PDA

View Full Version : Downtown Flushing Development



Pages : [1] 2

billyblancoNYC
August 8th, 2003, 09:11 PM
Builders are waiting

2 firms say city plans needed for Flushing

By DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Two Flushing developers told a round-table discussion of community leaders, developers and government officials that they were ready to move ahead on developing large portions of downtown Flushing.
All that appeared to be needed was for the city to release and then work on a comprehensive land-use development plan for the area west of Main St., including the Willets Point area adjoining Shea Stadium.

The Muss Organization has held a 14-acre site at the southwest corner of College Point Blvd. and Roosevelt Ave. for more than 20 years, said Jim Jarosik of Muss.

"With all the exciting things happening in the market, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel," said the Muss representative this week.

Muss, he said, was making "advanced plans" for a mixed-use development that will have retail and residential components.

The developer already has been in discussions with retailers.

"We expect to be hopefully making some very specific announcements in the near future about what our plans for the site," he said.

Eddie Wang, president of TDC Development Corp., owns the Flushing Mall on 39th Ave. between Prince St. and College Point Blvd.

The corporation also controls the area west of College Point Blvd. at the Flushing Mall site and some land on surrounding blocks.

Hotel and retail center

The TDC group has talked of plans to build an exposition center, an entertainment center, a six-story retail and office building and a hotel complex.

But first, Wang said, the government has to come forward with a plan for the whole area.

A consultant plan should be ready "in the near future," said Jeffrey Oakman, of the city's Economic Development Corp., which is leading the city effort for a master plan.

"My fear in observing what is going on in Flushing today is that by the time the studies come out, by the time that government agencies act, there will be no more land to develop," said Michael Nussbaum, president of the Queens Jewish Congress.

"The private sector is buying everything that is available, plus some. There are no negotiations. Just show up, and you write the check and you buy it."

billyblancoNYC
November 19th, 2003, 10:11 AM
Comprehensive plan for downtown Flushing:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/pub/flusing.html


http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/story/137989p-122664c.html

City plans big-time
makeover for Flushing



By DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

An ambitious plan for the development of downtown Flushing was rolled out yesterday at Flushing Town Hall.
"This is a great milestone that we are reaching," said Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff in introducing the plan. "We are going to work just as hard, if not harder, with you as we move forward to realize the dreams that we all have."

The plan focuses on three areas, Doctoroff told the 100 or so community and business leaders gathered at Town Hall: Downtown Flushing, the Flushing River waterfront, and "that age-old question: What do we do with Willets Point?"

The three-pronged approach grew out of months of fine-tuning of proposals first brought up at a two-day workshop nearly a year ago at the Town Hall.

Proposals range from making Main St. one-way, to adding a station entrance at Prince St. at the Main St. subway terminal, to improving the appearance of the Main St. Long Island Rail Road station.

The city will issue a request for proposals early next year for a mixed-use development for the 5.5-acre municipal parking lot on Union St. between 37th and 39th Aves., said Ben Wauford, a consultant with Cooper Carry, who has led a team developing proposals.

The revitalization of the Flushing River would encourage growth of downtown to the waterfront and provide the community open space and recreational opportunities, said Asima Shah, a senior planner with the city's Economic Development Corp.

The riverside revitalization, said Shah, would provide "an infusion of open space and waterfront development that attracts visitors to Flushing and serves as a connection to activity on Willets Point."

Any plans for Willets Point would require the relocation of approximately 83 businesses on the 55-acre site.

The city identified 85% of the businesses there as auto-repair related.

Relocating those businesses would cost at least $130 million, according to the study.

In place of the auto junkyards now there, the plan envisions large-scale development to provide significant economic benefits and transform Flushing into a true regional destination.

To move the Willets Point component forward, a call for ideas from developers and other interested parties will be issued by the city early next year.

Originally published on November 19, 2003

billyblancoNYC
June 16th, 2004, 10:36 AM
City Plans $265M Revitalization for Flushing
http://www.globest.com/news/53_53/newyork/123551-1.html
By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: June 16, 2004 04:03pm

FLUSHING, NY-A preliminary framework for revitalizing the Downtown community here calls for improved transportation facilities and a connection to the waterfront. In total, to realize the public/private plan, which encompasses the Downtown area, the Flushing River waterfront and Willets Point peninsula, could cost upwards of $265 million, excluding land amounts.


According to the New York City Economic Development Corp., the ultimate goal of the plan is to create an expanded Flushing core, with the river linking Downtown to Willets Point and creating a cohesive whole. “Building on the recommendations of the preliminary framework, we now have a viable plan to make Flushing a dynamic and diverse mixed-use community with inviting public spaces and strong connections to the waterfront,” says EDC president Andrew Alper. He adds that the planning process for this framework took more than a year and that already several efforts to implement the plan’s recommendations have begun. Others are expected to begin soon. Alper also says that community outreach efforts at Willets Point are progressing. The EDC will soon draft a Request for Expressions of Interest to solicit a range of ideas that represent “sound investments and economic benefits to the surrounding communities.”


Another aspect of the plan encompasses ways to make the area more pedestrian friendly as well as various streetscape enhancements for both the public benefit and to attract retail to the area. Some improvements will begin this summer to create a distinctive image for the Downtown streetscape and lay the foundation for future enhancements to the pedestrian environment.


Other changes to the traffic network will be required as well, the survey found. They will be necessary to "improve mobility, decrease congestion, and minimize conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians." Recommendations include converting portions of Main, Prince and Union streets to one-way, widening sidewalks on Main Street, and creating a right-hand turn from Northern Boulevard onto Prince Street. A follow-up traffic analysis is in the works.

The plan calls for redevelopment of Municipal Lot 1, an approximately five-acre site that is the largest city-owned property in Downtown. The plan feels it has potential as a mixed-use development,town square as well as a short-term parking locale. A developer could be selected in the fall.


The $265-million expected total cost of the project excludes land, but includes parking, infrastructure and open space costs. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said improving and investing in the five boroughs is a critical component of his strategy. Those collaborating on the framework included various city and state agency representative, community leaders, while the planning firm of Cooper Carry Inc. and Economics Research Associates led the consultant team. Other members of the team included Jeanne Giordano Inc., Thomas Balsley Associates, Eng Wong Taub, and Geto & de Milly.

billyblancoNYC
June 16th, 2004, 10:38 AM
NYC Economic Development Corporation Announces Final Development Plan for Downtown Flushing ( 6/14/2004 )
http://newyorkbiz.com/About_Us/getPressReleasePreview_detailxx.cfm?id=255

Development Framework Will Reconnect and Renew Downtown, Revitalize the Waterfront and Redevelop Willets Point

New York City, June14, 2004 -- Andrew M. Alper, New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President, today announced the final development plan for Downtown Flushing. The Downtown Flushing Development Framework, which was previewed last fall, outlines a land use planning strategy for growth and sustainability for Downtown Flushing, the Flushing River waterfront and the Willets Point peninsula. Redeveloping Downtown Flushing is a critical component of Mayor Bloomberg’s strategy for creating and investing in regional economic centers in all five boroughs.

“This final plan is the result of more than a year of remarkable collaboration with City and State agencies, a highly qualified team of consultants and task force members, including Flushing business and community leaders and local elected officials,” said EDC President Alper. “Building on the recommendations of the preliminary Framework, we now have a viable plan to make Flushing a dynamic and diverse mixed-use community with inviting public spaces and strong connections to the waterfront.”

The Downtown Flushing Development Framework builds on Flushing’s and cultural diversity in articulating a vision for a vibrant urban center with a high quality of life. It also focuses on helping connect the downtown area with important neighboring amenities such as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Shea Stadium and the Queens Botanical Garden. Several efforts to implement the Plan’s recommendations have begun or are soon to begin.

The Plan recognizes that a comfortable and engaging pedestrian experience is fundamental to the success of development of Downtown Flushing. It recommends comprehensive improvements to the public realm and a coordinated marketing program to enhance the area as a retail destination. The Downtown Flushing Pedestrian Project has received final approvals from City and State Departments of Transportation, and significant streetscape enhancements will begin this summer and take about a year to complete. The project will create a distinctive image for the Downtown Flushing streetscape and lay the foundation for future enhancements to the pedestrian environment. The newly formed Downtown Flushing BID has agreed to maintain the project once it is completed.

The Development Framework also found that significant changes to the traffic network of Downtown and the Flushing River waterfront will be necessary to improve mobility, decrease congestion, and minimize conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians. Major recommendations of the Framework include converting portions of Main, Prince and Union Streets to one-way, widening sidewalks on Main Street, and creating a right-hand turn from Northern Boulevard onto Prince Street. A more detailed traffic analysis will be necessary to better understand the opportunities and impacts of these transportation proposals and move them toward implementation. EDC, with important financial support from Councilman John Liu, has commissioned a follow-up study by Eng-Wong Taub & Associates, the transportation and engineering consultant for the Framework team.

Councilman John Liu said, “Downtown Flushing is a bustling transportation hub. However, the traffic congestion has a chocking effect on our ability to grow. A comprehensive traffic study will allow us to implement the changes needed to relieve the debilitating congestion we are currently experiencing. I am pleased to partner with EDC and DOT on this critically needed initiative.”

The goal of the additional study is to strengthen the Framework’s recommendations for improving mobility and reducing vehicular conflicts in Downtown Flushing. It will be conducted in close coordination with EDC and the transportation agencies to ensure that the results will be useful and practicable.

As highlighted in November, the Framework calls for redevelopment of Municipal Lot 1, an approximately five-acre site in the heart of Downtown Flushing. As the largest City-owned property in Downtown, the Lot presents an excellent opportunity to achieve important public objectives, such as quality mixed-use development, a town square and the retention of competitively priced short-term parking. A Request for Proposals was issued in February and 14 responses were received from local, regional and national developers. EDC, with input from community representatives, hopes to select a developer this fall.

The Flushing Riverfront is the strongest unifying element between Downtown and the Willets Point peninsula. The Framework envisions a vibrant, clean, active waterfront that would become a new destination and tie the three areas together. It calls for a sustained redevelopment effort between the public and private sectors to improve the environmental quality of the river and wetlands and the creation of an esplanade along the river’s eastern shore, as well as a new community open space system around the river.

Achieving the goals set forth for Downtown Flushing and the Riverfront requires addressing the opportunities and challenges of redevelopment on Willets Point. The ultimate goal of the Plan is to create an expanded Flushing core, with the River linking the downtown area to Willets Point and creating a cohesive whole. Outreach to elected officials and local businesses on Willets Point is progressing, and EDC will soon draft a Request for Expressions of Interest that will solicit a range of ideas that represent sound investments and economic benefits to the surrounding communities.

The Downtown Flushing Development Framework was prepared by the City’s consultant team in close cooperation with EDC, DCP, other City and State agencies and a working group consisting of local community leaders. The planning firm of Cooper Carry Inc. and Economics Research Associates led the consultant team. Other members of the team included Jeanne Giordano, Inc., Thomas Balsley Associates, Eng Wong Taub, and Geto & de Milly.

The complete Downtown Flushing Development Framework can be downloaded from our website at www.downtownflushing.com.

About EDC
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. EDC’s mission is to stimulate job growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. EDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.

billyblancoNYC
December 2nd, 2004, 01:11 PM
Clean-up plan funded for Flushing Creek
By Cynthia Koons
12/02/2004
Email to a friend Voice your opinion Printer-friendly


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is steadily moving forward with the cleanup of Flushing Creek and expects to have plans ready for public review this coming summer.


U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) announced last week that he earmarked $538,000 in federal money this year for the ongoing study and dredging of Flushing's waterways, which his district covers.


More than $150,000 of that will go toward a study of the stretch of creek between downtown Flushing and Willets Point, where the city plans to add a recreational promenade on the waterfront in the coming years.

Earlier this month, the city Economic Development Corp. issued a request for ideas to developers interested in building on the industrial wasteland between Shea Stadium and downtown Flushing, known as Willets Point.

The Willets Point region, now largely dominated by auto repair shops, ideally will be reconstructed to fit into a larger plan to gentrify downtown Flushing's western edge by utilizing the polluted waterway for recreation purposes.

Army Corps of Engineers manager Anthony Ciorra said the money Crowley allocated will fund both the Flushing River study and the bay cleanup. "We're still in the study phase, we're developing alternative plans for environmental restoration," Ciorra said. "The study started back in late 1999. There was an agreement signed with the Corps of Engineers, Port Authority with the New York City DEP."

The agreement forged five years ago required the agencies to conduct a study of how to remediate environmental damage that Flushing's industry had inflicted on the creek and bay.

From that study, which the corps is currently conducting, the eventual plan is to develop a method of cleaning the creek and making it sustainable for marine life.

"Our primary mission is habitat improvement and sustainable improvement," Ciorra said. "A lot of times in association with that improved habitat you'll have improved water quality."

The city currently is in the process of significantly decreasing the discharge from a combined sewage overflow, or CSO, tank that drains excess rainwater and sewage into Flushing Creek.

The Army Corps of Engineers is focusing its remediation plan on that same part of the creek where the CSO is being shut down, between the Long Island Rail Road and subway bridges.

"Most of the focus over the last 3 1/2 years has been on the bay," he said of efforts to dredge Flushing Bay off the coast of College Point. "But it was determined that we don't have a sustainable project in the bay due to the fact that there's still some CSOs that discharge into the bay. We've refocused our efforts on the creek at this point."

Crowley said in a statement that all federal monies will go toward a cleaner, more sustainable waterway in northeast Queens. The waterway was designated as a federal channel by the U.S. Congress, Ciorra said.

"This investment will not only improve the water quality but also allow for greater commerce through the federal channel as well as build upon the economic investment made by the city to surrounding communities," Crowley said. "A cleaner Flushing Bay and Creek will lead to the future economic development and jobs, and a better quality of life in our waterfront communities."

Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.
http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13478603&BRD=2676&PAG=461&dept_id= 542515&rfi=6

billyblancoNYC
December 2nd, 2004, 01:12 PM
http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=2551&highlight=downtown+flushing

TonyO
January 15th, 2005, 11:30 AM
The Next American City
Issue 6 - Technology & Cities - October 2004

PLANNING: Another Downtown for New York? The Flushing Dream

by Alexander Dworkowitz

Not many people choose to stroll down College Point Boulevard in downtown Flushing, Queens. The industrial streetscape ranges from graffiti-covered buildings where immigrant workers stitch clothing to an asphalt plant. The Western Beef food market is a favorite of the homeless, and some even sleep atop its recycling machines. There are scattered homes, including public housing, but most residents choose to walk immediately east to Main Street, a much livelier and friendlier strip. In short, College Point Boulevard looks like a street that has been ignored for a long, long time.

But all of the sudden, College Point Boulevard is hot property. In recent years, large developers have bought up land on the western side of the street. They plan to transform their plots, now home to warehouses, parking lots, and factories, into condominiums, large retail stores, and parks.

The developers are not alone in their thinking. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to build up College Point Boulevard and other parts of downtown Flushing; development in Queens and New York City’s other outer boroughs is one of his administration’s priorities. John Liu, the local City Councilman who has sought out the mayor’s interest, says he wants to make Flushing “a destination of choice.” Other local leaders have called for a renaissance of the area.

Why is the government of New York City so interested in an area eight miles east of midtown Manhattan? Although remote from the city center, downtown Flushing is well connected to public transportation and has strong commercial prospects of its own. The area is already the busiest section of northeast Queens, a region of more than half a million people. The subway, the Long Island Rail Road, bus lines, and two highways run through it. Just blocks away is the third largest park in the city, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which is home to the New York Mets and the U.S. Open. And the neighborhood also has a waterfront, the narrow Flushing River that runs behind College Point Boulevard.

“Downtown Flushing is a transit hub, and it’s an intermodal hub,” says Ben Wauford, principal in charge of the New York office of Cooper Carry, a consulting firm hired by the city to study Flushing. “It has an untapped resource in the waterfront. It has adjacent recreational amenities that are unparalleled. It’s close to LaGuardia Airport. And quite frankly, it’s highly successful right now.”

Despite the excited talk, the city will have to overcome difficult hurdles in order to continue to develop downtown Flushing. The Flushing River is polluted. A high water table prevents construction deep underground. The Van Wyck Expressway runs between downtown Flushing and the park. And some developers and politicians claim that luring more businesses to Flushing depends on the even thornier redevelopment of Willets Point, an industrial neighborhood to the west. Changing Flushing will be expensive. It remains to be seen whether the city and state, for all of their lofty aspirations, will cough up the millions needed to redevelop an area of New York City that most tourists have never even heard of.

From 1950s Main Street to Booming Multiethnic Village

In the 1950s, Flushing’s Main Street was dominated by department stores, shoe repair shops, and small businesses serving a working-class, white-ethnic population. Nowadays, typical American franchises, such as McDonald’s and Old Navy, greet Flushing pedestrians, but so do signs in Chinese, Korean, and Urdu. As America’s latest wave of mass immigration continues, America’s large cities will likely have more and more neighborhoods like downtown Flushing. Redevelopment of Flushing may serve as a blueprint for changing similar neighborhoods far from conventional downtowns into a new type of urban center.

Flushing was organized as a Dutch township in 1645, but it only began to take on an urban character in the early 20th century when trains connected it and other early suburbs to midtown Manhattan. As those trains were supplanted by commuter rail reaching further out and later highways, many of the neighborhood’s old residents left the neighborhood for less congested areas of Queens and Long Island. The neighborhood’s close proximity to New York’s two major airports enticed waves of immigrants to settle in the area over recent decades.

Some saw the immigrants as a symbol of decline in Flushing. But in the 1980s and ‘90s, developers and neighborhood leaders began to take a serious look at entering the local market. In 1991, the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel was built in the heart of downtown Flushing. Its developer, Heo-Peh Lee, saw the Sheraton’s construction as a gamble: could a luxury hotel survive in an immigrant neighborhood? The hotel, however, turned out to be a huge success, catering to foreign visitors, airport travelers, and business conferences.

Since then, the neighborhood has boomed. In 1998, the city opened the $22 million Flushing Library, a three-story glass structure more than three times the size of its predecessor. The busy library has been praised as one of the most innovative in New York City. The city also redesigned the Main Street subway station. Other hotels have followed in the Sheraton’s wake. Perhaps most importantly, the city decided in 1998 to rezone downtown Flushing west of Main Street. The rezoning allows for large-scale projects, stirring further interest in development on the Flushing River. One company, TDC International Development & Construction Corp., has finished three large projects in western Flushing since the rezoning: Sanford Tower, an apartment building, the Prince Center, an office building, and the Flushing Mall.

Remembering the Outer Boroughs

In recent years, high land values and lack of space have complicated Manhattan development, leading developers to look for new opportunities in the outer boroughs. While most of the major shopping and retail is located in Manhattan and the suburbs, a substantial percentage of the people living in the metropolitan area actually reside in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx and often prefer to work and shop in their own neighborhoods.

In September 2003, the Center for an Urban Future, a nonpartisan think tank, released “Engine Failure,” a report calling for investment in outer borough neighborhoods as part of a plan to strengthen the city’s economy.

“We use so little of our geography for economic development,” Jonathan Bowles, research director at the Center, says. “I am not trying to make an equity or a fairness argument. I am saying the other boroughs represent an opportunity for economic growth for holding onto businesses, for spurring entrepreneurship.”

