Last Thursday, the Queens Tribune hosted its first Changing Landscape of Queens event, exploring the booming development in the borough and issues related to the rapid growth. Unsurprisingly, the impact of Amazon’s building a 25,000-employee corporate headquarters in Long Island City dominated the discussion of the panel, which included New York City Councilman Francisco Moya, NYC Economic Development Corporation VP of Development Nate Bliss, Queens Chamber of Commerce President Tom Grech and Christopher Fenelus, the CEO of Scope Realty.
Reaction to the news was overwhelmingly positive. Grech focused on the multiplying effect that the high-paying jobs would have on the borough, creating new customers for existing businesses in western Queens and beyond. The Chamber president added that if Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s estimated return on the $3 billion in incentives was indeed 9 to 1, then the borough would make out great on the deal.
EDC’s Bliss pointed out that Amazon’s developing in Long Island City is a natural next step for the decades-long plan of development for the area. Residential buildings have been shooting up at an incredibly fast rate in LIC, and Amazon’s moving its headquarters to the facility is going to create more balance between residential and commercial.
While not opposed to the deal, Councilman Moya did raise concerns he has about Amazon’s coming.
“Growth itself shouldn’t frighten us, but growth without proper planning should. My biggest fear is that development will price out Queens residents and the character of our neighborhoods,” Moya said.
He added that by circumventing the normal process for development, Amazon has started from a point where the community feels on the outside. He said the process that exists for land-use projects, which involves the local community boards and other stakeholders, can often lead to a better plan for all involved, including developers and incoming businesses.
Moya was also concerned that Amazon’s arrival could drive up housing prices. This was a sentiment echoed by Scope Realty’s Fenelus, who represents one of the most diverse real estate firms in New York City.
Long Island City is not the only place growing rapidly in Queens. The panel discussed the development in Jamaica, with Bliss speaking about the similarities that area has with Long Island City. Residential units have been popping up in downtown Jamaica around the Long Island Rail Road hub and the AirTrain access to JFK Airport. Bliss suggested that commercial development, and potentially even corporate headquarters, could be in the works for the area in coming years because of the current groundwork being laid there.
The discussion concluded with an update on Willets Point development from Councilman Moya, who was pleased with the progress at the site. Currently six acres of land have been earmarked for the development of affordable housing and senior housing. Moya, an avid fan of soccer, also said he is still optimistic that a soccer stadium would be built at the site. Bliss added that he is hopeful that in 10 years, Willets Point will be fully remediated and that buildings will be starting to go up at the location.
The event was sponsored by Scope Realty, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Bird Scooters and SPACES. Borough President Melinda Katz delivered the keynote address before the panel discussion.
According to Zach Tatge—the chief operating officer and co-founder of Scope Realty, a New York City-based full-service boutique brokerage firm—approximately 87 percent of real estate agents fail professionally in their first four years.
Scope Realty was founded in August 2017 by Tatge, and today has 74 agents operating out of its Midtown Manhattan and Sunnyside offices.
“Sunnyside, Queens, is an amazing neighborhood,” said Tatge. “It’s close to everything. If you need to get to any of the boroughs, you can easily. It’s centrally located for those people who are going to be working in the outer boroughs.”
Tatge said that he wanted to start a real estate business since noticing that agents going into real estate companies are not given leads and lack proper training.
“When given the necessary information, tools and training, agents can move along and make money,” said Tatge.
With its mission statement being “to deliver exceptional integrated real estate services for all aspects of the real estate market,” Tatge said that Scope provides ongoing training throughout an agent’s entire career with the company.
“In addition to training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am one phone call away,” said Tatge. “How many businesses allow you to get in contact with the COO directly and you actually get through?”
Tatge said that agents are constantly calling him whenever they run into any problems or have general questions. Aside from the training that Scope Realty provides to its agents, Tatge said the company also does much of the legwork with which other companies overwhelm their agents.
Rather than making agents responsible for all of the prospecting, Scope provides all of the information and resources that agents need, allowing them to focus on making phone calls and sealing deals. It’s through this method that agents can focus on their leads and preserving the money in their pockets.
“We eliminate all the work,” said Tatge. “All the agent has to do is show up and have full communication with their buyers. It’s our system that is our competitive advantage.”
Tatge used the example of a nurse who works a three-day week, who might contact an agent on her day off but is unavailable on other days. Since agents are only responsible for their own customers, whenever that nurse is free, the agent will be able to take the call immediately and have a number of units to show her.
“It’s our system that we have in place that is our competitive advantage because we’ve taken away all the work,” said Tatge.
“We believe in knowledge, we believe in information—not only to absorb it, but to apply it. So, we’re willing to invest in our agents.”
Tatge said that the most frequent mistakes he notices by agents revolve around prospecting inconsistency, time management, organization and improper mindset.
“I always tell my agents to ‘find your why,’” said Tatge. “I know that’s a difficult question, but it’s important to know why you’re doing real estate. What is your purpose and what are you working towards? If you don’t have something so powerful that makes you willing to sacrifice everything you have going on, I’m not sure you’re going to have the ability to reach the true success you want in your life.
Tatge said that his motivation is family. Quite simply, he knows that if he doesn’t fulfill his tasks, he will not be able to provide.
You can reach Zach Tatge at 914-471-2977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.