"This was the biggest unforced error in the city since they let the Dodgers leave Brooklyn," said Jason Haber, an agent at Warburg Realty Partnership. "That's how big this is. Like you need to go back over 50 years in history to find a corollary to this mistake."
"The reason[s] that Amazon wanted to come there, those fundamentals are still in place," Haber said.
That was the message from nine local real estate agents and three local buyers interviewed for this article. They all said Long Island City will be just fine without Amazon, even as politicians hurl blame at one another for the deal's fallout and decry the loss of 25,000 jobs the company promised to bring with it.
The relative calm in the real estate community is partly because agents say they remained cautious about the deal from the start, having read the fine print that said Amazon still had time to conduct due diligence before breaking ground.
"Once you read that, you have to advise your clients that this is certainly not a done deal," said Patrick W. Smith, a local real estate agent with The Corcoran Group who has been tracking Long Island City real estate for years.
But that caveat did not dissuade buyers from pouncing on properties that seemed like they could get scooped up any second. In the weeks when Amazon was still publicly planning its move, 147 contracts were reported to be signed, according to public reports compiled by Smith while he was an agent at Stribling & Associates. That compares to 54 during those same weeks the year prior.
Even Amazon employees reportedly got caught up in the housing craze, with two buying homes in a developing luxury building even before the public announcement was made, according to The Wall Street Journal.
After the deal fell through on Valentine's Day this year, when Amazon determined it no longer wanted to put up with community opposition, agents and buyers interviewed said interest is still hot in the area. According to Smith's data, the total dollars spent in the local condo market increased 8 percent between 2016 and 2017, and 12 percent between 2017 and 2018.
Now, the experts say, prices will continue to go up, but it just might take a bit longer to reach the heights to which Amazon would have accelerated.