Kicking and almost screaming, I was dragged to Long Island City the other day by clients who became discouraged in their search for an apartment in Manhattan with the space and carrying costs that they were willing to spend.
I was certain they would hate the area, and I was so wrong.
We first visited a sort of cheesy new development on a block of active light industry, and the condo there had aspects that intrigued my clients. Then we went to one called L haus at the foot of the Polaski bridge. They fell in love, and I have to say that the building and all the finishes captivated me, too. I also have to say that any time I have looked at apartments in Long Island City, I saw that those facing the Manhattan skyline were considered the most desirable ones.
Such apartments and the sales pitches that accompanied them always remind me of Saturday Night Fever. I’ve never been sure whether it was the impressive skyline from their apartment windows or, perhaps, a longing to be in Manhattan that most attracts buyers to Long Island City. (Okay, so I can be a snob.)
For my buyers, what lures them there is the combination of being able to purchase a gorgeous two-bedroom, two-bath unit of close to 1,100 square feet on the fifth floor and the quality of the unit. They were drawn to the high-end kitchen, stylish baths and building amenities such as the large well-equipped gym, a so-called media room, an expansive party room and a garage still to be completed.
Although they recognize issues relating to bridge and Midtown Tunnel traffic, they view them as a reasonable trade-off. Indeed, they much like the immediate neighborhood, which I would describe as funky, though pretty close to tempting restaurants.
Even more important were the prices. Their unit is listed for $705,000, but the developer has closed so far on only four units and is showing remarkable flexibility. Because we’re still in negotiations, I won’t write about the details. Yet I can disclose the following:
- For a limited time, all buyers can receive $10,000 in closing costs;
- Private storage units are available at reasonable prices;
- For 90 days after the contract is signed, the developer will rebate any difference between the sold price should he reduce listed prices;
- The developer is cutting prices by many thousands of dollars in making counter-offers;
- Buyers can move in as soon their contract is executed, paying no more than the actual monthly common charge and real estate tax–in my clients’ case, less than $1,000 total until their lender is ready to issue a mortgage.
- If the loan ultimately is denied, buyers will have their 10 percent deposit returned without penalty.
The building is one block from the #7 subway station and literally one stop, five minutes, from Grand Central.
(If the L haus situation reminds you of all the new developers, including, oh, Joseph Korff of the Solaria, that are feeling more pain than open heart surgery, you’re not mistaken. Naturally, they are pulling out all the stops to attract buyers.)
One concern that I must mention is that the L haus developer could run into so much financial trouble that the building and its resident owners end up suffering. But that likelihood seems small, given how long it will be, perhaps years, before enough units are sold to warrant lenders issuing mortgages and thereby entrapping the folks who live in the building.
I also want to point out that anyone interested in my roaming out and about to view properties on the market several times a week may want to subscribe to my free bi-weekly e-newsletter, which contains a range of information on the U.S. and New York City housing markets, mortgages, household tips and celebrity comings and goings.
All in all, I’m glad we went to Long Island City, though I’ll take Manhattan.
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022