The city has already started to invest in developing urban centers outside of Manhattan. Over the last decade, the city has pumped millions into downtown Brooklyn and Jamaica, a Queens neighborhood located several miles southeast of downtown Flushing. Downtown Flushing may be next. At the end of 2002, the city Economic Development Corporation (EDC) hired Cooper Carry to study downtown Flushing and Willets Point, located on the opposite side of the Flushing River.

In October, Cooper Carry and other teams of consultants unveiled their recommendations for the area. The planners proposed turning the 1,143-space municipal parking lot at the center of downtown Flushing into several twelve- to sixteen-story buildings comprising housing, offices, and “cultural space” surrounding a public square.

“There’s a huge pent-up demand for residential development and even commercial development in downtown Flushing,” Wauford says.

Downtown Flushing already suffers from a lack of parking, so the consultants suggested the city build a 2,000-space parking lot underneath the complex to replace the lost spaces and serve new development. But with a high water table underneath, the spots would be expensive–$30,000 apiece.

Where East Meets West

Downtown Flushing has been studied before, with similar recommendations. But unlike in previous studies, the city included Willets Point. Known as the Iron Triangle, Willets Point is the closest thing New York City has to the Wild West. It was built atop the Corona ash heaps, made famous by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby. Shea Stadium was constructed on part of the land, and the remainder of Willets Point was given over to scrap yards, auto repair shops, and factories. Most of the triangle has no storm sewer system, and some potholes seem large enough to swallow a small car. Authorities keep a constant eye on Willets Point. In 2001, Carmine Agnello, the estranged son-in-law of the late mafia boss John Gotti, pleaded guilty to extortion, racketeering, and arson in connection with his Willets Point business, New York Scrap Inc.

Many see Willets Point as key to Flushing’s development. The developers who invested in land between College Point Boulevard and the eastern side of the Flushing River want to offer potential residents a view of something other than scrap yards across the river. Furthermore, Willets Point sits directly between downtown Flushing and Shea Stadium and the USTA National Tennis Center, the home of the U.S. Open. If this area were more attractive, local leaders reason, sports fans might venture through into downtown Flushing, bringing business to the neighborhood.

Patrick Phillips of Economics Research Associates, one of the consultants hired by Cooper Carry, noted that it would cost $214.5 million to buy up the land, clean it of pollutants, and install sewers and roads. In order to make good on such an investment, the land would have to generate roughly $11 million a year for the city, Phillips says. A theme park or a convention center could generate sufficient profit.

Local politicians–perhaps spurred by campaign contributions from these developers–generally echo their support for developing Willets Point, as do many community leaders. Julia Harrison, who represented Flushing in the City Council before John Liu replaced her in 2002, is one of the few who have spoken out against developing Willets Point. There are legitimate businesses in the Iron Triangle, Harrison points out.

“The people working there may not be computer experts, but they should have a chance to work,” Harrison says. “Every place you go, manual workers are being displaced across Queens. That’s not exactly a good economic process. Not everyone is a computer whiz.”

While the EDC is looking into developing Willets Point, another city agency, the Department of Sanitation, has a vested interest in the status quo. For lack of a cohesive sanitation plan to compensate for the closing of the massive Staten Island Fresh Kills landfill in 2001, the city allowed a waste transfer station to open in Willets Point. Over the last three years, the plant has increased the amount of waste it processes. The city will be unable to develop Willets Point fully until it resolves its sanitation woes, and no one is betting on that happening anytime soon.

An Engagement Ring from the City

In the meantime, some developments have stalled. The Muss Development Company, which owns the largest piece of property on the east side of the Flushing River, had planned to open Flushing Town Center, a 750,000-square-foot retail center with 1,200 residential units, in 2003. But problems cleaning up pollution on the site have slowed the plan.

TDC, which also owns property on the Flushing River, has not yet begun to develop the waterfront. Wellington Chen, senior vice president at TDC, says his company wants an “engagement ring” from the city–an assurance that the government has a long-term interest in Flushing.

“Every once in a while we get a study in this area, and then we get sidetracked. We need ongoing attention,” he says. “Cooper Carry’s Flushing Task Force under [New York City Deputy Mayor] Dan Doctoroff is a great start. It’s at least focusing the magnifying glass on this area. But the dialogue needs to be maintained.”

Despite ambitious plans, Flushing still faces challenges. It is a quick train ride to midtown Manhattan from Flushing, but traveling from Flushing to downtown Jamaica, the center of Queens, is a lot more difficult. While property values are high, major retailers still avoid Flushing’s Main Street. One of the neighborhood’s largest retail properties has sat empty for five years. The Flushing Library may be packed, but downtown Flushing does not have one English-language bookstore. And the parking dilemma looms large over the entire area.

“If you drive through downtown Flushing, it’s hard to figure out right now,” Wauford says. “For a retailer to look at downtown Flushing, it’s a difficult sell.”

In the end, the toughest sell may not be to retailers or developers, but to the city, state, and federal governments. Successful development in outlying urban areas such as Flushing may connect them more closely with the city centers and so increase business throughout the metropolitan region. But because such investment could potentially have the opposite effect, strengthening one borough at the expense of another, it’s a gamble that city officials might not be willing to take. As always, public monies are tight, especially when funds are being invested to reinvigorate lower Manhattan. And while nobody likes to admit it, neighborhoods do compete against each other for funds. Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City are just a stone’s throw from Manhattan’s busiest neighborhoods. Jamaica is not close to Manhattan, but trains link the area to the wealthier neighborhoods of Nassau and Suffolk Counties, making it a great place to work for Long Island commuters. In contrast, most of those who work in Flushing live in Queens, not Manhattan or Long Island.

Some worry that investing in places like Flushing will hurt lower Manhattan at a time when the business center needs a boost, while others argue that the development will benefit the city as a whole. Regardless of who is right, when matters come to a vote, most politicians will likely see the question as whether the interests of the people of Queens, a borough dominated by the working class and immigrants, suffice to merit investment from the city as a whole.

Bloomberg has said he wants to invest in Flushing. But until the government actually puts the shovel to the ground, some developers remain skeptical.

“It’s very, very difficult to go forward,” Chen says. “If the sky is filled with dust from the cement mixing plant, and the sidewalks are still full of cracks, we are not going to be able to go forward with good conscience.”

billyblancoNYC
January 16th, 2005, 02:34 AM
I think it will happen. There is too much need and demand here. Once the city steps up and does what it has to do, the rest will follow, like a landslide. I don't agree with the last few paragraphs about not wanting to invest in one place at the expense of the other. It benefits the city and this administration seems to acknowledge that, be it the Far West Side, Loew Manhattan, DT Brooklyn, the Hub/Yankee Stadium area, Staten Island waterfront, or Jamaica/Flushing/LIC Queens. They seem to have a sound plan of attack and most plans seem to be moving along in some way.

I guess time will tell, but I really think this will happen.

Kolbster
January 21st, 2005, 11:24 AM
I hope your right, did you see pictures of the "Iron Triangle". That is a really blighted area improvement is long overdue. Ha, my friend actually lives right near there

NoyokA
February 10th, 2005, 04:33 PM
$600 million plan for Flushing, here's the skinny:

Developer Plans $600M Queens Project
BY Staff Reporter of the Sun
Muss Development is unveiling its plan to build a $600 million mixed-use development on a 14-acre brownfield site in Flushing, it announced yesterday. The project will create 725,000 square feet of retail space, six condominium and rental buildings...

If anyone subscribes to the Sun please post the article and enlighten us all.

http://www.nysun.com/section/22

billyblancoNYC
February 10th, 2005, 05:26 PM
Um, just put in some fake info and it let's you in.

Developer Plans $600M Queens Project

BY Staff Reporter of the Sun
February 10, 2005

Muss Development is unveiling its plan to build a $600 million mixed-use development on a 14-acre brownfield site in Flushing, it announced yesterday. The project will create 725,000 square feet of retail space, six condominium and rental buildings with 1,000 residential units, and a 55-footwide waterfront esplanade along the Flushing River.

"There will be some affordable housing in the units, but we are still discussing with the Housing Development Corporation which program we are going to participate in and what the breakdown will be," a senior vice president of the company, Jim Jarosik, told The New York Sun.

The complex, located at the corner of College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue along an abandoned industrial strip, will create more than 2,000 permanent jobs and 5,000 construction jobs, according to a report commissioned by Muss. The firm also estimates the city and state will generate about $28.5 million in annual tax revenue from the project.

The development is planned for a site near the No. 7 subway line, and is within walking distance of Shea Stadium and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Two anchor tenants with multiple locations in New York City have already signed leases at the retail complex, Mr. Jarosik said, adding he was unable to release the names of the ten ants until construction begins later this year. The retail portion of the development is scheduled to open in the fall of 2007, with the first residential apartments to open in 2008.

As an incentive for developers to build on vacant or underutilized land, often former industrial sites that have environmental problems, the city enacted a brownfield program in 2003 to give builders tax credits. The credits are intended to offset the expenses associated with property taxes, site preparations, and property improvements that come with building on a brownfield.

Under the brownfield program, Muss is receiving a number of tax credits. Mr. Jarosik declined to reveal the details of the breaks.

The developers focused on residential and retail development instead of a hotel or office space because "downtown Flushing is a very under-retailed market, and there is an extremely low vacancy rate, so we decided to fill these needs," Mr. Jarosik said.

"The Muss Development project represents one of the largest investment in recent years in Queens County," a Council Member who represents the area, John Liu, said in a statement.

"The substantial project will help anchor smaller local businesses by generating new economic activity and encouraging visitors," said the Queens borough president, Helen Marshall.

© 2005 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC. All rights reserved.

http://www.nysun.com/article/9037

billyblancoNYC
February 11th, 2005, 01:31 AM
Muss Announces $600M Project
http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1108098026.html

This ConEd facility will soon be remvoed and replaced by a $600M development.Tribune Photo by Ira Cohen
By Aaron Rutkoff

By 2008, the Western entry point to Downtown Flushing will be transformed into an enormous residential and commercial complex, bringing 1,000 apartments and 725,000 square feet of retail space to a 14-acre brownfield site on the banks of the Flushing River.

The $600 million project will be located on the site of a dormant Con Edison facility at the intersection of College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. The heavily polluted site was used for fueling operations and transformer maintenance, development officials said, and will undergo a clean-up plan supervised by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation before construction begins.

The Muss Development Corporation, a family-owned firm based in Forest Hills, controls the former ConEd site, which affords sweeping views of Shea Stadium, parts of Flushing Meadows Corona Park and the run down industrial area known as the Iron Triangle. The company has executed other major development projects in Queens, including the renovation and expansion that produced the Flushing Plaza office building.

Word of the major development plan emerged after a breakfast meeting between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the Queens Chamber of Commerce Wednesday, where the mayor was given a ceremonial key to the business community. In statement released by Muss, Bloomberg praised the project as the realization of his economic strategy to create jobs in all five boroughs. “This project helps fulfill that mission by transforming an under-utilized brownfield into a magnificent retail and housing development,” he said.

For Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), the thousands of jobs created by the project stand out as a major benefit to the local community. “We need more jobs in Downtown Flushing,” Liu said. “The bottom line to me is that right now it’s a dirty site and with the implementation of this plan it will become a clean site - clean enough for people to live and work and shop there.”

According to a statement, development officials expect to generate 5,000 temporary construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs. Liu said he was assured that Flushing residents would be given priority for the new jobs.

For the retail dimension of the mixed-use projects, two anchor tenants have already committed to 300,000 square feet of the available space. A spokesperson for Muss declined to name the retailers, citing a company policy to reveal specific information only after construction has started.

Shopping areas on the site are slated to open by fall 2007, Muss officials said, with the first phase of residential apartments opening in spring 2008. The apartments will be located above a three-level retail base, with a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units divided among six residential towers.

The developer will also create 55-foot waterfront esplanade along the Flushing River and parking spaces for 2,650 cars.

There is no firm information on the inclusion of affordable housing units in the development project. David Stearns, a spokesperson for Muss, said, “They are going to be participating in a program to make some affordable.”

But Borough President Helen Marshall, who praised the project, expressed concern that no substantial affordable housing would be included. “My only regret [is that] I know that housing is going to be market rate,” she said. You cannot build affordable housing without subsidies.”

billyblancoNYC
February 11th, 2005, 01:38 AM
delete

Kolbster
February 11th, 2005, 08:20 AM
This is great news

TonyO
February 11th, 2005, 09:55 AM
Globest.com

Plans Call for Flushing Revitalization

By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: February 10, 2005 06:36am

For more retail coverage, click GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.


FLUSHING, NY-It’s full steam ahead for plans to revitalize this Queens neighborhood. Working with the city’s master plan, Muss Development Co.’s affiliate CE Flushing LLC is designing a mixed-use project on a 14-acre brownfields site that is expected to cost approximately $600 million to realize.


Submissions are due in mid-March for plans to revitalize the 48-acre Willets Point area. According to a spokesperson for Muss, the plan will complement and not compete with plans for the Willets Point area. Last summer, the city revealed a preliminary framework for revitalizing the Downtown community that calls for improved transportation facilities and a connection to the waterfront. According to the New York City Economic Development Corp., the ultimate goal of the plan is to create an expanded Flushing core, with the river linking Downtown to Willets Point and creating a cohesive whole. Possible uses for the site, according to the EDC, include an entertainment district, a regional retail center, a hotel and conference facility, amusement and recreation as well as office, industrial, park and residential developments.


The 3.2 million-sf Muss initiative includes a 725,000-sf retail center and approximately 1,000 residences. New York City-based Perkins Eastman is designing the project. Acco Retail tenants already have committed to more than half of the total net space available. According to a Muss spokesperson, two anchor tenants who both already have multiple locations in New York City have committed to 300,000 sf. The retail shopping areas are slated to open in the fall of 2007 and the apartments will follow in the spring of 2008.


According to Amanda Burden, chair of the City Planning Commission, in 1998, the commission first acted to rezone this site and others in the surrounding area for commercial and residential use in collaboration with the Flushing Task Force. Joshua L. Muss, president and CEO of CE Flushing LLC says, “The development of this long-underutilized land will provide a major economic stimulus to the region.” The project is expected to generate 5,000 construction jobs and more than 2,000 permanent jobs, as well as approximately $28.5 million in annual tax revenues to the city and state.


The $265-million expected total cost of the Willets Point project excludes land, but includes parking, infrastructure and open space costs. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said improving and investing in the five boroughs is a critical component of his strategy. Those collaborating on the framework for Flushing included various city and state agency representatives, community leaders, while the planning firm of Cooper Carry Inc. and Economics Research Associates led the consultant team. Other members of the team included Jeanne Giordano Inc., Thomas Balsley Associates, Eng Wong Taub, and Geto & de Milly.

billyblancoNYC
February 11th, 2005, 10:12 AM
http://www.perkinseastman.com/

NewYorkYankee
February 11th, 2005, 11:33 AM
Nice, I like it!

billyblancoNYC
February 11th, 2005, 08:31 PM
This is just the beginning. The Willets Point RFPs are due very soon. That's a 50 plus acre. development on the other side of the river.

Also, the municipal lot is due somewhat soon as well. This will be a 5 acre mixed use development.

Of course, other developers are said to be putting together major parcels, especially on the waterfront, for more major development.

I can't wait.

alex ballard
February 13th, 2005, 07:07 PM
I'm not sure if this has been touched on before, but one marketing idea that really could get things going is taking adavtage of the current economic boom in Asia to lure asian companies to Flushing to establish an American presence. I could easliy see Chinese, Japanese, and Korean banks, financial firms, high-tech and industrial firms coming to Flushing. That would herald a lot of local support (considering Flushing is heavily Asian) and would open NYC's economy to a vast new world.

NewYorkYankee
February 13th, 2005, 11:00 PM
Flushing is considered NY's "Real" Chinatown....correct????

ASchwarz
February 13th, 2005, 11:05 PM
Flushing is considered NY's "Real" Chinatown....correct????

Kind of. Flushing's Chinese community is now bigger than the Manhattan Chinatown. The Brooklyn Chinatown might also be bigger than the original.

NewYorkYankee
February 14th, 2005, 02:02 PM
I didnt know Brooklyn had a Chinatown, where is it?

ASchwarz
February 14th, 2005, 02:27 PM
I didnt know Brooklyn had a Chinatown, where is it?

Sunset Park is the main Brooklyn Chinatown. The main street is Eighth Avenue from about 40th to 60th streets. There are also smaller Chinese communities in Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay.

billyblancoNYC
February 17th, 2005, 01:48 AM
Though I can't seem to find it on the web, the latest Queens Courier had an article about the RKO Keith development. Seems to be getting the green light by the CB.

Glass facade, 18 stories with the 3 story theater base preserved. About 200 condos, commerical, 12K sq. ft. senior center, 260 parking spots. The rendering looked pretty cool. Hope to post something more soon.

Next up: Municipal Lot 1 (5 acre mixed-use), Willets Point (55 acre river front redevelopment), a new Shea Stadium, and the rest of the DT Flushing master plan...

billyblancoNYC
February 17th, 2005, 11:13 AM
RKO now A-OK with board

Smaller fixup is planned for landmark Flushing theater

By DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

A year after unanimously turning down a developer's plans for the RKO Keith's Theater site in Flushing, the local community board gave overwhelming approval to a more svelte version.

This time, Community Board 7 voted 32 to 2 approve the 19-story complex of retail, commercial and apartments that will include the restoration of the landmarked grand lobby of the historic former movie theater.

The site's owner, Boymelgreen Developers, is seeking a variance to build a far greater bulk than what is allowed under current zoning.

"The building is going to be slimmer; originally it had a glass curtain wall of 53 feet, now it will be 41 feet," said Board 7 district manager Marilyn Bitterman.

Originally, plans called for the complex to be set back 15 feet from the street; now it will be set back 23 feet, Bitterman said.

"We are going to have a world-class building. This is a very important site. It is at the end of Main St. and, as you come across the Northern Blvd. bridge, it is the first thing you see," the district manager said.

City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing), praised the community board for being "very diligent on working toward a proposal that better fits the wishes of the community."

He predicted that the scaled-down development "will be a centerpiece for downtown Flushing and will include a state-of-the-art senior center that will do right by the seniors in our community."

The 3,000-seat theater on Northern Blvd. opened as a vaudeville venue in 1927, and later became a movie house.

In 1984, the lobby and grand foyer area, with twin staircases, were designated a city landmark and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building was allowed to fall into disrepair by a previous owner, Thomas Huang, who was fined for bulldozing parts of the landmarked grand staircase.

The Keith's Theater project is the latest of several new developments planned for the downtown Flushing area.

Last week, Muss Development Corp. announced a $600 million retail and residential center on a 14-acre site along Roosevelt Ave. and College Point Blvd.

Developer Michael Lee recently announced plans for a 12-story glass and granite retail and office building on the site of the Queens County Savings Bank on Main St., a few blocks south of the theater.

The Sears site on Northern Blvd., a few blocks east, has been sold, and plans call for the building to be demolished to make way for a mixed-use development.

Finally, the city's Economic Development Agency is expected to announce plans for the development on the Flushing Municipal Parking Lot #1 off Union St. between 37th and 39th Aves.

"Flushing will have a very different look pretty soon," Bitterman said.

Kolbster
February 17th, 2005, 01:44 PM
That's good news!!

