Dec. 16, 2020 - Crain's New York

The pandemic has hit Long Island City’s residential market extremely hard, but that does not appear to be slowing down Rockrose Development’s plans for the neighborhood.

The company, which already has multiple luxury high-rise buildings in the area, has filed plans with the city for another project at 43-14 Queens St. The development will span almost 200,000 square feet, with 301 residential units, and it will stand 19 stories and 229 feet tall. It will include about 4,000 square feet of commercial space as well.

Rockrose just purchased 43-14 Queens St. and 43-12 Queens St. in November for $13 million, property records show. The adjacent sites are currently home to an industrial building and a parking facility, according to the city.

This project will be a second phase of Rockrose’s 790-unit Eagle Lofts building, which is located right by its new site at 43-22 Queens St., according to Rockrose Vice President Paul Januszewski.

Rockrose is run by the father and son team of Henry and Justin Elghanayan, and its other residential properties in Long Island City include Linc LIC at 43-10 Crescent St. and Hayden at 43-25 Hunter St.

The company also purchased 27-34 Jackson Ave. for $26 million in February, shortly before the pandemic upended the city’s real estate market.

Although the pandemic has hit New York apartments hard across the board, Long Island City has been feeling its impact especially strongly. Rents are dropping at their highest rate in more than four years, and the market share of landlords offering concessions to tenants has hit a record high, according to Douglas Elliman’s November report on the city’s rental market.

However, northwest Queens still has not seen the corresponding increase in leases that has started to occur in Manhattan and Brooklyn. There were just 183 new leases signed in the neighborhood in November, compared to 233 in November 2019, the 16th month in a row that leases have dropped year over year, according to the report.

Jonathan Miller, CEO of Miller Samuel and author of the Elliman reports, has attributed the area’s struggles in part to the decline in commuting, as being one subway stop away from Midtown becomes less important when so many people are working remotely.

A recent report from the Real Estate Board of New York found that developers filed plans for 1,187 new buildings during the first three quarters of the year, the lowest number since the Great Recession’s aftermath. Projects in Queens made up the greatest percentage of total square feet during the third quarter at 38.6%, and the largest project in the borough was a mixed-use building in Jamaica that spanned roughly 500,000 square feet.

This story has been updated to include information from Rockrose Development. An earlier version also incorrectly stated the total square feet and amount of commercial space in the project.