Stephen Preuss is a vice president at Cushman & Wakefield who focuses on the Queens market.
Last year showed us record-breaking pricing of development sites in the Flushing area. This year has taken those numbers upwards and has even left real estate professionals scratching their heads.
The average price per buildable square foot in the fourth quarter of 2014 throughout the city was approximately $303, which is 52 percent higher than the same period last year. Since the start of 2015, we have seen multiple properties sell at more than $300 per buildable square foot.
Just this past February we sold a development site at 142-26 Roosevelt Ave., a prime location in downtown Flushing. The property offered 21,060 buildable square feet and sold at $322.89 per buildable square foot.
Recently we have received several calls from appraisers trying to make sense of these prices where capitalization rates and price per square foot do not make financial sense.
The interest from foreign buyers has kept the interest in an upswing and has since resulted in sale prices comparable to those in Manhattan. Multiple properties especially on Northern Boulevard have sold for above average pricing, and most properties have a retail component with development potential.
For example, 138-12 Northern Blvd. in Flushing sold at $341.27 per buildable square foot. The property consisted of a four-unit retail strip, but allowed for an additional 20,000 buildable square feet to be developed on site.
We have been seeing an exponential amount of interest in development since 2012 and expect the remainder of this year to follow suit.