Jul. 24, 2017 - Wall Street Journal

Dining options take top spot as the type of brick-and-mortar retail most needed, according to survey.

Residents and workers in Long Island City are hungry for more dining options, a recent study showed. Restaurants took the top spot as the type of brick-and-mortar retail most needed in the neighborhood, which continues to add thousands of apartments and hotel rooms and millions of square feet of commercial space. Pharmacies came in second, followed by grocery stores, according to a survey of more than 1,300 respondents by the Long Island City Partnership, a local development organization.

“An entirely new market for retail is being created in all of these buildings,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “Retail is extremely important to people here, and they want more of it, better access and they want the kind of retail that is not replacing things online, but things they want right away.”

The survey found that 40% of those surveyed ate out at a restaurant or visited a bar in Long Island City one to three times a month, with a third going to these places one to two times a week. The organization conducted the survey to help educate owners of retail spaces, brokers and merchants about who lives and works in the neighborhood and what people want from their brick-and-mortar stores, said Ms. Lusskin.

Almost 22,000 apartments are planned or under construction in Long Island City with almost 9,000 expected to be completed this year, according to the partnership. More than 3,000 hotel rooms are in the pipeline, and more than 465,000 square feet of retail development is anticipated by 2020. “The critical thing about emerging neighborhoods is that they need retail,” said JustinElghanayan, president of Rockrose Development Corp., which has developed several residential buildings in Long Island City and about 50,000 square feet of retail space.