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A crowd of nearly 400 real estate moguls, investors and elected leaders gathered at Gantry Loft in Long Island City (LIC) to discuss the past, present and future of Queens real estate and development.

“The borough’s housing market is exploding,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “People are seeking to live here.”

 

Katz cited Jamaica, downtown Flushing and LIC as three areas in the borough that have especially seen a wealth of development in the last few years.

“There’s 11,500 units of residential completed right here [in LIC]. There’s 22,000 in pipeline,” Katz said. “There’s 28 hotels currently operating. LIC has 6,300 businesses: 3.5 million square feet of commercial [space].”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, representative of LIC, Sunnyside and Astoria, echoed the borough president’s remarks.

“Queens is literally the heart and soul, the center of New York City,” Van Bramer said. “We have known that for a long time; some folks have just started to realize it. But Queens is where it’s at.”

Maria Torres-Springer, president and CEO of the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), discussed growth and development in the “World’s Borough.”

“We want to make sure all New Yorkers — our entrepreneurs, our local families, our manufacturers, our innovators — have the tools or resources they need to make it here in New York,” Torres-Springer said.

Torres-Springer reported that NYCEDC is currently investing over $4 billion in projects throughout Queens, including Hunters Point South — a proposed mixed-use, affordable housing development in LIC.

The NYCEDC president continued to discuss affordable housing and retail space in Long Island City when a handful of protesters in the crowd stood up and began chanting “Queens is not for sale.”

“Working families cannot stay here,” one protester said. “From Ridgewood to Corona: Queens is not for sale.”

After the group was escorted out, Torres-Springer addressed their vocal concerns.

“When I hear these types of comments and feedback — and clearly frustration — by New Yorkers,” Torres-Springer said, “what that tells me is we need to do is — by respecting what we’re hearing — to think about more ways, more creative ways, to make sure we’re pushing forward an agenda of inclusive growth.”

During a panel discussing transportation in Queens, Ya-Ting Liu, executive director of Friends of Brooklyn Queens Connector (BQX), was on hand to discuss the proposal for a north-south running street car line connecting the two boroughs.

“We see this proposal and project as very complementary to all the things that the city is going to need to expand transportation access for all New Yorkers” said Liu. “As a growing and diverse city, we need multiple modes of transportation.”

David Pospisil, manager of commercial and industrial energy efficiency programs at Con Edision, encouraged business and building owners to visit manage-energy.coned.com and learn about ways to save money and go green by managing energy output.

“It’s very high-tech, 3-D website, and very helpful to customers,” said Pospisil.

The next Star Network award and networking event is the Kings of Kings County Awards & Networking Dinner which will take place on Thursday, Nov. 17. For more information about networking events, visit StarNetwork.com.

Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

Council Member Van Bramer

Councilman Van Bramer

 

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