Real Estate Experts Discuss Changing Neighborhoods, Retail Scene

Outside of Flushing and Long Island City, two booming real estate hubs in Queens, Wang said neighborhoods like Maspeth, Jackson Heights and Kew Gardens are all “in the conversation” for commercial and residential development.

Once you have a transit line to Manhattan, anything is possible,” he said.

Wang said he considers Willets Point another huge development project that, if it ever becomes a reality, would really change the area.

Michael Wang and Martin Cottingham are co-chairs of the Chamber’s Real Estate Committee.

Cottingham said Jamaica, with its proximity to John F. Kennedy International Airport, the Long Island Rail Road and other developments, cannot be dismissed. Both also pointed to the Rockaways as an area to look out for, with all of the economic revitalization funding coming in.

The resiliency projects taking place down there will definitely help,” Cottingham said. “There’s room for a lot of work, a lot needs to be done.”

Another project they’re keeping top of mind is the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) streetcar, which would run from Astoria down to Sunset Park. Cottingham said he’s excited about the potential of the project.

If you want to follow retail and emerging neighborhoods and markets, follow that rail route,” he said. “Those neighborhoods will emerge and those neighborhoods will have needs.”

Though quality of life and infrastructure capacity are issues that could potentially affect real estate projects, Wang said the chamber can play an important role to address those problems. Bringing together city agencies, community boards and civic groups and local businesses, the chamber can act as a “hub of information” and cooperation, he said.

Looking at the next five to ten years in Queens, Cottingham said the future is bright.

I’d like to think that a lot of the work being done today will be the foundation for a borough that’s continuing to emerge, continuing to be the go-to place for a diverse set of global companies,” he said.

Responsible development, which includes expanding infrastructure, amenities and retail, will all be important to support the growing of neighborhoods.

I think it’s an exciting time to be in Queens, in the city,” Cottingham said. “The economy is moving along, job growth is tremendous, and you have emerging markets. There’s a lot of opportunity out there. It’s been exciting to watch and be a part of.”

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