BY JORDAN GIBBONS
Brian Sarath, director of sales at Massey Knakal, covers the southeast region of Queens. In April 2007, he was named to Real Estate New York’s 30 Under 30 Rising Stars and was also ranked Top Sales Broker in Queens/Long Island by CoStar in 2008, 2011 and 2012. In an interview with the Queens Tribune, Sarath shared his thoughts on the present Queens real estate landscape and what it means for the future of the Borough.
When and how did you get your start at Massey Knakal?
I started in September 2000 after graduating from the University of Massachusetts. I always wanted to be in sales and thought, what’s bigger and better to sell then buildings? At the time, Massey Knakal had just opened the Queens office. I figured this was an excellent opportunity to start my career with a company that was also just breaking into a new market; basically starting with something from the ground up.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement since you have worked in Queens real estate?
Bringing The Home Depot to Jamaica Center. It took us three years and five different property owners to make this deal. The building had been sitting vacant for decades and was a blight to the community. Jamaica needed a catalyst and a large national tenant after the department stores and big box national tenants left in the 1960s. Since The Home Depot came to the neighborhood, we hope other big box tenants will follow suit.
What are you opinions on the future of the Queens commercial real estate market?
The future of Queens Real Estate has never looked brighter. With investors and developers getting priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn they have set their sights on Queens. You can’t go a day without hearing news regarding LIC and Astoria. With so much demand for sites down in LIC, it has led to tremendous overflow in all the other areas of Queens. With rents continuing to increase and demand for all types of commercial properties, we expect continued upward pressure on property values
Where do you see the most opportunities for growth throughout the Borough and why?
Jamaica – Unfortunately until now, the perception of Jamaica has been crime and foreclosures. But that is about to change. Investors are beginning to realize, Jamaica has a median income of $65,000, transportation that is second to none and a zoning change of 368 blocks that significantly increased the ability to build large scale properties. With the transportation infrastructure, median income and the zoning change in downtown, Jamaica is poised to take off.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the future of Jamaica. What vision do you have for Jamaica over the next 10 years?
I am hopeful and confident that Jamaica will catch up with the rest of the Borough. I’m expecting private sector development to take off. There are a number of hotel projects and private sector development deals that will hopefully come to fruition. Developers and investors are going to realize there’s real value in Jamaica.