Queens is the largest of New York City’s five boroughs and one of the most ethnically diverse city areas in the world. Queens includes a variety of diverse neighborhoods, such as Bellaire, Bayside, Astoria, Flushing, Long Island City, and Sunnyside.
Though no single industry is responsible for the majority of Queens’ economic success, the aviation industry is worth mentioning. Queens’ two airports make the airline industry very influential, accounting for more than 27 percent of all jobs in the borough. John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, the two busiest airports in the world, generated $64.5 billion in economic activity in 2017.
Though the aviation industry is an impressive economic driver, it’s just one of many successful industries in Queens. “The Queens economy is booming,” New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. “Over the past decade, Queens has seen a growing population and a rapid rise in jobs and in businesses, and this is a historic time for the borough.”
Other important industries contributing to Queens’ diverse economy include healthcare, retail trade, film, construction, and manufacturing. The borough is home to JetBlue Airways; watchmaker Bulova; piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons; and Glaceau, which makes Vitamin Water.
What Our Brokers Say About Queens Office Space for Lease
Queens’ unemployment rate is lower than the national average, and the borough has seen a 0.5 percent increase in the job market this year. It is cheaper to live in Queens than it is to live in Brooklyn. About one-third of the Queens population has a bachelor’s degree, and the borough houses 11 colleges and universities, including St. John’s University and the CUNY School of Law. Businesses hiring interns or recent grads will have plenty of choices.
Queens’ population has increased by 25 percent since 1980 to 2.4 million. Immigration has played a key role in both the increase in population and the borough’s economy. “We have 190 countries and 200 languages represented here,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Our diversity here is our strength . . . and 69 percent of our small business owners are folks who were born in other places.” That percentage is even more impressive when taking into account that 98 percent of New York City businesses are considered small businesses (they have 100 employees or fewer).
If you’re planning a business lunch or event, check out Abuqir Seafood, D Angelos Sausage Truck, Bill’s Townhouse, or Ltauha Restaurant. If you just want to take a break from the office and go for a brainstorming stroll, visit one of Queens’ many parks such as Astoria Park, Brookville Park, or Queensbridge Park.
Queens has something for everyone. Sports fans can enjoy a Mets game at Citi Field or watch a US Open tennis tournament. Swimming, tanning or surfing enthusiasts can enjoy Rockaway Beach. In fact, this beach is the city’s only legal surfing beach. Visitors can enjoy a variety of concessions and outdoor activities along with the surf and sand. And those who just want to take a stroll can explore Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the largest park in Queens and the fourth largest park in New York City. This 897-acre park offers a wide variety of activities including a recreation complex, a zoo, an art museum, a science museum, and a botanical garden. Popular tourist destinations include the Museum of the Moving Image, the Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden, the Unisphere and the Panorama of NYC, and P.S. 1 Contemporary Arts Center.
Queens became a borough on May 4, 1987, as a result of the New York State Legislature’s vote. It used to be larger until Jan. 1, 1899, when the eastern 280 square miles were partitioned and designated as Nassau County. Queens’ economy and population both grew with the implementation and improvement of transportation options in the area. In 1905, the Long Island Rail Road was electrified. In 1909, the Queensboro Bridge opened, offering travelers an alternative to using the ferry to get to Brooklyn. After 1915, almost the entire borough became connected to the New York City Subway system. Queens hosted both the 1939 and 1964 New York World’s Fairs at Flushing Meadows Park. This exhibition for mid-20th century American culture and technology included more than 140 pavilions, 110 restaurants, 45 corporations, and 80 nations. In 1948, an airport then called Idlewild Airport opened in Queens; it is now called JFK Airport.
Queens Commercial Space For Lease | By the numbers
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Queens Office Space | Lease and Data Trends
Queens is 109 square miles in size and offers a wide variety of options for office space. Queens office space leases cost an average of $41 per square foot, which is well below the Manhattan average of $74 per square foot and asking rents in popular Brooklyn submarkets such as DUMBO ($71 per square foot) and Williamsburg ($71 per square foot). About 17 percent of office space in Queens is currently vacant.
Queens’ most dense business district is Long Island City, which is undergoing massive changes and commercial real estate expansion. New Long Island City office space is primarily in Class A office towers, drawing both established brands and fast-growing startups. Those looking for Class A spaces in Long Island City can expect to pay an average of $57 per square foot. Class B spaces in Long Island City are slightly cheaper to rent at just above $40 per square foot.
Though many people expected Amazon’s move to Long Island City to boost the area’s economic growth, but the tech giant backed out, LIC is still thriving. Actually, Amazon’s intentions to move to LIC put the neighborhood on the map because it highlighted the incentives other companies could enjoy by moving to the borough, Joseph Grotto, senior management director at Cushman & Wakefield, said. For example, the Relocation and Employment Assistance Program might help a company move from Manhattan to a comparable office space in Queens for a 30-50 percent discount.
Getting Around: Transportation in Queens
Though there are fewer MTA subway stations than Manhattan or Brooklyn, residents and visitors alike have numerous public transit options for traveling to and from Queens and getting around within it. To fly, use JFK International Airport or LaGuardia Airport. The AirTrain can deliver passengers from JFK to the NYC subway or to the Long Island Rail Road.