NewYorkYankee
February 17th, 2005, 02:18 PM
The Flushing area seems to be booming lately. Would anyone care to post any pics of what it looks like now?

Derek2k3
February 18th, 2005, 01:52 AM
How uninspired...

Flushing Town Center Redevelopment

http://63.240.68.115/FirmFiles/28/images/Flushing%2Ejpg

Muss Development Corporation
Nakash Development Corporation

http://www.urbitran.com/services.cfm?categoryName=%28%3C%2DF%28J%28YP%25D4 %20%0A&category2Name=%2C8LZ9MHYG%25E6GADM8%0A&category3Name=%2C8LZ9MHYG%25E6GADM8%0A&category4Name=%29%3BM6%22NX%2CS%29D6V%0A

Showcase: Flushing Town Center Redevelopment (NY)
Urbitran/Rosenbloom is providing design services for this mixed-use development in Flushing, Queens. The large complex includes 1,200 residential units, 750,000 square feet of retail, and a 2,600-car paid parking facility.

In addition to architectural services, Urbitran is also providing traffic engineering, site planning and design, roadway and drainage design, waterfront planning, geotechnical engineering, and permitting services for the project.

Derek2k3
February 18th, 2005, 02:25 AM
There small renderings in both these articles:
http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13981149&BRD=2676&PAG=461&dept_id=542415&rfi=6
http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1108707920.html


RKO Keith's to get a touch of glass
By Cynthia Koons
02/17/2005

http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=13981149&BRD=2676&PAG=461&dept_id=542415&rfi=6

Architect Jay Valgora presents the latest designs, approved Monday, for the dilapidated RKO KeithÕs Theater in downtown Flushing. Photo by Cynthia Koons
An elegant 18-story high rise adorned by a glass curtain will be built atop the rundown RKO Keith's Theater at the end of Main Street in Flushing if Community Board 7's nod Monday night paves the way for the city's approval of the project.

It was one week shy of a year since architect Jay Valgora first stood before CB 7 and asked the board to approve a residential and retail development that was nearly twice the allowable bulk by law. His proposal was unanimously defeated. This time he asked the board to consider a building that was slimmer in design but maintained the architectural character of the movie house by restoring the historic lobby and constructing a translucent curtain at the entrance.

"The exciting part is the exact same building that we saw a year ago is still going to be there," said Chuck Apelian, CB 7 vice chairman. He worked with Brooklyn-based Boymelgreen Developers to present their designs last February, which were essentially the same in look, just bulkier in size.

Advertisement
When they unanimously rejected the plan a year ago, board members contended the parking was insufficient because developers were only creating 266 spaces for 250 condos. On Monday night, Valgora showed board members a plan that included 233 valet spaces for 200 apartments. The board approved it in a 33-to-2 vote.

The proposal now must be approved by the borough board, Borough President Helen Marshall, the Department of City Planning and City Council before being constructed. Planners said once approved, the project could take two years to complete.

"It will be the beacon of Flushing Main Street, just as the RKO Keith's was for so many years," Marshall said Tuesday. "We're all looking forward to that."

At Marshall's urging, revisions to the design did not eliminate plans for a two-story, 12,500-square-foot senior center that includes classrooms and a dining area.

"It's really a world-class design," said Howard Goldman, the developer's attorney. "It has pulled its belt in and gotten a little slimmer. We hope to bring back some of the glory that the RKO Keith's had in Queens."

The RKO Keith's Theater was built in the 1920s and was a destination cinema for 60 years where major silent movie stars performed vaudeville acts and Groucho Marx made his moustache famous, said Joe Sena, a documentarian who is working on a film about the movie house.

The theater closed in the mid-1980s and fell into disrepair in the hands of developer Tommy Huang, who was convicted of a felony charge for ignoring asbestos contamination and spilling hundreds of gallons of fuel oil in the basement of the building. When civic leaders toured the landmark cinema two years ago, they saw the once-grandiose lobby covered in graffiti and blanketed in dust.

But Valgora promised to resurrect the RKO Keith's lobby by restoring the two grand staircases and replacing the centerpiece fountain that vanished from the building.

The entrance will be encased by a frosted, undulating glass curtain that matches the dimensions of the original theater's proscenium.

"It's like a wall of fabric," Valgora said. "Right behind that is the original historic lobby."

The foyer will be open to the public and serve as the entrance for the residents of the 200 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments upstairs. Valgora said the building is set 10 feet further back from the street than originally planned and is slimmer in dimension all around.

The developers said it would cost roughly $65 million to construct the building, markedly less than the $100 million they were planning to spend on last year's designs.

Apelian said it was important that CB 7 voted to maintain the architectural integrity of the building while still requiring the developer to add parking and to slash the number of apartments.

"We fought for that building," Apelian said. "So much so that it would be a sacrilege to give you something else."

A few board members spoke against the project, contending that it did not fit in with the surrounding neighborhood and would not conform with the neighborhood's cost of living. A brief debate even broke out over whether the board should require Boymelgreen to use unionized construction workers because a Sunday New York Times article shed light on the fact that the developer normally did not.

In the end, the board formed a separate committee to make a recommendation about the use of union-organized labor before voting to pass the project.

"In my mind it's been an arduous process," Valgora said. "But it has made it a better building."

Derek2k3
February 18th, 2005, 03:18 AM
Builders are waiting


Eddie Wang, president of TDC Development Corp., owns the Flushing Mall on 39th Ave. between Prince St. and College Point Blvd.

The corporation also controls the area west of College Point Blvd. at the Flushing Mall site and some land on surrounding blocks.

Hotel and retail center

The TDC group has talked of plans to build an exposition center, an entertainment center, a six-story retail and office building and a hotel complex.

But first, Wang said, the government has to come forward with a plan for the whole area.

"



http://www.flushingcommons.com/images/flcommon-ll.jpg

Flushing Commons
TDC Group
http://www.tdccenter.com/htm/po_co.htm

Derek2k3
February 18th, 2005, 03:24 AM
http://www.queenscrossing.com/images/qc-ll.jpg

Queens Crossing
TDC Group
http://www.tdccenter.com/htm/po_co.htm


Location
38-25 Main Street, Flushing, New York

Developer
TDC Development & Construction Corp.

General Contractor
Top 8 Construction Corporation

Interior Designer
Howard Hsu
Paul Teng

Completion Date
2006

Total Project Area
407,000 sq.ft.

No. Of Floors
12 Floors, penthouse and 2 levels below grade.



http://www.flushingcommons.com/images/flcommon-ll.jpg

Flushing Commons
TDC Group
http://www.tdccenter.com/htm/po_co.htm

NewYorkYankee
February 18th, 2005, 03:53 PM
I hope to visit Flushing on my next visit this summer.

BTW BillyBlanco, I cant seem to contact you, I sent an e-mail to you citi habitats address, but it was returned. Perhaps you could PM me?

Derek2k3
March 11th, 2005, 04:28 PM
Daily News

http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/story/288713p-247127c.html

'World class' develop plan

Mixed-use bldg. proposal is applauded at hearing

BY DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

A proposal for a "world-class building" that would be the "gateway to Flushing," got a warm reception at a land use hearing at Queens Borough Hall yesterday.

"At last," said Borough President Helen Marshall as representatives for Boymelgreen Developers began their presentation for the 18-story mixed-use project on the site of the former RKO Keith's Theater.

Plans call for the restoration of the landmarked grand lobby of the theater, on Northern Blvd. at Main St. The project would include a senior center with its own entrance, elevator and stairs.

Last year, Community Board 7 turned down a bulkier version of the project, but it recently approved the new proposal by a vote of 32-2.

"Everyone has always wanted to see a world-class building built as the gateway to Flushing. We feel Boymelgreen Developers has now made this effort for our community and we have arrived at a solution that we believe to be correct and fair," said a resolution from Board 7 read by Boymelgreen attorney Howard Goldman.

A "very special curtain of glass" would enable pedestrians to "see the historic lobby on the interior sitting on stage" at the end of Main St., said architect Jay Valgora of the centerpiece of the project.

The historic theater's "magnificent fantasy courtyard with a false sky above it," has been severely damaged by years of neglect, "but enough is there to do a full and proper restoration," Valgora said.

The restored theater would be accessible to the public and topped with 200 condominium apartments: 21 one-bedroom, 168 two-bedroom and 11 three-bedroom units. In addition, there would be 233 parking spaces.

The proposal will now go before the city Board of Standards and Appeals.

"We are going to need the continued support of the community board and all the elected officials really to get this through the BSA in good form and in a form that Flushing deserves, Goldman said.

The city board, he said, looks to the bare minimum for any variances.

However, said Goldman, "given the history and the importance of this site ... we think something more than bare minimum is necessary, and we would very much appreciate your support for that concept."

According to project manager Scott Milsom, the project, once approved, would take approximately two years to complete.

The selling price for a condominium would be in the "$500- per-foot range," Milsom said.

Originally published on March 11, 2005

Kolbster
March 11th, 2005, 06:10 PM
Great news

Kolbster
March 11th, 2005, 06:12 PM
The Queen's crossing isn't speaking to me...i'm not feeling that design, at all

billyblancoNYC
March 11th, 2005, 08:38 PM
I can't wait to hear about:

1) Municipal Lot 1 (might have some Silvercup Studios action).

2) Willets Point development plan

3) New Shea Stadium plans

4) 26 acre lot in College Point Corporate Park that was to be the wholesale center, but was shot down b/c of traffic concerns.

5) More Flushing River development plans as the area is zoned to mixed-use, like the Muss project.

I'd love to see the Flushing Commons and Queens Crossing projects. DT Flushing would do well with a Barnes and Noble's and a Crate and Barrel, if they ever did come to the area. I can see B and N, but C and B I'm not sure about.

NewYorkYankee
March 11th, 2005, 09:19 PM
Those two buidlings in the top post, are they same buidling? Also, the article posted today is talking about the same once also, correct?

Kolbster
March 13th, 2005, 12:27 AM
Hey guys, read today's post, there is a pretty big article in there talking about the Lond Island city development, talks about Queens west, olympic village and an assortment of other projects...it's a pretty good read (it's a little add-let that is in the middle of the news paper)

billyblancoNYC
March 13th, 2005, 01:23 AM
Those two buidlings in the top post, are they same buidling? Also, the article posted today is talking about the same once also, correct?

No, the article is another building, and the two pics are two different possible developments. There's a number of developments going on in DT Flushing right now, in addition to the many blah-looking apartment buildings (but there are MANY going up right now...single family homes are an endangered species these days).

billyblancoNYC
March 28th, 2005, 01:11 PM
City Narrows Field for Flushing Development
By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: March 27, 2005 08:47am
http://www.globest.com/news/250_250/newyork/132574-1.html

FLUSHING, NY-The New York City Economic Development Corp. has selected three proposals as finalists for development of Municipal Lot 1 in the Downtown area here. The EDC, which issued a Request for Proposals for the five-acre site a little more than a year ago, asked the undisclosed finalists to further refine their proposals. A framework for Flushing calls for improved transportation facilities and a connection to the waterfront. To realize the plan, which encompasses the Downtown area, the Flushing River waterfront and Willets Point peninsula, could cost upwards of $265 million, excluding land amounts.

Each has proposed hundreds of housing units, a business-class hotel that will create hundreds of new jobs and attract spending from outside the local community, and significant space for community uses, including active youth recreation and cultural tenants.

In total, the EDC received 13 proposals from a group of national and international developers and architects. "Redevelopment of this site is a key component of the Development Framework for Downtown Flushing,” says EDC president Andrew Alper. The city has earmarked funds for strategic capital projects identified in the framework, including pedestrian walkways, streetscape and traffic improvements.

To whittle down the candidates, the EDC met with local elected officials and members of Community Board 7 to solicit feedback on elements of all 13 proposals, including design and proposed uses. The three remaining proposals contain a number of common elements, including a one-acre landscaped public open space for community activities and social interaction. Surrounding the open space will be a street-level retail district including uses such as cafes, restaurants, a bookstore and a multi-screen cinema.

The three finalists proposed to replace the approximately 1,100 parking spaces currently on the site, as well as to provide additional spaces to accommodate the new development. Parking rates proposed by the finalists are below-market. The plans also incorporate "green" building techniques. Final revisions are due later this mon

billyblancoNYC
March 29th, 2005, 04:44 PM
3 developers vying for Flushing project
http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/story/294246p-251932c.html

BY DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

The city has chosen three finalists from among potential developers of Municipal Lot 1 in downtown Flushing and the final choice is expected this spring.

The decision will be made after the finalists further refine their proposals for the 1,100-space lot, city Economic Development Corp. President Andrew Alper said.

The 5-acre site is bounded by Union St., 39th Ave., 138th St. and 37th Ave. The request for proposals was first announced in February 2004, and the city received a total of 13 proposals.

The three proposals contain a number of common elements, including a 1-acre landscaped public open space and a street-level retail district.

The retail would include uses such as cafés, restaurants, a bookstore, a multiscreen cinema and other local and national retailers to expand shopping opportunities for Flushing residents.

Although EDC did not release the names of the finalists, those in contention are said to be Vornado Trust Realty, Silvercup Studios and TDC-Rockefeller Group.

Each has proposed hundreds of housing units, a business-class hotel and significant space for community uses, including youth recreation and cultural tenants.

All three also proposed to replace the about 1,100 parking spaces currently on the site, as well as to provide additional spaces to service the new development.

Parking rates proposed by the finalists are below market, and EDC is currently working to determine a mechanism to ensure low-cost parking will continue on Municipal Lot 1.

The city also is working with the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church, located on the Union St. border of the site, to develop affordable housing on a half-acre parcel north of the church.

"From the quality of the proposals we received, it is clear that we will achieve our objective to raise the standard for private investment in downtown Flushing," said Alper.

"This truly exciting project will instantaneously raise standards of quality here in Flushing," said Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing).

"What we will have is a win-win-win-win scenario," said Liu.

The city, he said, wins with additional economic activity and revenues.

"Flushing merchants will win with new complementary business to increase the overall consumer base and more public parking at below-market rates."

The community wins "big-time, with more shopping and dining choices, and youth and families will win hands-down with the creation of a full-service, state-of-the-art youth center," the councilman said.

Derek2k3
May 27th, 2005, 07:56 PM
RKO Plaza
135-29 Northern Boulevard and Main Street
19 stories
WalkerGroup's V Studio
Dev-Boymelgreen Developers
Mixed-Use
Residential Condominium: 250 units
200 Parking Spaces, Retail & Senior Center
Proposed ?-2006


DAILY NEWS
'Gateway' closer to reality
BY DONALD BERTRAND
May 27, 2005

A proposed 18-story mixed-use project that includes a senior center on the site of the former RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing has reached its final hurdle.

The "world-class building" to be built on the theater site at Northern Blvd. and Main St. - which would be the new "Gateway to Flushing" - is now undergoing review by the city's Board of Standards and Appeals.

A special meeting by the board took place last week, with a second scheduled for late July.

"We are now at Standards and Appeals. It is a big step forward - the final step," said Howard Goldman, the attorney for the developers, Boymelgreen.

Plans call for the restoration of the theater's landmarked grand lobby, which will be surrounded by a "curtain of glass" that will give passersby a view inside.

Meanwhile, Borough President Helen Marshall and City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) have renewed their support of the project.

"The proposed building would be appropriate considering the critical location of this site, the historic theater lobby that will be restored and the importance of the site as a gateway landmark in the city's effort to improve downtown Flushing," Marshall said.

"For too long, this end of downtown Flushing has been a blight and embarrassment, with the formerly majestic RKO Keith's run into the ground," said Liu, who attended last week's Standards and Appeals hearing to show his support.

"Finally," he said, "we have a plan that will place a world-class building on this site, establish a spacious, state-of the-art and sorely needed senior center and. most importantly, resurrect a piece of Flushing's psyche and history with the restoration of the RKO landmark."

Originally published on May 27, 2005

Derek2k3
June 7th, 2005, 10:49 AM
Center for an Urban Future
Q&A with Wellington Chen: Is Flushing poised for future growth?
By Jonathan Bowles
January 31, 2005

http://www.nycfuture.org/content/reports/report_view.cfm?repkey=151&search=1

Few neighborhoods in New York have as much energy, and as much potential for growth, as downtown Flushing. With the neighborhood weighing a number of public and private sector development projects now on the drawing board, the Center for an Urban Future took the Number 7 train to Main Street to ask Wellington Chen, a land use planner and former commissioner of the Board of Standards and Appeals, for his thoughts on Flushing’s future.


CUF: How’d you get involved in the urban development of Flushing?

WC: I was in my last year of architecture school and here was a live patient dying. Flushing was sputtering in the mid-70s and there was an open letter requesting assistance from the local Community Board. We did a lot of great things back then. We formed a Local Development Corporation, we did a multi-lingual shopping guide/map, and the Flushing Fantastic Street Fairs, where we closed off Main Street to cars, and a quarter million people came together to celebrate as a community.

CUF: What’s your assessment of Flushing today?

WC: I’m a little dismayed that a quarter century later we are still inching along at the tarmac. I thought that we should have gotten a lot further than we are right now.

CUF: What’s the problem?

WC: In a sense, what a lot of downtowns take for granted, those basic amenities are still missing in this community. It’s something as basic as we don’t have a men’s health club, a movie theater. We don’t have a decent bookstore, despite having the highest circulating branch library in the country. The pizza store is buried someplace here. So what you take for granted – to get a slice of pizza – is a treasure hunt. In a nutshell, we have too narrow a spectrum of choices.

CUF: That seems strange, because you go out on Main Street and it’s so busy.

WC: The problem is that Flushing has a very limited core. There are only a few blocks of streets in the downtown area that are zoned commercial. And, so, within those few blocks, we have to try to achieve what they envisioned half a century ago, which is that this is supposed to be the fourth largest retail district in the city. And, at one time, we were almost there. We had five department stores. But, because of the demise of the department store in general across the globe, we lost those opportunities.

CUF: So you think that Flushing could be more of a destination for people around the city, around the region, than it is now?

WC: Absolutely, I co-founded Destination Flushing, Inc. (a group working to improve the area) But I also have come to respect the market forces and recognize how tall an order that is. It’s not necessarily that you build it and they will come. If you do shopper surveys, you will find that in affluent communities, the less affluent – the poor, the middle class – will go to that neighborhood to browse and shop. But the reverse is not true. An affluent shopper will not come into a neighborhood where they feel is less than up to their standards. That is a reality that we have to contend with, unless we can create a critical mass with a large variety of amenities to invite people to return. It’s going to require tremendous work on behalf of everyone, and I mean everyone.

CUF: Assuming the community is able to improve the neighborhood’s appearance and image, are there opportunities to develop more retail in Flushing?

WC: Northeast Queens is composed mostly of residential neighborhoods. The issue is how can we better service this quarter of million people [in the Flushing area], or 2 million people in the county of Queens. What is lacking in Flushing is what is lacking in Queens. We have very limited choices. Historically, across North America, there are 23 square feet of retail space per capita. In Queens, we only have 4 square feet [per person]. The shopping revenue goes out of the county, out of the city. And Nassau County, in the last 25 years, was built up on our blood. Our shopping revenue goes there, the sales tax revenue goes there. And that money should have been in this community to pay for the teacher salary increases, to build schools, to maintain parks, to fund cultural activities, to build waterfront promenades and senior centers.

