small businesses to survive in this market because the cost of property has dramatically escalated and the cost of rents are following,” said Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley, who received the William D. Modell Community Service Award at the event. “There needs to be this study to say what is the unintended consequences so far of development and zoning and how do we look forward to maintain that good balance of live, work and play.”

Adams said Long Island City and Astoria will also be affected by the incoming students, faculty, and researchers coming to the future Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, and that the ESD has provided funding to work on a tech incubator for the area with the advocacy group Coalition for Queens.

The Room 2

Turning to past achievements, the LIC Partnership honored TF Cornerstone founders K. Thomas and Frederick Elghanayan for their investments in the neighborhood.

Recently, the firm completed its 10-year, $1.4 billion Center Boulevard project, which includes six residential towers on the Long Island City waterfront for a community of more than 6,000 people.

TF Cornerstone was also selected to develop two residential towers for the second phase of the city’s Hunter’s Point South mega affordable housing project.

The buildings will have 1,193 new apartments, 796 of which will be affordable, and the towers will also feature a gym, rooftop gardens and decks, and an on-site senior recreational center.

“It gives me great pleasure to come out to our Long Island City site and to see people pushing carriages around and riding bicycles. It’s like a small city,” Frederick said. “I think other [investors] are going to continue to come in, because it’s established now.”