Q&A with Winick’s Aaron Fishbein
The Court Square Blog recently caught up with Winick’s Aaron Fishbein, who will be bringing several retail spaces to Court Square. Here’s what he had to say:
The Court Square Blog: Tell us about your commercial real estate practice at Winick.
Aaron Fishbein: The firm has been around for over 30 years, specializing in retail real estate, leasing and investment sales. We represent and consult on behalf of all types of owners, ranging from institutional to mom and pops, as well as tenants including everyone from public national retailers to mom and pop local retailers.
I have been working in retail real estate for approximately 6 years and during this time, my focus has been on Long Island City, Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. My first introduction to the Long Island City real estate market was through working on a project for TF Cornerstone. My team was selected as the exclusive agent to represent their East Coast Development, which comprises of 6 buildings with approximately 3,000 residential units and 30,000 sf of retail. TF Cornerstone is an incredible company and really put LIC on the map.
From there, we represented Lightstone Group’s Gantry Park Landing building on the waterfront. Then, Related Companies’ first phase of Hunter’s Point South development. It was very interesting that we received more offers and more action on our LIC properties than our Manhattan properties. Retailers are really intrigued by Long Island City’s low rent numbers mixed with the density and low competition relative to other New York City markets. The retailers can do real business. Not one of our tenants has gone out of business, which is amazing.
In the beginning, it was all about the LIC waterfront. Now it’s all about Court Square and Queens Plaza. Currently, around 90% of our projects and time is spent in the Court Square and Queens Plaza market..
TCSB: What do you feel Court Square needs most right now?
AF: At this point, what Court Square needs are the basic uses that will service this first wave of residential, hotel and office development and density. For example: Gourmet markets, Quick Service Restaurants, Pharmacy, Fitness, Salons, Café, Hardware, Dry Cleaners, Pet Supply shops etc.
To service the second and third wave of development and density, we will need Big Box uses, and they are already started to poke around. Big box tenants follow each other, so once the first big box tenant signs, they will all follow.
TCSB: The residential component has already arrived in Court Square. When do you think the retail will catch up?
AF: Retail lags residential so, naturally, we are now starting to see retailers arrive. There is a major excitement and urgency coming from retailers in that they want to enter the LIC market right away in order to lock in current rents. Many don’t want to be late to the party, as many were in areas like Williamsburg. You have residents living in Court Square and Queens Plaza who are just waiting for the retailers to open up and so they can give them their business.
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Winick Realty Group is one of New York’s prominent real estate firms specializing in retail leasing and advisory services. Over the years, Winick Realty has served a broad range of domestic and global clients, with a strong emphasis on long-term representation and expansion and growth strategies. Winick Realty Group is highly recognized as a forerunner in the retail real estate market.