CUF: It sounds like you’d like to see significant new commercial development.

WC: It really is not about development for development’s sake, but in light of our current situation, where almost everyone is dissatisfied with the environment. We need to improve and maintain the viability of our core. Do we really want our CBD to be a central business district or a central bedroom district? The job creation formula is that every 300 square feet of office space or every 500 square feet of retail space creates a new job. And retail is ideally suited for this county, in that you don’t need a Ph.D. to operate a retail service job. And our underemployment rates are high. That’s why I’m a little concerned about putting all the eggs in one basket, in a sense that everyone is building housing. And I’m a housing advocate. But you could build a 15-story apartment building, and how many jobs do you create? A one shot deal and we have sacrificed our core; we have sacrificed our commercial base. If I tried to invite you back to downtown and say, “wait you’ve got to look at this apartment building,” you’ll tell me “no thanks.” You’ve got to give me more of a reason for wanting to return to downtown, to shop, to eat, to stroll, etc. A raison d'être!

CUF: Why is Flushing the natural place for all of this commercial activity?

WC: From Flushing going east to Great Neck, there’s not another zoning for C4-2 [a zoning designation that allows for moderate commercial and residential development]. There’s a little strip by the LIE [Long Island Expressway] where the Kmart used to be, and that’s about it. Whereas here, at Shea Stadium, there are about 9,000 parking spots, 98 percent of the time unused. You have 23 bus lines, two major rail lines. Flushing is accessible by land, by sea, by air. It is the geographical heart of Queens!

CUF: But with such a limited core, how does Flushing grow?

WC: In my 25 years of banging my head against this wall, I’ve come to realize that a solution for Flushing lies west of the Flushing River - as the Department of City Planning correctly pointed out decades ago. This river has two banks, but until the other bank is decided, we are in a sort of limbo—we can’t clap with one hand. The western Flushing area is in a harsh industrial zone, it is rather isolated. The majority of people do not live there. The western side has no amenities and no reason for anyone to visit.

Another reason why the western region of Flushing suffered a 30 percent loss in population during the 1990s is because we also have a bleeding gum: the waterfront. One unfortunate geographical limitation of Flushing is that the waterfront drops 30 feet from College Point Boulevard. What you see across the way is not the Manhattan skyline. You see what is directly across the river in Willets Point, which are full of junkyards and piles of construction debris. Will it eventually become a legacy of piles or a pile of legacies is the ultimate question for this city.

CUF: The Bloomberg administration is now looking to redevelop this waterfront. What do you think?

WC: The Bloomberg administration deserves tremendous credit for tackling a hot potato that no one in the past half of a century wants to handle. Robert Moses had a grand plan for this area before he passed away, and right after the World’s Fair of 1964, that area was designated as parks. But it was rescinded. And so, from then onwards, every attempt in the last 40 years to clean up that area has been met with no success, whether it’s Mario Cuomo, after he became governor, or [Mets owner] Fred Wilpon wanting to rebuild the area. It requires a tremendous effort, because the area has no sewer. The area also lacks infrastructure. Ultimately, it is a matter of wills. If there is a will, there is a way.

CUF: Is it just a matter of cleaning up the waterfront?

WC: No, the critical issues have always been about walkability and connectivity. A number of studies and workshops have concluded that there is a need for a pedestrian bridge, or multiple bridges over the Flushing River. And that requires leadership. That requires coordination of both banks of the river. It requires an overall plan with timetable for implementation. It is not just any bridge, the consensus was for an iconic bridge, a modern sculptural Ponte Vecchio, to connect and to complete the waterfront loops from Flushing River to the World’s Fair Marina.

CUF: It sounds like you see the connection to Willets Point as a vital component in Flushing’s growth?

WC: People think that Flushing is the heart of this area. In reality, many have recognized that the Shea Stadium area is the heart. Willets Point is the heart. And Flushing is the eastern lung and Corona and Eastern Elmhurst and Jackson Heights are the western lung.

CUF: What else needs to happen for Flushing?

WC: We need to go beyond studies. Every time this community wants to do something, we say: let’s do another study. There’s been studies galore dating back to 1946, and not a single master plan has ever been implemented, dating back to 1946. The implementation is the difficult part. A downtown is a life organism, and you’ve got to respond to changes and you’ve got to adapt. And so you constantly need someone at the helm, to steer with the wind or against the wind, or whatever the town decides to do. And, so, that is a quintessential requirement [for Flushing] to go forward. In general, the successful downtowns tend to have an organization, an entity, what I call a mother figure.

CUF: Downtown Flushing has a new Business Improvement District (BID). Is that the answer?

WC: For the first time in two decades we have a BID. That’s great, and that is a basic first step that most people take for granted. But a BID is not the ideal mechanism in my mind. A BID for an area like Flushing will always be playing catch up. The Flushing BID has two major principles that it’s going by: Keep it simple and keep a bare bone budget. First keep the streets clean, and do some promotion of the area. By its nature, it cannot handle the vision and the planning and the proper execution of all the other things that are beyond its mandate.

CUF: In other words, you need an entity that can undertake projects that also incorporate nearby places like College Point, Shea Stadium and Flushing Meadows Park.

WC: The top priority is to define a boundary that says: these are the areas that we want to take a look at, these are the areas that will have tremendous long-range implications for this region and for this county and for the city. And that requires you to have a much broader view. A BID is rather limited.

CUF: How helpful has the Bloomberg administration been in addressing some of these issues in Flushing?

WC: I think they went a step beyond [previous administrations], and that should be complimented. For the first time, a giant task force was put together and [the city] put in the resources and we had multiple workshops and consensus building to arrive at a document, [which has been] published for all to see and to follow.

CUF: Beyond Flushing, what are some of the fundamental challenges in Queens for the economy going forward?

WC: We’ve got to get up on our feet. If the county of Queens were to become a city, it would be the fifth largest city in the United States. It’s larger than Houston. This county used to think on a very different level. The two World’s Fairs generated each time over 50 million visitors. We used to think on a global level. We used to compete on a global level. We need to get back on that mold.

CUF: Should the city’s government and business leaders be thinking of Queens, and all the boroughs outside of Manhattan, as engines for growth?

WC: Financial advisors always tell us to diversify, to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. This is why Mayor Bloomberg made a smart move. He came from a financial background and he understands this. Our heavy reliance on the Wall Street area is not the solution. So that’s why I thought it was an intelligent approach to diversify, and the way you diversify is to engage the other boroughs. And, the boroughs, with the right public policy and the right guidance, could be tremendous economic generators. This administration recognizes that there needs to be a five-borough strategy. Each one is unique. The Bronx and Staten Island are different than Queens. Brooklyn and Queens share some similar characteristics. But each on its own is a different city. By using an integrated strategy, this could go a long way.

billyblancoNYC
July 12th, 2005, 04:31 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 270-05
July 12, 2005
http://www.nyc.gov/portal/index.jsp?epi_menuItemID=c0935b9a57bb4ef3daf2f1c70 1c789a0&epi_menuID=13ecbf46556241d3daf2f1c701c789a0&epi_baseMenuID=27579af732d48f86a62fa24601c789a0&pageID=mayor_press_release&catID=1194&doc_name=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fom%2Fht ml%2F2005b%2Fpr270-05.html&cc=unused1978&rc=1194&ndi=1

MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES SELECTION OF DEVELOPER FOR DOWNTOWN FLUSHING SITE

$500 Million Project Will Become the Heart of Revitalized Flushing and Create More than 4,000 Jobs

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was joined today by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilmember John Liu to announce the selection of Flushing Commons LLC to redevelop Municipal Parking Lot 1, a five-acre, City-owned site in Downtown Flushing in Queens. The privately-funded, $500 million project calls for the creation of a new town square, approximately 500 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail space, a business-class hotel, a community center, recreational facilities and new parking. The project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs. Flushing Commons is a joint venture of The Rockefeller Development Corporation of Manhattan and TDC Development and Construction Corporation, a local Flushing developer. State Senator Toby Stavisky, Assemblymember Jimmy Meng, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Andrew M. Alper and New York City Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin also attended the announcement held at the Flushing Town Hall.

"Improving and investing in neighborhoods in all five boroughs is at the core of our Administration's economic development strategy, and the high quality of the responses we received for Municipal Lot 1 is evidence of the excellent development potential of Downtown Flushing," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Flushing Commons proposal features dynamic retail choices, reasonable parking solutions, and much-needed community amenities that will benefit the entire neighborhood and attract visitors. It also provides an attractive town square area that will become the center of community activity, a critical element in the development framework for Downtown Flushing that was created last year. "

"Today's announcement is the culmination of a decision process that involved the community, elected officials and the City administration in a combined effort to provide reasonable and responsible development in Downtown Flushing," said Borough President Helen Marshall. "This comprehensive plan will provide for everything from parking to apartments to retail space and, at the same time, generate thousands of jobs. Exciting plans are afoot for Downtown Flushing, Willets Point and Shea Stadium. We look forward to cutting the ribbon to open this development and look forward to working together again to plan for the future needs of our communities."

"This effort is not just about Municipal Lot 1," said Councilmember Liu. "It's about transforming Downtown Flushing into a destination of choice in our region. This project will set the tone and direction for Flushing for years to come. The community will benefit from the many new public amenities created and from the positive effects from this project rippling throughout the entire area."

The proposed project, called Flushing Commons, includes:

*
A one-acre town square of open space with a fountain plaza to be maintained by the developer.
*
Parking for 2,000 cars at below market rates in response to community requests.
*
A 50,000-square-foot recreational center featuring amenities such as a swimming pool, basketball courts and an exercise room with memberships available to community residents.
*
A business-class hotel with meeting rooms and banquet facilities.
*
About 500 residential units, with 20% marketed to seniors.
*
350,000 square feet of retail space including local and national retailers, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.
*
20,000 square feet of space for community or cultural tenants.
*
15,000 square feet of space for small professional businesses.

The project will incorporate low impact development techniques and green building technologies. The developer is also committed to hiring from the local community and will create a comprehensive strategy to identify local businesses and residents to work on the project during and after construction.

"This site has been part of my daily life for the past two decades," said TDC Development and Construction Corporation Chairman & CEO Michael Lee. "For years we have prepared blueprints for Flushing's improvement. Today, the team at TDC is honored to have the opportunity to devote our local and global experience to make the best of a site that is so familiar and dear to me. TDC will ensure that our on-going and future projects in the area have a strong synergy with our Flushing Commons development, addressing expanded retail and entertainment as well as housing needs. With our partner, The Rockefeller Group, and major investor, Apollo Real Estate Advisors, we are committed to creating a civic heart that responds to community needs today, while contemplating those of future generations."

"We are honored and excited by our selection, and we intend to make Flushing Commons a landmark to be proud of," said Rockefeller Group President and CEO Jonathan D. Green. "We believe that our proposal represents a way to realize many of the City's goals for the development of Downtown Flushing: to renew downtown and to enhance the community feeling and the quality of life by creating a new residential community surrounded by lively retail. With our partners at TDC, we hope to create a destination that captures the vibrant mix of cultures and ethnicities that make up the borough."

"This exciting project will be a catalyst for other projects that will help us revitalize Downtown Flushing, invigorate the Flushing River waterfront and connect to a redeveloped Willets Point, making the entire area a regional destination," said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. "I commend the local elected officials, members of Community Board 7, President Alper and the staff at EDC for their commitment and contribution to selecting the proposal that contained the best components to bring new life and excitement to Downtown Flushing. I also want to thank the developer, Flushing Commons, for its sensitivity to the needs and desires of the residents and local businesses."

The Development Framework for Downtown Flushing is a result of an extensive collaboration among City and State agencies, local elected officials, advocacy groups, community members and local business leaders. It regards Downtown Flushing, the Flushing River waterfront and Willets Point as a coherent whole and outlines a land use planning strategy for strengthening the entire area as a regional center. EDC also met with local elected officials and members of Community Board 7 to solicit feedback on elements of the 13 proposals received for Municipal Lot 1.

In addition to the development of Municipal Lot 1, the City and Borough President Marshall worked with the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church, located on the eastern edge of the site, to acquire a half-acre parcel north of the Church where it plans to build more than 100 units of affordable housing and street level retail. To ensure that these two projects complement each other, Flushing Commons agreed to collaborate with the Church on development plans.

A number of other projects are underway in the Flushing area. The City is undertaking an $11 million Downtown Flushing pedestrian project to provide enhanced streetscape and pedestrian improvements. In addition, EDC issued a Request for Expressions of Interest to develop Willets Point, which produced 13 exciting and innovative proposals that are currently under review. These initiatives have not gone unnoticed by the private sector. Muss Development Company recently announced the development of a $600 million, 3.2 million-square-foot retail and residential center, called Flushing Town Center, on 14 acres of former industrial property in western Flushing.

Gulcrapek
July 12th, 2005, 06:20 PM
Hot.

peterd
July 13th, 2005, 12:42 PM
About time. I'm looking forward to this. But forget about parking anywhere near Flushing while this is being built - the area is really going to suffer until this is done.

krulltime
July 13th, 2005, 03:04 PM
Ok well like I said I really like this development:

http://www.pbase.com/image/46157812.jpg

ddawg
July 14th, 2005, 01:10 AM
for someone who has been raised in flushing, and someone who never understood conservationalists, i hafta say, i'm against this plan esp. rite now - at least in municpal lot 1 - and apparently a lot of residents and owners in the area are against it. in the past few years, flushing has been experiencing a construction boom - well.. boom to some, overdevelopment for others (one of the top complaints in queens taking in a recent poll was overdevelopment). basically, a bunch of developers have been randomly sprouting high-end apartment/condo complexes, taking advantage of the real estate market. however, for us who live in flushing, we're losing a lot of old shops and the life that defined flushing in exchange for these cold towers of glass and steel. i mean, i'll admit, i used to complain about the smells, and the green water goo, and the congestion - but i much rather have that than a mini-manhattan in flushing, where the same cookie cutter stores and lifeless condo towers take the spot of shops i spent years going to. in addition, w/ congestion as bad as it is, a new complex like this is only going to make life that much worse in flushing, along main street, northern, and union streets - and taking out the entire municipal parking lot isn't going to help it one bit! at this point, many shop owners in flushing r mad b/c this is going to hurt their business in exchange for the big business that wud move in to the area.

instead of funding these large deals formed by overzealous developers, the city shud spend more money helping improve the overall quality of life in flushing - helping ease traffic congestion (ever try driving down main on a saturday at noon?), improving public transportation (a bunch of buses all converage on main near roosevelt), cleaning up flushing river/bay (that still emits foul odors), fixing up willets point (full of abandoned warehouses and junkyards), adding more greenery (and not the sidewalk water - we need more trees and parks in teh area!), focusing on abandoned buildings and areas (like the theatre on northern and main) - that's something that'll truly benefit the residents of flushing, as opposed to making downtown flushing another mini-manhattan outdoor shopping mall for those outside. nimby!

krulltime
July 14th, 2005, 02:50 PM
^ I am so sorry you feel that way... Well I am all for new development anyway but you have some good points though.

NoyokA
July 14th, 2005, 03:25 PM
for someone who has been raised in flushing, and someone who never understood conservationalists, i hafta say, i'm against this plan esp. rite now - at least in municpal lot 1 - and apparently a lot of residents and owners in the area are against it. in the past few years, flushing has been experiencing a construction boom - well.. boom to some, overdevelopment for others (one of the top complaints in queens taking in a recent poll was overdevelopment). basically, a bunch of developers have been randomly sprouting high-end apartment/condo complexes, taking advantage of the real estate market. however, for us who live in flushing, we're losing a lot of old shops and the life that defined flushing in exchange for these cold towers of glass and steel. i mean, i'll admit, i used to complain about the smells, and the green water goo, and the congestion - but i much rather have that than a mini-manhattan in flushing, where the same cookie cutter stores and lifeless condo towers take the spot of shops i spent years going to. in addition, w/ congestion as bad as it is, a new complex like this is only going to make life that much worse in flushing, along main street, northern, and union streets - and taking out the entire municipal parking lot isn't going to help it one bit! at this point, many shop owners in flushing r mad b/c this is going to hurt their business in exchange for the big business that wud move in to the area.

instead of funding these large deals formed by overzealous developers, the city shud spend more money helping improve the overall quality of life in flushing - helping ease traffic congestion (ever try driving down main on a saturday at noon?), improving public transportation (a bunch of buses all converage on main near roosevelt), cleaning up flushing river/bay (that still emits foul odors), fixing up willets point (full of abandoned warehouses and junkyards), adding more greenery (and not the sidewalk water - we need more trees and parks in teh area!), focusing on abandoned buildings and areas (like the theatre on northern and main) - that's something that'll truly benefit the residents of flushing, as opposed to making downtown flushing another mini-manhattan outdoor shopping mall for those outside. nimby!

You missed the boat a number of years ago. The eastern European heritage that used to be a stronghold in that part of queens, the meat markets, the restaurants, the dance halls, and the institutes, have all but packed up and left. Its unfortunate but they won’t be coming back. The area has been overridden by Korean Americans, the Eastern Europeans weren’t killed off, and rather they became homogenized with the American culture. Perhaps one day people will resent that the Koreans have become mainstream, I for one don’t think it’s a bad thing. That said we must pursue democratic ideals so that cultures can intertwine through such modern and progressive developments like this one encourage.

ddawg
July 14th, 2005, 03:43 PM
i disagree with you. there's a diff. between a natural assimiliation of culture groups overtime and the overdevelopment and cookiecutter manhattanization of an area by a few developers trying to seize a booming market. to force a "overridden people" or culture to conform to one's ideas of what's modern and correct isn't the right way to proceed either - what is american culture to u?

for me, having that nice pot of numerous cultures and shops owned by mom's and dad's across the block of one another seems much more american in heart and authentic to me than having another glass shopping mall plaza w/ the same williams & sonoma, crate and barrel, and fast food food court that u can find in a 30 min. drive from any location. if u really want that, just drive to roosevelt field, 59th street, manhattan mall, or walt whitman wall. i rather enjoy the unique ethnic diversity of flushing that exists now.

ddawg
July 14th, 2005, 03:45 PM
^ I am so sorry you feel that way... Well I am all for new development anyway but you have some good points though.

new development is fine - i'm for new development - but i rather it be something that would help improve the community - there r better ways to help develop the community than exacerbate the many problems and issues that exist in flushing today. if it was a large cultural center, or a concert hall, or a new waterfront, that would sound great, as opposed to another shopping mall, large residental condo complex that's being proposed now.

ASchwarz
July 14th, 2005, 03:53 PM
The biggest current problem in Flushing is lack of housing. This project addresses that need.

This project was developed following consultations with the community. It includes senior housing, open space, community meeting space and additional parking.

As for the Flushing waterfront, it is being redeveloped with parkland, a promenade and residential space.

ddawg
July 14th, 2005, 04:21 PM
The biggest current problem in Flushing is lack of housing. This project addresses that need.

This project was developed following consultations with the community. It includes senior housing, open space, community meeting space and additional parking.

As for the Flushing waterfront, it is being redeveloped with parkland, a promenade and residential space.

u say lack of housing - but who is the housing for? walk to the middle of main and roosevelt and look at what's being built. rite now a lot of the construction in flushing isn't for low-income residents - they're new high-end condos and apt. towers that may soon begin displacing businesses owned by mid-to-low income families. i can only wonder who in the "community" the project consulted with.

