Economic Crisis Has Little Impact on Flushing Development
by Jeffrey Harmatz
Oct 23, 2008 | 2412 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A high-tech model in the Muss Development sales office shows what the completed Sky View Parc development will look like.
A high-tech model in the Muss Development sales office shows what the completed Sky View Parc development will look like.
The nation’s economic woes may stem from a mortgage crisis, but the Flushing real estate market is still going strong.

The developers behind Sky View Parc, a large residential and retail development, say that business is still strong, even in the face of the financial devastation that has stalled other real estate markets.

The mega-development, which will include 1,100 residential units atop a brand new mall and parking garage, is currently under construction and is expected to open in 2009. Muss Development, who is developing the project, says that sales, though slowing, are still strong and have exceeded expectations.

Sky View Parc is a 3.3 million-square-foot, $1 billion development on 14 acres in Flushing along Roosevelt Ave between the Van Wyck Expressway and College Point Boulevard.

When complete, the project will feature an 800,000-square-foot public shopping mall, six residential towers with more than 1,500 residential units, and a four-acre rooftop park. There will also be a 2500-car parking garage that will be open to both residents and shoppers, but will feature a pricing system that will keep commuters from parking at Sky View and taking public transportation into the city.

Construction on the project has continued, and its first phase, which includes the retail center, parking, a majority of the roof park and three of the six residential towers, is expected to be complete by 2009.

Currently, the exterior of the mall and garage have been completed, and the frame of the 11th floor of the first 12-story tower is finished as well. Sales have been open on the project since February, and the first of Phase One’s towers has already sold out, and more than 120 apartments have already been sold.

The reported success of Sky View runs counter to much of what is happening in the New York real estate market. Communities in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even Queens have seen residential, commercial, and industrial development stall due to the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the resulting economic difficulties.

After the closure of many banks and investment firms on Wall Street, there is less money available for New Yorkers to purchase homes, and developers are backing down on once ambitious projects, converting many of their units into rentals.

Several high-profile developments similar to Sky View Parc, including Forest City Ratner’s Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, Hudson Yards in Manhattan, and the Economic Development Corporation’s long term plans for nearby Willets Point, have seen their progress stalled by or called into question by detractors on the grounds that the current economy cannot sustain such large-scale development.

Fortunately for Muss Development, the economy’s downturn has been much less of a problem for Sky View Parc. Jason Muss, a principal for Muss Development, attributes the consistent sales to the lengthy development process.

“When we started developing Sky View Parc three or four years ago, it was before the real estate boom and we didn’t get into the pricing frenzy that everyone else did,” he explained. “We’ve owned this land since 1983, and because of that, we have the luxury of offering much lower prices than our competition.”

According to a sales leader at Muss, sales at the development are slowing down but not dropping off. The company declined to give the specific decline, but said that it was minor.

Muss explained that they were further avoiding any future economic problems by making sure that buyers were able to afford their Sky View Parc homes. Major banks have sent lenders to Muss Development’s sales office, where they work with buyers to put 30 to 50 percent down on the $300,000 to $2 million homes.

“They’re not giving loans to anyone who comes in here with a pulse,” said Muss.

Due to the faltering economy, many of the city’s newest residential developments are being turned into rental units or being sold to foreign investors. Muss said that he would not let a majority of foreign buyers own units in Sky View Parc.

“I’m uncomfortable with a high percentage of foreign buyers, but I’m not against a few,” he said.

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