Jul. 25, 2017 - NY 1

As nationwide retail sales fell for a second month, there’s one neighborhood in Queens where it appears demand for more retailers is on the rise. Our Gene Apodaca has more on this new survey.The Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters, which has locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, is new to Long Island City.

“We’re packed from morning to day,” said spokeswoman, Allie Caran. “We weren’t sure when we first started here and what we’ve seen is that it’s super busy there’s been a lot of foot traffic.”

That demand, according to the Long Island City Partnership, is part of a trend. According to a recently conducted survey of more than 1,300 people in the neighborhood, the partnership found respondents deemed adding more retailers to the area was a priority. Specifically, the survey reported that respondents wanted to see more restaurants, pharmacies and grocery stores in the neighborhood.

“What’s going on in Long Island City, is that we are seeing massive amounts of new housing, new office buildings, open up all within a fairly short period of time,” said LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusski. That growth, according to officials at the Partnership, is only going to get bigger. Over the next year, they anticipate the addition of nearly 10,000 units in the area, will nearly double amount of people living there.

Officials at Rockrose Development see that growth as an opportunity. It owns the old industrial building where Toby’s is located. The building is currently being renovated to include a new Book Culture Bookstore, and the Restaurant Levante, which opens this week. “We’ve really carefully chosen our tenants to bring a unique experience and fulfill the needs of everybody in the community,” said Patricia Dunphy, the Senior Vice President for Rockrose Development. The partnership said one of the reasons why this area continues to buck the trend is because of the types of businesses Long Island City attracts.

“It’s a great moment for retailers to come in and seize that opportunity, in a couple of years it will be a no-brainer, but people with a brain can take advantage of it now,” said Lusskin.