Frank J. Monterisi, Jr. is a senior vice president at Related Companies, where he is responsible for overseeing residential developments in New York and Chicago. Since joining Related in 2007, Monterisi has overseen the construction of 4 million square feet of residential housing valued at more than $2 billion. A native of Whitestone, Monterisi returned to his hometown to manage the Hunter’s Point South Living development in Long Island City, which will bring 925 permanently affordable apartments to the area. However, there were nearly 93,000 applicants for those units.
La Guerre: So you’re a Queens native? Tell me about growing up here.
Monterisi: I grew up in Queens. I went to Holy Cross High School. There are two things that I wanted to be in my life. One was a marine and the other was a real estate developer. I went to the Naval Academy with the intentions of being a marine officer. I got nominated for the academy by Congressman Tom Manton and his office was in Long Island City. I remember going to my interview for the nomination on Queens Boulevard. Just think, 20 years later I would be building buildings in his district.
La Guerre: What’s changed in Long Island City that you like or don’t like?
Monterisi: Changes that I like are there are many new restaurants that popped up, new places, more people moved in and there is more density so things are getting built up and that is a good thing from a real estate developer’s perspective.
La Guerre: With the influx of this developing boom, the industrial sector of Long Island City is being threatened. Where do you stand on this issue?
Monterisi: New York needs more housing. At the same time there is a look and feel that as authentic, native New Yorkers, you want to see preserved. The two things can co-exist.
La Guerre: But what about the possibility of another residential–focused rezoning for the neighborhood?
Monterisi: That is a good thing, because we need to find neighborhoods for growth. We need to find places to build affordable housing like Hunter’s Point South, which will stay affordable so that New Yorkers can stay in New York and we don’t see the flight of people getting priced out
La Guerre: What does it say about this city when you get 93,000 applications for 925 units in the Hunter’s Point South buildings?
Monterisi: All those people, the average everyday New Yorker, what’s at the top of their list? To find a nice place to live without horrible rent stories.
La Guerre: What is the next step in the process for future tenants?
Monterisi: We just got the list from the city last week, and now there is an administrative process and after that happens we will start calling people and inviting them to meet our team and talk about the buildings. We are hopeful that by spring time we’ll have places for people to move into.
La Guerre: What will people be most amazed at when seeing this project when they step into it for the first time?
Monterisi: The views are off the charts — it’s some of the best views in New York City. When people get into the building they are going to say to themselves “I know people that live across the river and pay three times the rent that I am paying for the same apartment.”