ASchwarz
July 14th, 2005, 04:45 PM
The community needs housing for all income groups. This project helps address the need. If you read the official City press release, it mentions over 100 units of affordable housing are being built by a local church on an adjacent site.

From the press release:

"In addition to the development of Municipal Lot 1, the City and Borough President Marshall worked with the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church, located on the eastern edge of the site, to acquire a half-acre parcel north of the Church where it plans to build more than 100 units of affordable housing and street level retail."

billyblancoNYC
July 14th, 2005, 06:35 PM
Please read up on things...

The city is putting millions into studies and implementation of those studies to 1) Improve the streetscape, 2) To improve traffic and mass transit, 3) To redevelop Willets Point, the Flushing River, and the rest of Downtown Flushing.

http://downtownflushing.com/

These projects onlt enhance the area. This, along with the little things like the Flushing BID is what is needed. The area has good mass transit and should be developed fully. The surrounding areas (Flushing North, College Point, Whitestone, Bayside) are all being downzoned to prevent overdevelopment. DT FLUSHING will act as the DT core of NE Queens, like it should be.

In addition to the apartments, I like the retail components of this and of the 725K sq. ft. of Muss Development right on the river. The taxes and jobs should stay in Queens, not LI.

elfgam
July 15th, 2005, 02:58 PM
I think it's good that flushing is become a new center for NE queens. I only wish the small-town mentality that engulfs the boroughs would be reversed: for some reason quality architecture in NYC is confined to certain parts of Manhattan. Crappy brick panels, off the shelf Kawneer storefront, cheap GFRC column covers and a retro-1920s look to a context that's never existed in Flushing is a horrible waste for what is to be a NEW CENTERPIECE for the nighborhood. Look at places like London: it's in these new, non-contextual areas that you should be encouraging the kind of centerpeice developments that will make a neigborhood.

Is there any ever talk of extending the seven train? Adding two stops further into flushing/north flushing would really releive a lot of traffic.

peterd
July 16th, 2005, 01:26 PM
The biggest current problem in downtown Flushing is not lack of housing; it's traffic. On weekends it's worse than Manhattan. Extending the 7 train eastwards would be great, but I doubt it's on anyone's radar at the MTA.

And only in my dreams do we see a Northern Boulevard subway, a Main Street subway, and a subway connection to LGA. Sigh.

Anyway, an ultra-distinctive architectural showpiece would have been nice, but at least it looks like it's going to be nicer than most anything Flushing (and Queens in general!) has already. Even with potential traffic issues, I'm looking forward to it.

nym9
July 16th, 2005, 08:59 PM
Is there any ever talk of extending the seven train? Adding two stops further into flushing/north flushing would really releive a lot of traffic.

haha. I dont think subway lines are often "extended". Besides, the LIRR which connects at Main St. goes North, from Auburndale to Bayside etc

peterd
July 18th, 2005, 08:03 AM
haha. I dont think subway lines are often "extended".


Well, they're trying to do just that on the *other* end of the 7...

nym9
July 18th, 2005, 12:23 PM
Well, they're trying to do just that on the *other* end of the 7...

Inside a pre-built structure, far as I know the flushing line ends on roosevelt.

peterd
July 18th, 2005, 02:27 PM
Inside a pre-built structure, far as I know the flushing line ends on roosevelt.


What do you mean by a pre-built structure? Are you saying the tunnel to extend the 7 to the Javits Center already exists?

On the eastern end, the 7 runs along Roosevelt Avenue and ends at Main Street.

billyblancoNYC
July 19th, 2005, 02:37 PM
FLUSH WITH POTENTIAL: A new mixed-use development in downtown Flushing is set to revitalize the underused and underserved Queens neighborhood.

NORTHEAST REAL ESTATE BUSINESS
May, 2005

By Kevin Jeselnik

http://www.muss.com/news/050105.phtml


When complete, the Flushing Town Center will feature 750,000 square feet of retail space and a parking deck in the three-level base structure, with more than 1,000 apartments and condos in six residential towers constructed above it.
Years ago, in the late 1980s, Muss Development Company of Forest Hills, New York, had the foresight to acquire a blighted parcel of industrial property in Queens and stow it away for future use. That 14-acre brownfield site, which is located at the intersection of College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, is now at the center of a major revival underway in Queens. Located in west Flushing — a Queens neighborhood and one of the boroughs largest business centers — the site is being readied for the development of one of the most expansive mixed-use projects to go up in Queens in years. The Flushing Town Center will be a $600 million, 3.2 million-square-foot retail and residential center that will build upon and enhance the vitality of downtown Flushing. CE Flushing LLC, an affiliate of Muss Development Company, is spearheading the project.

"Most of Flushing's commercial and residential development — though there has been very little of it in recent years — occurred to the east of downtown while the west was always very industrial," says Jim Jarosik, senior vice president with Muss Development Company "So for quite a period of time, the city has envisioned the redevelopment of the west side of Flushing" The redevelopment of underutilized property in the boroughs has been a priority of New York City's brass for some time as well, in 1998, the City Planning Commission acted to rezone the Flushing Town Center site and others in the surrounding area for commercial and residential use. Soon after, Jarosik says, a number of national retailers expressed interest in a potential retail development on the 14-acre tract. It was then that Muss Development Company began preliminary development plans.

After assuming ownership of the property, which was previously owned and operated by Con Edison, Muss Development Company operated the property as a light industrial center. "There were some buildings from the previous owner, so we just rented those buildings while holding the site, waiting for the right time to develop it," Jarosik says. "And beginning about 4 or 5 years ago, there was a lot of interest coming from major retailers. We used that [interest] as the cornerstone to create this development."

Now, with a master plan in place and with the aid of various state tax benefits offered to developers performing remediation on former brownfield sites, Muss is ready to begin. However, before construction starts, Muss is completing extensive testing on the site and performing remediation of contaminated areas. 'We have done a lot of testing already," explains Jarosik. "We are completing the delineation and characterization of the soil, and there will be an operation in early summer where we will be removing areas of soil and exporting it off the site." Once the land rehabilitation is complete, Jarosik expects to break ground on foundation work for the buildings by the end of the year.

In planning the project, the team assessed both the lack of a significant retail presence in the area and the ever-present need for housing in New York City. The developers designed Flushing Town Center to deliver a large amount of both. When it is completed in 2007, it will boast approximately 750,000 square feet of retail, some 1,000 residential units and a 2,650-car parking structure. 'We designed a project that has three levels of retail in two buildings with a parking deck in the middle," explains Jarosik. "That three-level structure acts as a podium, and there are six residential towers that are going to built on top of that platform."

For the retail component New York City-based architect Perkins Eastman has designed a vertical large-format complex comprising two buildings — the West building and East building — with a parking garage in between. Muss sought to attract the popular big box-format retailers and tailored the buildings for that use. "The spaces have been designed with 20-foot floor-to-floor heights and 30-foot to 40-foot column spacing to attract large-format retailers, be it a discount department store, a home improvement store, or a category-dominant big box such as Best Buy, Marshalls or Staples," Jarosik says.

The West building has a footprint of approximately 135,000 square feet, with each level roughly 260 feet deep and 500 feet wide. "The ground floor of the West building sets up nicely for one large retailer to occupy the entire 135,000 square feet — you could plug any of a number of big box retailers into that space," says Jarosik. 'We have terraced the building so it is a little smaller going up. The upper levels are going to split up well for a mix of tenants."

The East building proved a more challenging building to design, but the end result is similar. "We have carved it up into a variety of spaces ranging anywhere from 20,000 square feet to 80,000 square feet. And then there is one tenant that will effectively occupy the entire 190,000-square-foot top floor," Jarosik explains. Though leasing is in its early stages, the retail anchors for both buildings (which are not yet released to the public) have been signed. The retail space is scheduled to be open for occupation by spring of 2007 with shops ready for business in the fall of that year.

In order to incorporate a significant amount of residential space in the development, the team had to be creative. Separate entrances for shoppers and residents have been designed around the development's most important comer — that which is closest to downtown Flushing. "That is the tightest comer of the site, so we had to figure out how to put both the residential and retail entrances near that spot. So, to the left of the comer on College Point Boulevard, we put the retail entrance. To the right, on Roosevelt Avenue, we put the residential entrance," Jarosik says. Residents will enter their designated lobby and take an elevator up to the roof level of the three-story retail/parking complex. At that point they will exit onto the sky lobby — a streetscape environment on which the six towers are situated, There, they will walk through a landscaped esplanade to their particular tower and take an elevator to their unit The end result is a community of condominium and apartment homes that seem to have been constructed at street level.

The residential units are being marketed to a range of demographics; Jarosik describes the target market as "upscale, middle-income and multi-ethnic." The developers have given special consideration to the residents that will live above this fully planned retail center Explains Jarosik, I think it has been a particular challenge for our architect to create this large retail environment that needs to be exciting and bright, with large signage and lighting, yet also create a residential community that needs to be quiet and distinctive. So it has been very demanding to develop the actual fabric of the building around that point."

From the challenges the team faced, a striking example of mixed-use development has emerged. Muss evaluated the site, the community and city and created the best possible use for the property Not only will Queens residents now have a destination retail center in their borough, but a significant amount of housing has been provided to a metro area that is much in need. "The company's background is primarily residential in nature, so our instincts are always to develop residential. Josh Muss, principal of Muss Development Company, is a great believer in creating housing for New York City He felt it was very important and necessary to create housing as part of this development," Jarosik says.

And perhaps just as significant is the manner in which these much-needed components were delivered. The team brought the concept of residential over retail from Manhattan out into the boroughs. "A project with multi-tower residential on top of vertical, large-format retail in New York City has not been done in this scale or size before," says Jarosik. By getting the most out of the property, Muss has kick-started the redevelopment of a once-blighted part of town and is bringing a true mixed-use project to metro New York City.

nym9
July 20th, 2005, 12:31 AM
What do you mean by a pre-built structure? Are you saying the tunnel to extend the 7 to the Javits Center already exists?

Im saying there is an underground structure from Times Square to the Port Authority, UNLIKE the last stop on the other end (Roosevelt ave)


On the eastern end, the 7 runs along Roosevelt Avenue and ends at Main Street.

It runs along Roosevelt, passes Main st. and ends (on Roosevelt).

billyblancoNYC
July 21st, 2005, 10:01 AM
Flushing Moves Beyond 'Valley of the Ashes'
Commercial Real Estate
http://www.nysun.com/article/17382

BY MICHAEL STOLER
July 21, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

The World's Fair arrived in Flushing Meadows Park in 1939 and brought about the elimination of the Corona dumps, dubbed the "valley of ashes" by F. Scott Fitzgerald in "The Great Gatsby." Twenty-five years later, the New York Mets celebrated the opening of Shea Stadium in the Willets Point neighborhood. Four decades later, massive development is finally taking shape in the area, which boasts a waterfront and the Flushing River and is home to more than a half-million people who speak 109 different languages among them.

In February 2004, the New York City Economic Development Corporation solicited proposals for the redevelopment of a 5.5-acre site at Union Street between 37th and 39th avenues in the heart of downtown Flushing. The site is the largest the city owns. Within days, the city received 13 responses from developers around the country.

Last week, the city announced that a joint venture named Flushing Commons LLC - comprised of Flushing based TDC Development and Construction Corporation and the Rockefeller Group - were selected for a $500 million project. According to industry insiders, the joint venture is paying about $100 million for the site. The project includes plans for the following:

* a 1-acre town square with a fountain plaza

* 570,000 square feet of below-grade and enclosed above-grade parking for 2,000 cars

* a 50,000-square-foot recreational center

* a 120,000-square-foot business class hotel with meeting rooms and banquet facilities

* about 650,000 square feet of luxury residential space for about 650 residential units, with 20% of the units age-restricted and marketed to seniors

* 350,000 square feet of retail with local and national retailers, including a supermarket, shops, restaurants, and a multi-screen cinema

* 20,000 square feet of space for community or cultural tenants

* 60,000 square feet of public open space and 15,000 square feet of space for small businesses.

The major investor in this project is Apollo Real Estate Advisors L.P. TDC Development has been active in the redevelopment of Flushing since the city decided to rezone downtown Flushing west of Main Street. These projects include Prince Center and office buildings, Flushing Mall and Sanford Tower, an apartment building.

In addition to the Union Street development, the city and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall worked with the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church, located on the eastern edge of the site, to acquire a half-acre parcel north of the church. The church plans to build more than 100 units of affordable housing and street-level retail.

A few blocks away sits a 14-acre brownfield site owned by the Muss Organization. In February, the Muss Development Organization announced plans to build a $600 million mixed-use development on a site at College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue that the company has owned for more than two decades. When completed, the site will have 800,000 square feet of retail space, six condominium and rental buildings with about 1,000 units, a 2,600-unit parking facility, and a 55-foot-wide esplanade along the Flushing River. The site will include a Target store and Home Depot.

On the waterfront, real estate investor Sam Suzuki and his partners at the Vintage Organization will be constructing the Flushing Promenade, a gated community of 400 condominium residences. Units are projected to be sold for $525 per square foot.

Later this year, Shaya Boymelgreen of Boymelgreen Development Company will begin the redevelopment of 3,000 seat RKO Keith theatre located on Northern Boulevard at the end of Main Street across from the Northern Boulevard Bridge. Plans call for a 19-story mixed-use complex of retail, valet parking for 233 autos, community space, commercial, and condominium apartments, including the restoration of the landmark grand lobby of the historic movie theater. The developer received overwhelming approval for the redevelopment by the community board, one year after it had unanimously rejected his original plans for the site. The scaled site will have approximately 200 condominium units projected to sell for about $650 a square foot.

South of the Boymelgreen development on Main Street, developer and real estate investor Michael Lee plans a 12-story glass-and-granite retail and office building on the site of the Queens County Savings Bank. On another site on Northern Boulevard, a building that previously housed a Sears will be demolished for another mixed-use development.

The former site of the 26-acre Flushing Airport will be developed into a wholesale center for about 180 small businesses and importers. The Economic Development Corporation selected a consortium of Korean business owners to develop the site. The new owners plan to spend $175 million for a two-story, 585,000-squarefoot warehouse complex.

Industry leaders often say Flushing is one of the most vibrant, dynamic areas in the city. It is served by the no. 7 subway line and home to the busiest subway station outside of Manhattan. The 7 line stops at Main Street, where commuters can travel to Grand Central Station in only 30 minutes. The Long Island Railroad is adjacent to the Main Street subway, and 11 MTA and private bus lines run to the Main Street station. Direct bus service links the area to La-Guardia Airport.

***

The vice president of the Muss Development Organization, Jason Muss, said, "The confluence of local business, local expertise with tremendous outflow of foreign capital, from the fastest growing and potentially largest economy of the world. Capital from Taiwan and Hong Kong flowing in will continue to make Flushing a vibrant marketplace."

The managing director and principal at Apollo Real Estate Advisors L.P., Richard Mack, said, "We believe strongly in the prospects for investing in the boroughs of New York City, and that Flushing is one of the most vibrant and dynamic areas in the entire New York metro area."

The chairman of the retail leasing and sales division at Prudential Douglas Elliman, Faith Hope Consolo, said: "As the largest urban center in Queens, Flushing has potential to become a premiere retail corridor. Flushing is the next Forest Hills."

And the president of Muss Development Organization, Josh Muss, said, "Development can take 20 to 30 years for a project to come to fruition." Timing is everything, and, finally, the combination of these new developments, the proposed new stadium for the Mets, redevelopment of Willets Point, and the waterfront will only help Flushing and the city.

billyblancoNYC
July 21st, 2005, 10:02 AM
I can only hope that the other Home Depot off College Pt. Blvd will be closed. 3 Home Depots within a mile or so of each other is ridiculous. Maybe if it was a Lowe's or something...I also can see Wal-Mart making a push here.

billyblancoNYC
July 21st, 2005, 10:13 AM
More on the Flushing Promenade...

http://www.denardis.com/resimage/flushing.html

This project consists of a complex of 5 buildings with 450,000 square feet of total space. The complex includes residential apartments, commercial space and multistory underground concrete parking garages.

nym9
July 21st, 2005, 04:52 PM
I can only hope that the other Home Depot off College Pt. Blvd will be closed. 3 Home Depots within a mile or so of each other is ridiculous..

haha. When I found out about the 2nd one, I thought that was ridiculous (and still do).

peterd
July 27th, 2005, 05:27 PM
The new Shea Stadium should have gone where the Flushing Town Center is going - a waterfront site directly connected to Downtown Flushing would have been sweet. Oh, well.

billyblancoNYC
July 28th, 2005, 11:06 AM
The new Shea Stadium should have gone where the Flushing Town Center is going - a waterfront site directly connected to Downtown Flushing would have been sweet. Oh, well.

1) 5 acres really isn't very large
2) That development is not on the water
3) On the water, right next to the stadium, will be a 50 acre redevelopment of Willet's Point.

Strattonport
August 8th, 2005, 12:29 AM
I can only hope that the other Home Depot off College Pt. Blvd will be closed. 3 Home Depots within a mile or so of each other is ridiculous. Maybe if it was a Lowe's or something...I also can see Wal-Mart making a push here.

A Lowe's would be suitable with the obvious competition argument. Wal-Mart still has a stigma in Queens (They wanted to build in Rego Park; didn't happen). The area generally has massive swaths of land and is ripe for development.

My first post here. *grin*

nym9
August 8th, 2005, 07:52 AM
A Lowe's would be suitable with the obvious competition argument. Wal-Mart still has a stigma in Queens (They wanted to build in Rego Park; didn't happen). The area generally has massive swaths of land and is ripe for development.

My first post here. *grin*

Theres a wal-mart close by in Valley Stream, and a relatively new Target in North Queens, I dont see a need for Wal-mart. Or a Lowes for that matter.

Gulcrapek
August 14th, 2005, 01:00 AM
More Flushing Town Center

http://www.apdigital.com/projects/residential/06_flushing/flushing-1.jpg

http://www.apdigital.com/projects/residential/06_flushing/flushing-2.jpg

apdigital.com

Kolbster
August 14th, 2005, 05:50 PM
Ehh, they are really short and squat looking.

lofter1
August 17th, 2005, 05:45 PM
This is looking like Orange County, CA crossed with Indianapolis (and not the best of either).

Strattonport
September 7th, 2005, 12:02 PM
Theres a wal-mart close by in Valley Stream, and a relatively new Target in North Queens, I dont see a need for Wal-mart. Or a Lowes for that matter.

I think the opposition in Queens will keep Wal-Mart away. I wouldn't mind a Lowe's - competition with Home Depot.

krulltime
September 29th, 2005, 10:21 AM
Oh this theater project is taken SO long....

Developer May Soon Revive Landmark Theater in Flushing


By JULIA VITULLO-MARTIN
September 29, 2005


At a public hearing on Tuesday, the Board of Standards and Appeals signaled that the 20-year saga of the RKO-Keith Theater in Flushing, Queens, may soon end, leading to the building's rebirth.

The board's chairwoman, Meenakshi Srinivasan, indicated she would be receptive to granting the variance that would allow a major reconstruction of the site to go forward. Further negotiations will be necessary to decide the details of a tentatively reached compromise proposed by the development director of Boymelgreen Developers, Scott Milsom, who agreed to provide more parking in exchange for being allowed to build at their requested bulk.

