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November 18, 2009

DiNapoli: Long Island City-Astoria Is Up and Coming

Area Adds Residents, Attracts Investors Despite Economic Downturn

Long Island City and Astoria, the westernmost portions of Queens directly across the East River from Manhattan, continue to add new residential and commercial space despite tough times for older manufacturing and construction businesses in the area, according to a report issued today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“The recession had a negative impact on the neighborhood’s private sector, but Long Island City and Astoria are proving to be resilient and resourceful in bouncing back. Entrepreneurs in real estate and the creative sector are drawn to the area’s proximity to Manhattan and its residential base is growing,” DiNapoli said.

While the area lost 2,760 jobs in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2008, the population—and real estate designed to house new residents—is on the rise. When completed, the Queens West waterfront development project will add 40 acres of housing, schools and recreational public space minutes from midtown Manhattan. The short commute to the heart of the city has also drawn the attention of Japanese investors, who are building New York’s largest hotel outside Manhattan near Long Island City’s iconic Citibank tower.

DiNapoli’s report noted new investments by established film and music industry businesses in the neighborhood. 90-year old movie industry pioneers Kaufman-Astoria Studios is in the midst of a $22 million extension of its facilities, while Silvercup Studios, the city’s largest film studio, is developing a $1 billion expansion plan that includes new soundstages, offices and housing. Steinway & Sons, the area’s world-famous piano manufacturing company, recently installed the world’s largest solar-powered roof with State and federal aid.

Manufacturing remains an economic mainstay of the neighborhood, despite the loss of a quarter of all jobs in that sector between 2003 and 2008. Factory work accounted for 14 percent of private sector employment in the area, in contrast to three percent for the rest of the city.

DiNapoli discussed the economic report and other concerns facing New York taxpayers during his keynote speech today at the Long Island City Business Development Corporation trade show.

Click here for a copy of the report.


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