To take the subway, choose between one of 81 stations on seven main lines. The A, G, J/Z, and M lines take passengers back and forth between Queens and Brooklyn without first traveling to Manhattan. The E, W, and 7 trains bring passengers from Queens to Manhattan.
To travel by commuter rail, take the Long Island Rail Road, which operates 22 stations in Queens to take passengers to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Long Island. The Jamaica station in Queens is the nation’s busiest commuter rail hub. The borough also has approximately 100 local bus routes that run within Queens and around 20 express routes that bring passengers from Queens to Manhattan and back again. You can even travel by ferry between Queens and Manhattan.
Like in most of New York City, many streets in Queens are named with numbers. Consecutive streets with the same number—such as 52nd Road, 52nd Drive and 52nd Court—can cause confusion, even for residents. Queens is home to the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Queensboro Bridge, the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Roosevelt Island Bridge. Popular colleges in the area include Queens College, York College, and Queensborough Community College. Three east-west highways cut through Queens: The Long Island Expressway, Grand Central Parkway, and the Belt Parkway.
Popular neighborhoods in Queens
Queens rests on the western part of Long Island and also includes some islands. Queens, coterminous with the County of Queens, is NYC’s easternmost boroughs. Brooklyn lies to the southwest, and Nassau County lies to the East. Interestingly, residents of Queens typically feel an allegiance to their neighborhood. The following are some popular neighborhoods in Queens:
Flushing: Though most of Flushing is residential, the neighborhood’s downtown is the fourth largest business district in NYC. It is a very diverse neighborhood and has NYC’s second-largest Chinatown. A New York Post writer called Flushing the “most dynamic outer-borough neighborhood” in the city. Reach this neighborhood via subway 7, which stops on Main Street. Buses M12, M13, M14, M15, M16, M17, M20, M21, M25, M28, M34, M44, M65, and M66 serve the area as well.
Long Island City: Long Island City (LIC) comprises the southwest corner of Queens and is known for having a high number of art galleries. It is home to more than 6,600 businesses, including JetBlue’s corporate headquarters, the nation’s largest fortune cookie factory, and various legal, advertising, Internet, financial, and technology firms. Many of the office buildings in LIC used to be factory buildings but have been repurposed. Class A office space rents for $33 per square foot, and Class B typically rents for around $24 per square foot.
Bellaire: Bellaire is part of Queens Village and comprises the area around Jamaica Avenue and 211st Street. The neighborhood tends to attract recent college graduates and has excellent transportation access.
Bayside: Bayside is known as a safe neighborhood with plenty of affordable housing. Whitestone borders it to the northwest, the East River to the north, the Long Island Sound to the northeast, Douglaston to the east, and Queens Village to the south. Bayside locals can travel using the Bayside station or the nearby Flushing—Main Street station. Locals can reach Manhattan in less than 30 minutes via the Long Island Rail Road.
Astoria: Astoria is a commercial neighborhood in Queens next to LIC, Sunnyside, and Woodside. It is one of the best NYC neighborhoods for young professionals. Some old neighborhoods in Astoria’s waterfront areas along the East River have recently been redeveloped. A recent study indicated that Astoria had among the highest rate of business sales of the neighborhoods in Queens. The neighborhood is served by trains E, F, M, R, and 7.
Jamaica: Jamaica is an affluent, primarily commercial neighborhood that houses several government buildings, such as Queens Civil Court, the Queens County Family Court, and the Joseph P. Addabbo Federal Building, where the Social Security Administration’s Northeastern Program Service Center operates. This neighborhood also includes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Northeast Regional Laboratory and the New York District Office.
Sunnyside: Sunnyside is a middle-class neighborhood located about 15 minutes from Grand Central via the 7 train. Sunnyside is one of Queens’ most diverse neighborhoods and contains the Sunnyside Gardens Historic District, a historic district and one of the nation’s first planned communities.
Top Commercial Properties For Lease In Queens
Curious about office space in Queens? Read about these three SquareFoot-recommended properties or contact one of our experienced brokers to learn about more rental opportunities!
22-15 43rd Avenue: 22-15 43rd Avenue is a four-story office building that was constructed in 1918. Located in Long Island City, this Class A building features on-site security, onsite parking, and key card access. It is 61,408 square feet in size, and currently, eight units ranging from 1,371 to 17,062 square feet in size are available for lease. Contact us to learn more about pricing. Access 22-15 43rd Avenue via trains E, F, G, M, and R. The LIC Market, Gordo’s Cantina, and Triple Short World Atlas can be reached on foot in just a few minutes.
16717 146th Road: Built in 1965, 16717 146th Road is an industrial warehouse located in Queens between 167th and 168th Street. American Airfreight Trucking is a current tenant. Right now two units are available to rent in the building, and both are 15,335 square feet in size. The building doesn’t have many restaurants nearby. The Locust Manor Station Commuter Rail and the Laurelton Station Commuter Rail are both more than a mile away.
21-07 Borden Avenue: 21-07 Borden Avenue is an office building located in Long Island City. It has six stories, is 75,600 square feet in size, and has six units available for rent. The open units range from 5,640 to 15,120 square feet in size. Trains 7 and G bring passengers to the area, and I-495 is also closeby. The area is peppered with restaurants that 21-07 Borden Avenue tenants can try out. Visit Manetta’s Ristorante, Creek & Cave, Mu Ramen, Jora, Slice, or Green Street LIC.