Many community representatives seemed relieved. "People are in favor of this project," the district manager of Community Board 7, Marilyn Bitterman, said. "The site was abandoned and neglected for years. We were thrilled when the developer purchased it and decided to develop it while keeping the integrity of the theater and enhancing the landmarked portion of the building."

The president of Queens, Helen Marshall, regarded RKO-Keith as so important that she testified in person - the first time she has done so since leaving the chairmanship of the zoning committee of Community Board 3 and winning elected office. She urged the board to accept the "project proposal as approved by Community Board 7 and myself."

Or as Council Member John Liu said, "We want this building resurrected from the dead, and we really don't want to wait much longer."

A lawyer for Boymelgreen, Howard Goldman, said the project would go forward if all goes well at a final hearing on November 2. The board may then approve the project by the end of the year.

It will indeed be a resurrection. After being nearly destroyed in 1986 by its owner, Thomas Huang, who demolished sections of the exterior and spilled hundreds of gallons of oil in the basement, the RKO-Keith Theater sat vacant, dragging down property values. Boymelgreen bought it in 2002, and proposed a 19-story, 375,000-square-foot mixed-use building, which is about three times what zoning allows. Community members were concerned about the size of the project and were not appeased even with a design by a renowned architectural firm, the V Studio of the Walker Group. In February 2004, Community Board 7 voted 35-0 not to approve it.

The architect tried again, scaling it down from a floor area ratio of 9.5 to a FAR of 7.5, eliminating the interior retail mall and most office space, making the project largely residential with only ground-level retail. The new design retained features important to the community, including a 12,500-square-foot senior center and four levels of parking. In February 2005, the community board voted 32-2 to approve it.

Nonetheless, the Board of Standards and Appeals, which had to authorize the variance, was intent on scaling the project back further, to a FAR of 6.5.The developer said this was unworkable.

The site offers tough design problems for many reasons, not least because the theater's interior, which is landmarked, has been badly trashed. (Though designed by a famous architect, Thomas Lamb, the theater's exterior was not landmarked at the request of then-borough president Donald Manes, who later committed suicide amid financial scandals.) Calling this part of the site "the egg," a principal of the V Studio, Jay Valgora, testified that preserving it while trying to build on top of and around it presented him with the "most complex job of sequencing" he had ever faced as an architect. It also presented him with very high construction costs of $238 a square foot. "The costs of preserving the egg are constant," he said. "We need a variance for greater bulk to offset these costs. If we're forced to go down to 6.5, we'll have to produce an inferior building, with punched windows and a far less articulated facade." The audience stirred as he spoke. After waiting all these years, community members do not want an inferior building.

And while the apartments will be sold at prices between $470 and $623 a square foot ($337,000 to $1.2 million), Mr. Goldman testified that profits will be low - 3.3% at the 7.5 FAR requested by the developer, or 1.5% at the 6.5 FAR preferred by the Board of Standards and Appeals. Ms. Srinivasan, the chairwoman, challenged Mr. Goldman and Mr. Valgora, asking why they could not provide all the same amenities they propose at 7.5 for a smaller building at 6.5.

In the end, the extra parking demanded by the board - 32 spaces - became a deal maker. The site, which is near Flushing Bay, sits on a high water table, making construction deep into the ground very expensive. But Mr. Milsom proposed a solution: "We'll figure out how to find more parking without going down to the water table," he said.

Yet even if the board approves the FAR of 7.5 on November 2 as expected, construction is unlikely to begin for another eight months, while new designs are prepared. The building won't open, says Mr. Milsom, for at least two and a half years.

If the neighborhood is indeed given back its RKO-Keith Theater in 2007, it will have much to celebrate - including the 80th anniversary of RKO-Keith's first groundbreaking in 1927. It opened to joyous crowds in 1928.


© 2005 The New York Sun

Strattonport
September 29th, 2005, 08:34 PM
Welcome news. Does anyone know what happened of Mr. Huang? Is he still in real estate, screwing yet another property? I'd like to know why a man of his low standards was able to obtain a property like RKO Keith.

The bureaucracy surrouding the redevelopment is troubling and I think the slimming down of the renovation itself was bad. BUT, it's better than anything. Let's get it done.

submachine
October 1st, 2005, 07:02 PM
The site offers tough design problems for many reasons, not least because the theater's interior, which is landmarked, has been badly trashed.

If the neighborhood is indeed given back its RKO-Keith Theater in 2007, it will have much to celebrate - including the 80th anniversary of RKO-Keith's first groundbreaking in 1927. It opened to joyous crowds in 1928.

Great post and great news.

I remember the RKO Keiths, I saw many films there as a kid including Beat Street, Empire Strikes Back and Porkys (had to sneak in);)

Jon Favreau, director of Swingers and Elf, also remembers it fondly:

Q: You used to usher at the RKO Keith in Queens.

Jon Favreau: That’s right! How did you know that?

Q: I think you mentioned it on Dinner for Five. That used to be the theater we went to when I was a kid.

Favreau: Oh God what a theater that was. I saw Return of the Jedi 50 times there. Flashdance was there. I remember Spinal Tap – nobody was in the theater. I didn’t even think it was funny at the time but now I love it. It used to be an old vaudeville house so it had catacombs underneath it and people living in dressing rooms in the back. It was a cool theater. There was a big sky painted on the ceiling.


Also they had weird stores surrounding it, like a video-game store that had dozens of Atari 2600 hooked up to play and preview games.


The best part of the theater was that to a kid, it was a dream-like place, with the painted ceilings and the castle-like interior. It was an experience beyond the movie itself and it should be a priority for Flushing and Queens development.

Strattonport
October 21st, 2005, 04:18 PM
I was in Flushing today and construction of Queens Crossing is going on quite well. Steel is already coming up. Just to refresh some minds, here are some renderings:

http://www.queenscrossing.com/images/view1.gif

http://www.queenscrossing.com/images/view2.gif

http://www.queenscrossing.com/images/view3.gif

Queens Crossing website. (http://www.queenscrossing.com/)

Strattonport
October 23rd, 2005, 04:27 PM
Does anyone know when construction on Municipal Lot 1 begins?

Strattonport
November 1st, 2005, 10:25 PM
Progress on Queens Crossing is going well. The beams already top the 3rd/4th floors and I also see steel siding for the floors.

antinimby
November 2nd, 2005, 07:46 PM
Strattonport, it sounds like you're a Queens man.
Will you keep us updated on the Queens projects? With photos and descriptions, too?
This will be your job from now on! ;)


Does anyone know when construction on Municipal Lot 1 begins?

If you're referring to Flushing Commons, I think it ran into NIMBY's.
I thought I had read a news article posted on this forum not too long ago that said the community merchants were against losing the parking facility and were suing to stop this project.
For some reason, I can't find that article again!?

Strattonport
November 4th, 2005, 09:05 PM
Hey, thanks. Yeah, I live in the area so I pass by it pretty easily. Unfortunately, my digital camera died on me (a Canon) so no photos for the time being. :( On the bright side, it seems they're making good progress with the building. They get a lot of steel up every week. I wouldn't be surprised if the complex is topped by the end of this year.

As for Municipal Lot 1, I think it's still going on. It it were cancelled, there would've been some reporting on it by now.

NewYorkYankee
November 5th, 2005, 05:08 PM
I have a friend who lives in Flushing. She plans to give me a tour of the area soon.

Strattonport
November 11th, 2005, 07:13 PM
Hope you take photos!

Anyway, I swung around the area and they've hung up this nice banner that wraps around the scaffolding adjacent to Main Street. It advertises the buildling and gives an opening date (Fall 2006). It also gives people the opportunity to lease retail space (ground level to the second floor). There were listings for a website and a phone number regarding inquires but I've forgotten them. Sorry!

Strattonport
November 12th, 2005, 08:14 PM
I went by there this evening. CBRE - NYC Retail (http://cbre.com/nycretail). No mention of the project whatsoever. It's also the first time I've seen the phrase "Manhattan's Outer Boroughs."

Strattonport
November 18th, 2005, 09:50 PM
I paid another visit there. Not much in terms of change aside from the installation of paneling.

submachine
December 1st, 2005, 07:10 AM
I just found out Queens Crossing is not residential...

Strattonport
December 9th, 2005, 07:35 PM
No, it will be mixed-use retail/business. The adjacent Flushing Commons will have housing, I believe.

Here's a scan I got from this past Tuesday's Post on the property:

http://gallery.anticlimber.com/d/6503-1/qcrossingscan2.jpg

NewYorkYankee
December 10th, 2005, 03:31 PM
The Post seems to be more informative about construction and projects in the city than the Times.

Strattonport
December 13th, 2005, 05:38 PM
Passed by the site today, they had concrete mixers doing their thing.

submachine
December 15th, 2005, 02:44 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/12-14-2005/boroughs/story/374576p-318330c.html

RKO site gets OK
'World-class' bldg. taking theater's spot
BY DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER After a three-year battle, a 17-story "world-class building" proposed for the site of the former RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing received final approval yesterday from the city's Board of Standards and Appeals. Construction is expected to take only half the amount of time it took to get the approval.
The mixed-use project calls for the restoration of the theater's landmarked grand lobby, which will be surrounded by a "curtain of glass" that will give passersby a view inside and act as gateway to the neighborhood.
Board of Standards and Appeals Chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan, in a brief statement announcing the approval, noted the importance of the location of the site and the RKO theater, which is on Northern Blvd. at the end of Main St.
The 3,000-seat theater opened as a vaudeville venue in 1927 before becoming a movie house. In 1984, the lobby and grand foyer area, with twin staircases, were designated a city landmark and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building was allowed to fall into disrepair by a previous owner, Thomas Huang, who was fined for bulldozing parts of the landmarked grand staircase.
Srinivasan said the board "worked closely with Borough President Helen Marshall, Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) and Community Board 7 to come to this conclusion."
The site's owner, Boymelgreen Developers, wanted a variance to build a far greater bulk than what is allowed under current zoning to make the project feasible.
"Today, we are here to acknowledge all the hard work and meetings ... that shaped a mixed-use development that makes sense and benefits such an important location in Queens," said Marshall at a gathering in front of the site after the BSA vote.
Said Liu, "The formerly majestic RKO Keith's Theater, which has long symbolized the gateway to northeast Queens, will no longer be a blight and embarrassment to our community."
Chuck Apelian, first vice chairman of Community Board 7, added,"We are really excited that this new ... building will be the new cornerstone and landmark of our community for generations to come."
The project will include 200 apartments, about 10,000 square feet of retail, a senior citizen center and parking for 229 vehicles.

Originally published on December 14, 2005

Strattonport
December 15th, 2005, 09:20 PM
That's great news. The process took longer than I'd liked, but we all that behind us.

Since I pass by the area when I commute every day, I can get a good look at what's going on. The front of the building is barely boarded. I've seen trucks parked in one of the impromtu lots formed from one of the front entrances.

submachine
December 17th, 2005, 03:22 PM
I pass by all the time too, there is some strange contruction going on at the Municpal Parking Lot, 7 stories up....

Strattonport
December 21st, 2005, 04:43 PM
That is Queens Crossing (http://www.queenscrossing.com/). I'm glad to see it's well underway. Posters on the scaffolding predict a Fall 2006 opening.

Construction for RKO Keith's and Flushing Town Center will come quickly as well. I am disappointed with the lack of activity that Municipal Lot 1, though...

Strattonport
December 21st, 2005, 05:49 PM
Here's a link to a scan (http://gallery.anticlimber.com/v/Scans/cleanupdevelopment.jpg.html) of an article in the Queens Courier (http://www.queenscourier.com) (a local Queens paper) regarding brownsite cleanup and the following development around the borough. The former Con Ed site in Flushing is mentioned.

submachine
December 27th, 2005, 11:04 PM
That is Queens Crossing (http://www.queenscrossing.com/). I'm glad to see it's well underway. Posters on the scaffolding predict a Fall 2006 opening.

Construction for RKO Keith's and Flushing Town Center will come quickly as well. I am disappointed with the lack of activity that Municipal Lot 1, though...

:confused:

The activity I mentioned IS at the parking lot.

Also, in the Courrier newspaper last week there was a front page article on RKO construction.

Strattonport
December 28th, 2005, 01:41 AM
There is? I'm not trying to say you're wrong or anything, I'm just saying you could've easily mistaken the construction at Queens Crossing for development at the lot. I'll check it out tomorrow if I can.

Strattonport
December 28th, 2005, 04:11 PM
I went by there today for lunch. I walked in and out of the parking lot and saw no construction.

submachine
December 29th, 2005, 03:10 AM
I went by there today for lunch. I walked in and out of the parking lot and saw no construction.

On 39th Ave theres a new frame going up at least 5 stories, I dont remember if its between 138th and Union (Lot1) or 138th and Main (QC).

antinimby
December 29th, 2005, 03:25 AM
A photo will clear up all confusion. :)

Strattonport
December 29th, 2005, 11:52 AM
If my digital camera wasn't down for the count, I would've had a photo up already...but, I got a photo anyway (not mine). Here it is (http://www.transitspot.com/gallery2/v/user/G1Ravage/Other-Pics/Transit+Strike+Pics+001.jpg.html).

In the foreground is the parking lot. You can clearly see the construction in the background: that is Queens Crossing.

recognize
December 30th, 2005, 10:03 PM
what is the building going up in the distance on the right side of the photograph?

submachine
December 31st, 2005, 06:02 AM
If my digital camera wasn't down for the count, I would've had a photo up already...but, I got a photo anyway (not mine). Here it is (http://www.transitspot.com/gallery2/v/user/G1Ravage/Other-Pics/Transit+Strike+Pics+001.jpg.html).

In the foreground is the parking lot. You can clearly see the construction in the background: that is Queens Crossing.

Ok, I see my first glance was wrong and it is QC between 138th and Main.

Strattonport
January 1st, 2006, 10:31 AM
what is the building going up in the distance on the right side of the photograph?

That may be a condo. I'll check it out as soon as I can.

submachine
January 4th, 2006, 01:47 AM
RKO Plaza Condominiums
"With its stunning Spanish baroque interiors original designed by the renowned architect Thomas Lamb in 1927, the RKO Keith Theater development is poised to become a market-setting project for the Leviev Boymelgreen organization. Located at the nexus of Northern Boulevard and Main Street in the heart of Flushing Queens, the theater, originally one of the premier performing arts and motion picture houses in the borough of Queens, has fallen into disrepair and been closed to the public for almost 20 years. Purchased by the organization in 2002, the building will be strategically redeveloped into a 15-story, mixed-use condominium tower with prime retail space, a senior center, and a dramatic glazed facade designed to evoke the image the old auditorium space. The highlight of the project, however, will be the restoration of the beautifully detailed landmarked ticket lobby and grand foyer which will form the centerpiece of the ground floor retailers and residential lobby. The RKO project will offer 200 spacious residences designed by a class A architectural team comprised of V Studios and Meltzer Mandl. Amenities will include Feng Shui inspired interiors, a state of the art fitness center, and a 200 space parking garage with accessory parking for residents. The RKO project is scheduled for completion in early 2008..."


http://www.levievboymelgreen.com

Strattonport
January 4th, 2006, 06:53 PM
Here are some shots I produced of the rendering on the website. They were hard to get since there were no direct images, just a stupid flash environment. Enjoy (http://gallery.anticlimber.com/v/Scans/WNY/?g2_navId=x09e03c15)!

Strattonport
January 4th, 2006, 09:28 PM
For laughs, check out the comments posted on RKO Keith (http://cinematreasures.org/theater/834/) on CinemaTreasures, some theater website.

submachine
January 14th, 2006, 11:12 PM
How can they list prices for real estate to be sold 2 years from now?

JohnGator
January 27th, 2006, 02:23 AM
Been following this thread with great deal of interest for last couple of years. My first posting here. Been living in Flushing for almost ten years.

http://www.nysun.com/article/26452

Mayor To Redevelop Iron Triangle in Bid To Transform Flushing

By DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 25, 2006

Just east of the parking lot at Shea Stadium lies the Iron Triangle, a 48-acre site zoned for heavy industrial use that is occupied by a ragtag mix of auto related businesses. The area, sealed off from the rest of Queens by highways, train tracks, and mounds of waste, is the site of the city's next redevelopment project, and one of its most ambitious to date.

Next month, the Bloomberg administration will ask preselected developers to submit proposals to remake Willets Point, aiming for a mix of residential, commercial, retail, and entertainment use. The project is expected to cost billions of dollars and take years to complete.

The aim of the redevelopment is to transform Flushing into a regional destination, take advantage of the area's extensive road and rail network, provide thousands of new jobs, increase tax revenues, improve the environmental quality of the neighborhood, and spur further growth of the Queens waterfront and downtown Flushing. The redevelopment would complement a new Shea Stadium planned for across the street.

"The city's goal is to create an experience that is unique to the New York metropolitan region, with a strong sense of place and an attractive new identity," a spokeswoman for the city's development agency, Janel Patterson, said.
As with some of the other large redevelopment projects in the works that also have the city's approval, such as the Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn and the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, members of the local community say City Hall's grand plans neglect neighborhood interests.
About 80 businesses currently occupy the Iron Triangle, from garages to auto parts stores to a spice manufacturer. While plans for redevelopment of the area have been discussed for years, some neighborhood advocates say the threat of eminent domain is hanging in the air.
The city has required that all proposals for Willets Point include a relocation plan for the existing businesses, and the city is currently working to finalize a comprehensive "Business Assistance and Workforce Development Program" to assist both businesses and workers affected by the project.

But the area's City Council member, Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat who calls himself a defender of the "little guy," wants to ensure that those relocation and compensation packages are more generous than offers the city has recently made to owners and tenants ousted by other large-scale development projects.
So far, Mr. Monserrate said, the city's outreach to the community has been insufficient.

"The administration has a worldview that is pro-big business," he said. "Are they talking about building schools, affordable housing, maintaining some of the businesses there, relocation plans?"
Mr. Monserrate said he has seen a proposal for Willets Point that envisioned a "supermall, even bigger."
A professor of urban planning at Hunter College, Tom Angotti, will soon release a study he is writing with a team of graduate students on the existing businesses of Willets Point, their employees, as well as a land use analysis and potential development alternatives.

"Once again, the city's process seems to be evading discussion with the local businesspeople and hanging the threat of eminent domain over them without involving them in the process," Mr. Angotti said.
City officials said the planning process has been inclusive and that they have met with businesses and representatives of the community, as well as with the president of Queens, Helen Marshall, the state, and the appropriate city agencies.

Mr. Angotti said redevelopment of Willets Point would displace a diverse, valuable local economy.
"These are jobs that are available to people that don't have many other entry options into the job market," he said. "The impression is created that there is nobody there. That it's a junkyard. It's just not true."

A spokesman for Ms. Marshall, Dan Andrews said the borough president "does not believe that all the companies, or at least the bigger companies, would relocate, would be absorbed into one of the existing proposals."
Redeveloping the area will be no easy task. The city's request for developers' expressions of interest said that since the 1950s the area has had "severe infrastructure constraints, including lack of sanitary sewers," bad drainage, and unpaved sidewalks and streets.

Redeveloping the area will be no easy task. The city's request for developers' expressions of interest said that since the 1950s the area has had "severe infrastructure constraints, including lack of sanitary sewers," bad drainage, and unpaved sidewalks and streets.

