Measuring the Coronavirus Effect on Development in Brooklyn, Queens

Two development markets charged by an early 2000s rezoning will test the reach of the coronavirus in New York City's development market.

July 8, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Newtown Creek

Newton Creek, where it splits Brooklyn and Queens. | PimmyTan / Shutterstock

There is a lot of uncertainty in the development market of the nation's largest city, according to an article by Stefanos Chen and David W. Chen for The New York Times. The list of uncertainties thrown at the city since the outset of the pandemic is long and complex:

The quarantine in March knocked marketing and construction timelines off track, imperiling some builders’ plans and forcing others to rethink their projects on the fly. Some builders are changing apartment floor plans to make way for home offices and decontamination rooms, and rethinking amenities that no longer make sense in close quarters. To spur sales, new discounts and promotions, like rent-to-own programs more commonly seen after the 2008 recession, are now cropping up. 

And after a monthslong reprieve from endless construction, the pause has also given new life to community concerns about what should be built, and for whom, considering not only the new economic reality, but also climate change concerns around the vulnerable coastline.

As their barometer for the future of the development industry in  New York, Chen and Chen survey the scene around Newtown Creek, which connects the two previously bustling development markets in Long Island City in Queens and Greenpoint in Brooklyn. "There may be no better proving ground for which projects will succeed or fail in a post-Covid world than what is being built in these once largely industrial neighborhoods off Newton Creek," according to the article.

Friday, July 3, 2020 in The New York Times

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