Ryan Serhant, star of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York” and team leader with Nest Seekers International, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that developers and speculators were “freaking out” about Amazon’s decision to withdraw from its plan to build a second headquarters in Long Island City.
Serhant said that he had put 15 different apartments into contract within two weeks of Amazon’s initial decision to bring 25,000 new jobs to this new headquarters in Long Island City. Once Amazon chose to rethink its plans due to local opposition, all 15 of those developers and speculators called him to ask, “Should I pull my deposit, can I get it back? Is there an Amazon contingency clause in my contract?”
For all the “freaking out,” Serhant sounded a bit non-plushed. Was he surprised that local politicians were opposed to the deal? “No.” Was he disappointed with the outcome? “A bit…but “…the ‘Amazon boom’ as we call it, happened too quickly. And no one was really able to understand the benefits of that many jobs to the area would have brought to the locals.”
Does Serhant think Long Island City can still benefit without Amazon? “Yes, I think it’s a great place for real estate investment…apartments in Long Island City go for about $200/square feet less than apartments in Manhattan.”
Eric Benaim, CEO of Long Island City-based brokerage Modern Spaces, agreed with Serhant. “We are still doing deals. Nothing has changed. Long Island City has been an exciting and hot neighborhood for the past 10 years and its will continue to be a hot and exciting neighborhood,”
Benaim sold 300 pre-construction units in the two weeks after Amazon said it was coming to town. So far, like Serhant’s clients, no one has backed out. “But,” said Benaim, “closings on these units are not expected for 8-10 months so we’ll just have to wait and see, but I don’t think any of those (clients) will really leave.”