In addition, there is strong potential for contaminated soil that would require remediation. The loose organic silt below would require more expensive pile-supported foundations.

From a planning perspective, Mr. Angotti said Willets Point offers the advantage of easy access to highways, subways, and commuter rails, and the disadvantage of being isolated from other residential neighborhoods by a virtual moat of transportation infrastructure.

A Queens developer, Lester Petracca, whose company Triangle Equities chose not to submit a project proposal, called it "a very, very large project" and "a great site."

Mr. Petracca said any development would face potential challenges from traffic mitigation, the need to relocate the existing owners, and environmental remediation.

The city is currently undertaking environmental, engineering, and soil studies, as well as infrastructure analyses. Next month, the city will ask 13 firms - the respondents to a request for expression of interest issued in November 2004 and due in March 2005 - for development proposals.

antinimby
January 27th, 2006, 03:28 AM
But the area's City Council member, Hiram Monserrate, a Democrat who calls himself a defender of the "little guy," Little criminal guys is more like it. Amazing. They pollute the land and now they want to extort the city for all they can. They're lucky the city and some environmental agency aren't throwing them all in jail. Trying to paint themselves as the "poor little guys." These "poor" auto shop owners drive nice fancy luxury cars while ripping off their customers. What a joke.

Strattonport
January 27th, 2006, 07:37 AM
Who cares about these businesses? They've done nothing but ruin the environment and make it virtually unsustainable for occupation. THEY should pay the city for reparations. I don't hold anything against Monserrate though. He, as well as other politicians look out in their constituents' interests.

Strattonport
January 27th, 2006, 09:29 AM
After hearing Bloomberg's State of the City (http://podcast.medianext.com/stations/wins/) address, I heard Bloomberg referring to a "$500 million project" in Flushing. He was mostly likely referring to Flushing Commons. Nothing has happened at the site yet.

submachine
January 27th, 2006, 05:10 PM
since the 1950s the area has had "severe infrastructure constraints, including lack of sanitary sewers," bad drainage, and unpaved sidewalks and streets.

In addition, there is strong potential for contaminated soil that would require remediation. The loose organic silt below would require more expensive pile-supported foundations.


The Flushing "River" at low-tide STINKS so bad you can smell it from the Whitestone Expressway / Van Wyck, and its been that way since I was a kid.

antinimby
January 27th, 2006, 06:57 PM
Exactly. And now we finally have an administration that cares enough and is willing to do something about it but these greedy chop shop owners are trying to keep this place remaining in the filthy, wretched state it is in now.

Strattonport
January 27th, 2006, 07:09 PM
Revitalizing Willets Point is crucial as a whole in terms of Queens' development. With Flushing already on the fast track to improvement, Willets Point will need to serve as a bridge between Flushing and communities further west.

Oh and as for progress on Queens Crossing, it seems the general shape of the building is complete. Fireproof cladding is already on some portions of the infrastructure.

submachine
January 28th, 2006, 01:31 PM
these chop shop owners are trying to keep this place

I dont think they have a choice, the land would be bought for a fixed price under eminent domain laws, and rezoned from M3-1 to non-industrial. Also City officials, including Mr. Monserrate and Councilman John C. Liu, say many Iron Triangle businesses have long been operating illegally and constantly violate city regulations.

antinimby
January 28th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Well that's good to hear.
I just hate how everyone think it's all right to get as much as they can from the city. People think, "well, it's the city's money so I don't care." But the fact is the city's money is essentially our money--the city taxpayers' money--so they should care.

Vlissengen
February 2nd, 2006, 05:22 PM
Flushing River's infamous stink may come to end before 2007 comes upon us...

Tank answer to Flushing River sewage stench

Queens Courier article (http://www.queenscourier.com/articles/2006/01/26/front/news02.txt)

BY VICTOR ROSS
Thursday, January 26, 2006 4:50 PM CST

The City Environmental Protection agency's [DEP] new 28-million gallon Flushing Bay sewage retention tank and a new area-wide combined sewer system will become operational this November, The Queens Courier has learned.

The nine-year, $300 million project promises to not only end the pervasive summertime stench from the polluted Flushing River, but to also speed development of Downtown Flushing and the "Iron Triangle" business complexes.

Councilman John Liu called the new project, “a tremendous boon towards restoring the Flushing River as the centerpiece of our community and revitalizing this important natural resource."

The project is designed to improve water quality in Flushing Bay by vastly reducing the amount of sewage that overflows from the combined sewers into the Flushing River, which is the largest tributary to the bay.

Built on the site of three former baseball fields beneath Kissena Park, at Fowler Ave., the reinforced-concrete tank is over 800 feet long, more than 500 feet wide, and 20 feet high. Sitting on the roof of the completed tank will be two Parks Department state-of-the-art soccer fields. Also scheduled is a $14 million renovated promenade along the Flushing River waterfront.
A rising population and an inadequate combined sewer system with no significant storage capacity, Flushing's 15 ancient sewer lines routinely discharge millions of gallons of raw sewage and rain water into the smelly Flushing River during inclement weather.

The river, EPA engineers say, cannot support aquatic life because it has a nearly zero oxygen rating.

At a Community Board 7 hearing in 1993, EPA engineers predicted that the new tank and sewer line systems will raise this rating to an approximate four parts per million — sufficient to support sea life and eliminate much of the odor around the mile long, 200-foot-wide, river.

After a heavy storm, the new retention tank will temporarily store the rain or melted snow and local sewage for 12 to 18 hours, until it can be pumped to the nearby Tallmans Island Sewage Treatment Plant.

Congressmen Gary Ackerman and Joseph Crowley have already garnered an additional $15 million for dredging the Flushing River and Bay this coming spring to decrease odors that are common during low tide, and also reduce floatable trash in the bay.

The huge tank promises to cut the combined sewage overflow into the river by 90 percent.

Designed to contain the sewage odors within the huge tank, the DEP has stressed the giant unit's two ongoing programs:

*The odor from the stored sewage will be captured, treated and deodorized by a dual control system which "scrubs" the air and then treats it via a carbon absorption system.

*During excessively rainy weather, the sewage tank overflow will be disinfected to diminish toxic waste discharge into the river.

The project began construction in July, 1997, and is one of three major combined sewer overflow abatement projects, that include Alley Pond Park in Douglaston and one in Brooklyn.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
What irks me is that it took nearly a decade to get this thing built. I suppose it doesn't matter at this point. This very well spells the end of that awful stink and will help speed up development in Flushing.

submachine
February 11th, 2006, 09:57 PM
At a Community Board 7 hearing in 1993, EPA engineers predicted that the new tank and sewer line systems will raise this rating to an approximate four parts per million — sufficient to support sea life and eliminate much of the odor around the mile long, 200-foot-wide, river.
14 years later http://www.mandys-web.de/images/Simpsons/Episoden/Staffel2/fish1.jpg

JohnGator
February 12th, 2006, 03:00 AM
http://www.nylcv.org/Programs/WPC/blueprint/boroughs/queens/pages/2_flushing/index.htm

http://www.nylcv.org/Programs/WPC/blueprint/boroughs/queens/pages/2_flushing/2a_qs25.jpg
Flushing is one of the City’s fastest-growing commercial districts and home to a thriving Asian community. Property values have increased, as the area has blossomed into an attractive retail zone. Despite this surge in economic activity and investment, Flushing’s waterfront has been left behind and still bears the scars of past industrial and municipal uses. The Flushing River and its waterfront, through a patchwork of public and private lands, provide opportunities for establishing new connections to link Flushing residents to the East River waterfront and Flushing Meadows/Corona Park.
Downtown Flushing includes 47 acres of waterfront along the eastern shore of the Flushing River, from 35th Avenue to 40th Road, and extending east to College Point Boulevard. Most of the Flushing waterfront washttp://www.nylcv.org/Programs/WPC/blueprint/boroughs/queens/pages/2_flushing/2_flushingbay_map.gif rezoned in 1998 from manufacturing to commercial plus residential and community facility uses, to focus new development in former manufacturing zones and revitalize the waterfront. In conjunction with the 1998 rezoning, a Waterfront Access Plan (WAP) was adopted which requires that new development along the Flushing River provide a waterfront esplanade, upland connections to the esplanade, and visual corridors in locations specified by the plan. Thus, the several mixed-use projects already planned for the waterfront will simultaneously provide the backbone of this open space system. Eventually, as this esplanade is built out and the City undertakes several capital improvement projects, a system of waterfront access loops can be established along the Flushing waterfront to run from the World’s Fair Promenade on the Flushing Bay all the way into Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the south.
The first step towards realizing a revitalized waterfront must be to address environmental quality. Major projects are already planned or being implemented include a Combined-Sewer Overflow Tank near the southern end of the Flushing River. Planned for full operation in 2005, this facility will eliminate nearly all of the sewage that is discharged into the River during instances of heavy rainfall. The US Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a flow study of the Flushing Bay watershed, which includes the Flushing River and the larger Flushing Bay area. Also, the New York State Department of Transportation is engaged in a project to reconstruct the Whitestone Expressway bridge across the Flushing River. This area will become the natural western edge for a revitalized waterfront.
The central piece of the vision for the waterfront is a new open space system that will allow the public to enjoy the River as a destination for recreation and relaxation.

Downtown Flushing Roosevelt Avenue Waterfront Access Project: This project is for construction of a portion of the shore public walkway and a sitting area on the only owned City-owned site located within the Downtown Flushing Waterfront Access Plan. The project consists of improving the deteriorated sidewalk adjoining the Roosevelt Avenue bridge and constructing a 40-foot wide walkway segment along the river. Other improvements could include a bicycle rack, signage, and improved lighting throughout the area.
Esplanade Connection To Flushing Meadow Corona Park: This area is located east of the elevated Van Wyck Expressway and north of the Long Island Rail Road viaduct. The project would seek to collaborate parcels owned by the New York State Department of Transportation and some parts owned by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. There would be a walkway and a connection into the park over the LIRR viaduct or Flushing River.http://www.nylcv.org/Programs/WPC/blueprint/boroughs/queens/pages/2_flushing/2b_qs28.jpg
Wetlands Along The Flushing River
A critical piece of the waterfront’s future is the site just south of Northern Boulevard, which is currently occupied by a concrete plant and an adjacent City-owned parcel used for surface parking. A park on this site would be an important addition to the area’s open space, and would anchor the waterfront esplanade at its northern end.
Looking ahead, the waterfront will be a nexus of activity in Downtown Flushing and serve as a connection to Willets Point across the river. Several longer-term initiatives will improve mobility to and through the area and connect the zoning mandated Flushing River waterfront esplanade to the Flushing Bay Promenade, Willets Point, and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. This pedestrian loop system would provide unique waterfront access opportunities because it would traverse through recreational, industrial, natural and redeveloping portions of the waterfront.

In order to develop the loop system of waterfront access, a pedestrian bridge crossing the Flushing River would help to create a link between Downtown Flushing and redevelopment on Willets Point, as well as the existing Flushing Bay Promenade, north of Shea Stadium. A bridge would also help the public access the natural edge of the river, which is dominated by wetlands and relatively low elevated highways and ramps. An elevated boardwalk, which would protect the natural resources of the wetlands areas, would be possible as a link to the pedestrian bridge on the western side of the river, and would serve as the access point for pedestrians and bicyclist to reach the Promenade.
Ferry service could be explored and could be incorporated into plans for the waterfront park as they proceed.
A new entrance to the #7 subway station on Prince Street would bring transit riders closer to the waterfront and serve residents of the new housing developments there. Also, the redesign of College Point Boulevard would make it more pedestrian friendly, eliminating a barrier to pedestrians walking between the downtown core and the waterfront.Top of page (http://www.nylcv.org/Programs/WPC/blueprint/boroughs/queens/pages/2_flushing/index.htm#top)

Vlissengen
February 13th, 2006, 02:00 PM
City wants proposals for 'Triangle'

Link to article (http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/story/390740p-331461c.html).

BY DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
The future of the "Iron Triangle," a gritty 48-acre cluster of junkyards in Willets Point just east of Shea Stadium, brightened a bit last week.

New York City's Economic Development Corp. issued a Targeted Request for Proposals for the redevelopment of Willets Point.

The 12-block Iron Triangle is the largest single stretch of garages and junkyards in the city, with more than 80 auto repair shops and salvage yards among its businesses.

"This targeted [area] is another step forward in our efforts to transform the underused, underserved Iron Triangle into a new regional destination with a vibrant mix of uses to enhance the area's assets, such as the communities of Flushing and Corona and the Flushing Bay waterfront," said EDC President Andrew Alper.

The request for proposals is being sent to a group of developers who were selected from 13 proposals received in response to a Request for Expressions of Interest issued in November 2004.

The development corporation would not say how many of the 13 were still in the running.

The responses are due May 5.

Alper said the goal of the proposal request is to select a development partner or partners to implement what EDC calls "a viable strategic redevelopment plan to be outlined in the upcoming environmental review and public review processes."

"The high quality and enthusiasm of the responses we received to the [2004 request] clearly demonstrate the confidence of the development community in the potential of a new Willets Point," Alper said.

Last summer the development corporation designated a developer to build a $500 million project that will create a new town square in downtown Flushing, along with 500 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel and a community center on the site of what is now a municipal parking lot.

The selection of the Willets Point developer will be made after the public review process, said EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson.

Over the past year, the development group has conducted environmental, engineering and soil studies, along with infrastructure analysis and site surveys of the area.

In the next few months, it will select a consultant to prepare an environmental impact statement and begin the public review process for the redevelopment effort.

In addition, a business assistance and workforce development program is being finalized to assist businesses and workers that may be affected by the redevelopment.

"This marks a milestone in a decade-long effort to transform this part of Queens into a centerpiece of opportunity and renewal for the entire city," said Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing).

"It's fairly exciting, and the EDC deserves credit for moving it along. This ties in well with the planned new Mets stadium."

Originally published on February 13, 2006[/b]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is good news - it certainly means Willets Point is closer to redevelopment. The article also mentions the planned Flushing Commons on the Parking Lot 1, though no construction dates are mentioned.

Strattonport
March 9th, 2006, 10:39 AM
The website for Queens Crossing (http://www.queenscrossing.com) has been updated, although I don't like their use of Flash. The navigation reloads every time you go to another page! They do provide some new information, like this piece from their "Travel page":

Retailers around Queens Crossing is the new Queens Center, Macy’s, JCPenney, Coach, Banana Republic, Armani Exchange, Aldo, Club Monaco, Bath & Body Works, Kay Jewelers and more.

Those retailers are nowhere near Flushing, except for Macy's. Unless those are the tenents...

Strattonport
March 9th, 2006, 03:47 PM
Here's a scan of the Flushing Commons project from a local paper (TimesLedger) - it provides a good view of the park and adjacent walkways:

http://gallery.anticlimber.com/d/6545-1/fcommons1.jpg

antinimby
March 9th, 2006, 04:16 PM
So what's the status with FC? Is it still a go?

Strattonport
March 13th, 2006, 07:59 PM
I hope so. I recall they have to do environmental and community reviews. Hopefully those will go well.

submachine
June 5th, 2006, 07:21 PM
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/02/25/nyregion/25rko.jpgold RKO Keiths lobby

Strattonport
June 15th, 2006, 08:17 PM
Progress is being made at both the Queens Crossing and Flushing Metro Center sites. For the former, they are already placing the exterior panels on the structure itself. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near Manhattan-quality and is the same-old architecture that seems to be used all around here.

As for the latter, all of the old warehouses have long been bulldozed and the land is being expanded via infill and metal plates that will hold the water back. I'd imagine we'll see some actual buildings in the coming months.

submachine
June 18th, 2006, 03:38 AM
Progress is being made at both the Queens Crossing and Flushing Metro Center sites. For the former, they are already placing the exterior panels on the structure itself. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near Manhattan-quality and is the same-old architecture that seems to be used all around here.

I thought it was "Flushing Town Center", but yeah its a bunch of bulldozers and broken up foundations.

Queens Crossing is looking odd, 5 stories higher than surrounding buildings...

antinimby
June 18th, 2006, 06:17 PM
Here's Flushing Commons once again:
http://63.240.68.122/FirmFiles/2/images/Flushing%2DCommons%5FRender1%2Ejpg

antinimby
June 18th, 2006, 06:21 PM
Flushing Metro Center
Flushing, NY

Perkins Eastman (http://www.perkinseastman.com/Pages/Front.cfm) provided site planning review and conceptual design services for this 14-acre, 3.2M sf mixed-use complex near the heart of downtown Flushing, Queens. Developed by Muss Development Company, the project uniquely mixes residential units with a four-story, big-box retail base. The entire complex includes 950 residential apartments, more than 725,000 sf of retail space, and parking for 2,650 vehicles. The residential units will be a mixture of mixture of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, augmenting the housing options for a growing neighborhood that includes many businesses and cultural attractions, and offers proximity to major airports and highways, as well as convenient subway and LIRR access. With trains running on both sides and low-flying aircraft limiting the height of the residential towers to ten stories, the site constraints of the project are particularly challenging. The project will also include a small community center as well as the public promenade along Flushing Bay, the first phase of a larger waterfront master plan. The entire project will be constructed in three phases over a ten-year period.

http://63.240.68.122/FirmFiles/2/images/Flushing%2DMetro%2DCenter%5FRende%2Ejpg

spanishfish
June 21st, 2006, 09:55 PM
The Flushing Commons site is still going forward. The public commenting meeting occurred this evening at the Queens Library. If anyone still wishes to make comments about the scope of environmental analysis being performed they may do so in writing by following the information provided at the following website.

http://www.nyc.gov/html/oec/html/home/home.shtml

Construction would not begin on this project for at least another 12 months, probably closer to two years from now. It's not slated to be opened until 2010 or later.

The MUSS development has cleared the site and I believe is awaiting the final city approvals on the design. I saw a big empty site this evening while passing by on the train.

Willet's Point submittals were due last week. If the process is anything similar to the selection process for Flushing Commons, it could be almost two years before a development team is selected.

Strattonport
June 21st, 2006, 10:12 PM
If I knew that meeting was today, I would've went.

In any case, the .PDF files provided on that page give plenty of information on the project. Worth a look.

antinimby
June 22nd, 2006, 03:02 AM
2010?
Or later?!!

Isn't that when the Freedom Tower, the Calatrava PATH station, the Fulton Street station, the new Mets and Yankee stadiums, not to mention a host of other much bigger projects are suppose to be completed?

investordude
June 23rd, 2006, 12:17 AM
Hi. Antinimby, I noticed the rendering of Flushing Metro Center includes a Target rather than just a generic store. Do they have a commitment from Target to open in the complex?

Also, does anyone know if either Flushing Metro or Flushing Commons would include a major English bookstore or a Starbucks? Given there is a Borders in Fort Lee, New Jersey and Starbucks abounds in the Asian American suburbs of California and NJ, I can't imagine why anyone could think demand for these wouldn't exist in an Asian retail hub like Flushing that also has large airport hotel guest populations that seem like they might need coffee or a book.

Just trying to understand the projected retail evolution that might come with higher end developments.

submachine
June 23rd, 2006, 03:50 AM
Also, does anyone know if either Flushing Metro or Flushing Commons would include a major English bookstore or a Starbucks?
I've seen a bookstore in the renderings and also mentioned in the interviews for Flushing Commons, it will happen. There used to be a B. Daltons on the corner, but now the nearest is B&N in Bay Terrace (which has a Starbucks inside it)

Also, there was an article in the Daily News, June 20, can't find it on the website but it was called "Hearing slated for Flushing Commons", and there should be more news this week.

Strattonport
June 24th, 2006, 12:04 AM
Here are some renderings I lifted off the .PDF files:

http://gallery.anticlimber.com/d/674-1/fc1.jpg

http://gallery.anticlimber.com/d/677-1/fc2.jpg
http://gallery.anticlimber.com/d/679-1/fc3.jpg

spanishfish
June 25th, 2006, 12:21 PM
2010?
Or later?!!

Isn't that when the Freedom Tower, the Calatrava PATH station, the Fulton Street station, the new Mets and Yankee stadiums, not to mention a host of other much bigger projects are suppose to be completed?
It takes several years to build a 2 million square-foot development. And it takes a minimum of 7 months to go through the city approvals process, which technically has not even begun yet.

krulltime
June 28th, 2006, 12:02 PM
Changing Face of Queens: From Small Asian Shops to High-End Stores


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/06/28/business/queens_650.jpg
Michael Lee, left, TDC's chairman, and Michael Meyer, its president, at Queens Crossing.


By ALISON GREGOR
June 28, 2006

IF you're looking for cafes serving bubble tea or herbalists offering dried lotus blossoms or purveyors of waving-cat trinkets, downtown Flushing, the city's second-biggest Chinatown and the largest urban center in Queens, has them in large quantity. But in the next few years, the area may also welcome a host of more mainstream retailers.

Almost 1.3 million square feet of retail space is planned in at least three major mixed-use developments — about the same area as at the renowned Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey — and a few hundred thousand feet of office space is also being developed. The first new stores are to open by the end of this year.

Flushing is already a pan-Asian enclave that is a first stop for many immigrants from China, Korea and Malaysia, among other countries.

Developers are hoping it will soon be a stop for American shoppers. "You have to make this area a destination," said Michael Meyer, president of TDC Development L.L.C., which is involved in two of the mixed-use projects.

Mr. Meyer is relatively new to the community. But the chairman and chief executive of TDC, Michael Lee, an immigrant from Taiwan, arrived in Flushing two decades ago and has purchased a substantial portion of the area's properties. TDC is a subsidiary of the F&T Group, a real estate company.

Mr. Lee owns the Flushing Mall, a longstanding collection of boutique shops and restaurants on 39th Avenue, where signs are in Chinese and Korean. He also developed the nearby Prince Center in 2003; it is a complex of ground-floor retail space, now full of restaurants, and office condominiums that netted about $500 a square foot.

Office condos are fairly unusual for New York City, but the market is receptive in Flushing. "What drives a lot of this is the whole ethnic tradition and culture; the Chinese mentality is very much an ownership mentality," Mr. Meyer said.

Mr. Lee is building another office condominium project: Queens Crossing, a 12-story building being framed at the corner of Main Street, Flushing's main shopping artery, and 39th Avenue. It will have 190,000 square feet of office space in about 80 office condominiums, and 86,000 square feet of parking.

The building has a waiting list of more than 200 businesses, Mr. Meyer claimed. "Queens Crossing sales, on a net square footage basis, are now estimated at $750," he said.

The development will also have about 110,000 square feet of retail space, which has not yet been leased. It will open by the end of this year. "We're looking for mainstream retailers like bookstores and health clubs and restaurants and apparel stores," Mr. Meyer said.

But Queens Crossing would be dwarfed by another proposed development a block away called Flushing Commons, which envisions having a total of almost two million square feet. Flushing Commons is expected to be completed in about four years on the site of a municipal parking lot that now has space for about 1,100 vehicles.

That development, with 500 residential units and about 350,000 square feet of retail space, will aim to attract more upscale retailers than currently operate in Flushing. While the city has given approval to the general concept of this project, it is still going through public hearings.

Thus far, the developers of Flushing Commons — Mr. Lee and a partner, the Rockefeller Development Corporation — envision that much of the retail space will be used by a multiscreen cinema, a national-chain bookstore and a supermarket like Whole Foods, along with some smaller stores. Roughly 15,000 square feet of space dedicated to office condominiums is being envisioned for professionals like doctors and lawyers.

Flushing Commons will also include a 200-room hotel, where developers would like to see a Westin, Mr. Meyer said.

Alan L. Stein, a senior vice president at Rockefeller, said the developers, which won a bid to develop the city-owned property a year ago, had promised not to introduce any "big box" stores into the complex.

Robin Abrams, an executive vice president of the Lansco Corporation, a commercial real estate brokerage firm that consulted on the project, said she envisioned retailers like Scoop, Cole Haan and Sephora setting up shop in the development.

Stores like those "are all over Manhattan, but don't have a presence in Flushing," Ms. Abrams said. "Frankly, the thought is there's a huge Asian population that has disposable income that is currently shopping in Manhattan or even in Manhasset" on Long Island.

Mr. Meyer said that some retailers might be intimidated by the ethnic nature of the market, but that the developers believed they could convince them that they had nothing to fear.

Also, retailers that already have outlets in Asia would be comfortable in downtown Flushing, said Josh Segal, owner of the Segal Realty Group, a commercial real estate firm that also consulted on Flushing Commons. "It's like Shanghai on the Flushing River," he said.

Already going in alongside the Flushing River is one of the largest mixed-use developments. The Muss Development Company is building 1,000 residential units in several towers on a 14-acre site. The $800 million project will also include an 800,000-square-foot shopping center anchored by national retailers.

The first phase of the project will not be completed until 2008 at the earliest, said Jim Jarosik, a senior vice president at Muss.

Flushing residents are watching the explosion of commercial development closely. Real estate professionals say Home Depot and Target are rumored to be anchor tenants at the Muss project, which is called Flushing Town Center, although the developer would not identify the stores it was negotiating with.

Some Flushing residents say they believe that if retailers of that sort go into the development, there may be traffic backups along Roosevelt Avenue, said Chuck Apelian, vice chairman of Community Board 7, which represents downtown Flushing.

Downtown Flushing, a transportation hub that has 24 bus lines and the terminus of the No. 7 subway, is an area that is used by nearly 100,000 commuters daily, according to the Downtown Flushing Transit Hub Business Improvement District, and has become synonymous with traffic congestion. A group called Save Our Flushing Community has formed to protest the Flushing Commons project. Others maintain that additional traffic snarls would not hurt business.

Even if retail rents head far north of the $100 a square foot paid at certain locations on Main Street, the owner of Pho Vietnamese on Prince Street, Tai Ma, who has lived and worked in Flushing for 29 years, said he welcomed the new commercial development. "The rent here is going high anyway," he said. "If you want to develop Flushing, you need something big."


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

submachine
June 29th, 2006, 01:39 AM
Changing Face of Queens: From Small Asian Shops to High-End Stores

Real estate professionals say Home Depot and Target are rumored to be anchor tenants at the Muss project

What about the Home Depot literally down the block?

What I want to know about the Muss Flushing Town Center is a) where are its residents going to park, and b) how they get from their car to their front door, it seems like there is going to be a lot of walking....

investordude
June 29th, 2006, 06:36 AM
I'm glad to see Flushing begin to branch out in terms of retail, although I hope the bookstores and healthclubs arive in Queens Crossing so we don't have to wait for the other projects.

Does anyone know if the developers plan to upgrade the quality of the building exteriors - I like Flushing but some of the buildings seem aesthetically challenged. Especially given how much good architecture there is in Asian cities like Hong Kong, seems like New York ought to get some of that as well.

Strattonport
June 30th, 2006, 02:39 PM
This week's edition of the Queens Tribune (http://www.queenstribune.com) is a special dedicated to development in the borough. There's a lot to sift through (http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/index.htm), but I'll post articles relevant to Flushing here:

Third Generation Of Muss Eyes Future
(article about Muss Development, which is building Flushing Metro Center)

By Andrew Moesel

http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg-10-muss1.jpg
Josh Muss

Over the last century, the Muss family has built a legacy in Queens and throughout the outer boroughs – quite literally.
Their company, Muss Development LLC, started by Isaac Muss in 1906, has grown from a small family business into one of the largest firms in New York City, constructing more than 10 million square feet of residential, commercial, industrial and retail space (and another 5 million square feet in the works).


Simple Beginnings


In many ways, their story reflects the American Dream: immigrants making successful lives and passing them on to future generations, becoming part of the country while also adding their cultural experiences to a vibrant melting pot. The company soon will complete a massive upscale waterfront development in Brighton Beach called Oceana, where 90 percent of the tenants boast Russian backgrounds. From immigrating themselves to making homes for successful decedents of their countrymen, the family seems to have come full circle.
A contractor from Russia, Isaac Muss moved to Brooklyn near the turn of the century and started his own construction company, teaching his 11 sons the business. The company earned a reputation for building track housing as the city expanded outward around new subway lines.
In 1924, Isaac purchased a 1,000-acre farm in Bayside and turned it into a 3,000-home community just before the Great Depression. The project marked the beginning of a long and successful history between Muss Development and Queens, where the company’s offices are now located.


Modern Muss


Despite its current size, Muss development has never lost its family roots. Joshua Muss, the grandson of Isaac, joined the company in 1965 and today runs it with his own sons, Jason and Joseph. Joshua spoke to the Tribune recently about the past and future of Queens, and how his company has played a part in shaping both.
During his long career, Muss has overseen the development of 5,000 residential units and several notable borough structures, including the New York Telephone headquarters in Jamaica (1970) and Con Edison’s old offices in Forest Hills (1982). More recently, the company has constructed successful shopping centers in both Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.


http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg-10-muss2.jpg



Flushing Town Center is a $600 million project.

But Muss Development’s most ambitious project in Queens will happen in Flushing, where the company is currently building a 3.3 million-square-foot mixed-used development on a 14-acre former industrial site. To be called Flushing Town Center, the $600 million project will have 850,000 square feet of retail space, 1,100 residential units and 2,500 parking spaces.
Although he believes many neighborhoods in Queens are ripe with development opportunities – such as Long Island City and Jamaica – Muss has always seen Flushing as an area uniquely situated for success. Even when he lived there for a short span more than 50 years ago, he felt it had a bright future.

Flushing always did it on its own – no subsidies, no capital improvements, no major development companies. But the weight of the population just kept pushing, and now there are major efforts toward the Flushing and College Point area,” Muss said. “It has tremendous potential because of the available land, proximity to public transportation and the airport, and its geographically central location.”
Queens has benefited over the last decade from a renewed confidence in the outer boroughs, Muss said, a movement spurred mostly by young professionals moving to Brooklyn as they were priced out of Manhattan. But as the Brooklyn market itself grew more expensive, city residents have looked to new areas in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.
As little as five or six years ago, Muss said there was virtually no development interest in Queens. Now it’s booming, with more building permits issued in Queens last year than in any other borough.
“New York is no longer as egocentric around Manhattan as it used to be,” Muss said. “It’s no longer an embarrassment for young professionals to admit live they live in Astoria. In fact, there’s sort of a reverse snobbery: as though anyone who can afford to live in Manhattan is obviously not one of us.”


Middle Class Preservation


But as the housing market heats up, Muss fears that rising real estate prices will alienate middle class residents from living in the boroughs. While the issue of affordable housing has made headlines in recent years, Muss saw the trend coming in the mid-90s, writing a paper on the topic in 1997 and later testifying before the City Council in 2001.


As the suburbs around New York City also grow more expensive, middle class residents – office managers, secretaries, teachers, police officers – are forced to move increasingly farther away, Muss said. Combined with climbing transportation costs, more people will find it impractical to commute, leading them to work outside the City. Muss believes that if this trend continues, New York’s traditional workforce will wither and die.


http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg-10-muss3.jpg
Muss built this Forest Hills tower in 1982


He believes there are still developers willing to build mid-rise, quality housing affordable to families making between $50,000 and $150,000, but the government should encourage such projects by offering tax credits to below-market loans and freeing labor costs to be market driven.
“I feel an obligation to be a participant in trying to find the solution,” he said.


Watching the real estate market rise and ebb over the last 40 years, Muss is reluctant to make predictions about the future – for instance, whether he views the price spike as a “housing bubble.”
But with crime rates low and the economy looking up, more people will have the desire to live in New York, and fewer people will want to leave, Muss said. With its size and resources, Queens undoubtedly will remain high on the lists of many developers for years to come, he said.
“Even if things were to slow up, and I’m not saying that they will, there’s now a foot print in Queens and that will continue,” Muss aid. “People realize there’s a future here.”

Strattonport
June 30th, 2006, 02:47 PM
2nd article -

TDC Pilots Downtown Flushing Growth
(TDC is responsible for designing Flushing Commons and is currently underseeing construction of Queens Crossing)

By Michael Rehak

http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg14tdc1.jpg
TDC President Michael Meyer.

Chances are, if you have recently traveled through downtown Flushing, you might have noticed quite a bit of construction going on near 39th Avenue and Main Street. For the next decade, expect a lot more.

Located in the heart of the borough’s most populated area is Queens Crossing – at least, it will be there soon. Its high-rise skeletal frame is shaping into a 149-foot tall structure with 12 floors of mixed-use space. It will include 110,000 square feet of retail space, 37,000 square feet for entertainment and dining, a full community facility, 144,000 square feet of office space and 86,000 square feet for valet parking.

And it is just one of TDC Development and Construction Corporation’s projects in Flushing.

Deep Roots

The group that designed Flushing’s latest mega structure was started by Taiwanese born Michael Lee 20 years ago. According to TDC President Michael Meyer, “We sell ourselves as a natural conduit for a global community."

As one of Flushing’s major developers, TDC prides itself on its ability to bring Asian design models to an area already known for its Far East culture. According to Meyer, when it comes to overseas development, TDC looks to fit the demand for American concepts.

Here in Queens, some of the group’s past projects include the 2002 award winning Sanford Tower and Prince Center. Located at 39-07 Prince St., a six story commercial building with 110,000 square feet of space was noted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce for its design. The 134,200 square foot Sanford Tower houses 82 residential units on 14 floors and was also recognized by the Queens Chamber.

The group is also responsible for the design of the Flushing Mall, the 30,000 square foot TDC Center on 41st Road, where it houses its offices, and dozens of other completed projects throughout Flushing.

Eye On The Future
Although TDC has experienced a vast amount of success with developments that are familiar sights to Flushing residents, some might say TDC has just begun to put its stamp on the neighborhood.

Now that Queens Crossing is well underway, two other major developments, ones that are even larger and more expansive, could soon be on the horizon.

Municipal Lot 1, located directly across 138th Street from Queens Crossing, is currently in the planning process to be the area’s next premier development. Since 1954, the former city owned parking facility acted as a driver’s stopping point upon entering downtown Flushing or heading to the nearby Number 7 train stop on Roosevelt Avenue.

The lot’s five acres holds more than 1,100 parking spaces on two tiers. It brings in millions of dollars each year in revenue, but many have said for some time, that it is underutilized.

http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg14tdc2.jpg
Flushing Commons is planned for Municipal Lot 1.

In 2005, the city took bids on its future. Finalists included some of the city’s biggest developers and TDC landed on top. Some $500 million has now been allocated for the site, which is expected to include a one-acre town square of open space with a fountain plaza, parking for 2,000 cars at below market rates, a 50,000 square foot recreational center featuring such amenities as a swimming pool, basketball courts and a gym, a business class hotel, 500 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail space, restaurants, a multiplex movie theater, 20,000 square feet of community space and 15,000 square feet for small professional businesses.

This development brings big market commerce to downtown Flushing to coincide with the area’s large population.

Answering The Critics

Preservations, however, claim the project will be a complete disaster for area businesses during its expected five-year construction period. They also feel the area cannot handle that much more growth. Some also say the proposed parking additions are not nearly half of what is needed already.

To TDC’s president, though, “It’s a win, win, win,” said Meyer. “What we will bring is mainstream America to balance the local feel.”

Meyer said the group’s goal with the Flushing Commons project is to bring back American bred businesses, which have nearly been shut out of Flushing since the Asian population boom back in the 1960s. Just passing through Flushing, an attempt to find an American-based company can be foolhardy. Even English signage across the tops and sides of structures is something the area has been without for decades.

The project’s condominium style apartments will be targeted to suit the needs of the local community, retaining some of the Asian culture within its development, Meyer said. But retail and dining facilities, though, will be geared to a more typical American consumer – not competing with the Asian businesses, and drawing additional interest from outside the Asian community.

http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg14tdc3.jpg
Queens Crossing is under construction.

Getting The Point?

With the size and scope of the proposed Flushing Commons, one would have to wonder if TDC might take a break as they prepare to embark on Flushing’s 21st century boom.
The answer of course is – Not a chance, as TDC has now been selected as one of the finalists in the Willets Point development plan.

Located on the outskirts of Shea Stadium, what has been known as the Iron Triangle for decades has been an eyesore for some, where stretches of unpaved roads surround small auto body and repair shops.

For shop owners, they are not only competing within spitting distance of each other in the Iron Triangle, but now they are faced with the possibly having to relocate.

For more than a year now, the city has planned to move the shops and build a convention center to coincide with the opening of the new Mets Stadium in 2009.

According to Meyer, their design calls for developing 1 million square feet of space. The proposal includes a “trade center concept,” he said, with mixed showroom, hotel, convention and office space.

About the design, “It would knock your socks off,” said Meyer, who added that renderings could not be made public because of city regulations, but the hopes are that TDC will again, come out on top in the bidding battle over Willets Point.

“I think Flushing is one of the hottest areas right now outside of Manhattan,” said Meyer. “In the next 10 years, it will see a huge transformation.”

Strattonport
June 30th, 2006, 02:52 PM
3rd article -

Parking Woes At Municipal Lot Site
(talks about Flushing Commons and the potential impact on the neighborhood during construction)

By Michael Rehak

http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg54munilot.jpg
Flushing Commons will take over Municipal Lot 1.

If you have ever taken a drive into downtown Flushing, chances are you are well aware of the five-acre, two-tiered parking facility known as Municipal Lot 1.

It exists one block east of the bustling Main Street, footsteps from the 7 train and one subway stop from Shea Stadium.

The 1,101-space Muni-metered parking lot is owned and operated by the City Of New York. In 2005, Municipal Lot 1 brought in $2.5 million in parking revenue.

It’s convenient location borders Union Street, 37th and 39th Avenues and 138th Street. The lot’s upper level offers extended 12-hour parking permits. Street level parking is priced at 25 cents for every 15 minute parking period and is valid up to three hours. The 109th Precinct also uses a number of the lot’s spaces for police vehicles.

Although the lot may sound appealing to any Flushing traveler, the city sees it as underutilized and bad for the area’s economy. In 2005, after several major developers put in their offers, it was sold.

Now owned by the TDC/Rockefeller group, a $500 million investment has been allocated for the site. The property still needs to go through a public review process for it to be developed, but Mayor Bloomberg and several of Flushing’s elected officials have already hailed their anxious approval.

According to the site’s Environmental Impact Statement provided by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Flushing Commons, as it will be called, has been drafted as a mixed-use project containing residential, commercial, retail, community facility and hotel uses. It will also include a multi-level underground parking garage and an approximately 1.5-acre town square style publicly accessible, but privately owned open space.

The site’s public review portion will include rezoning the site, a special permit for the parking garage and its designation as a Large Scale Development. The development will also need a special permit to allow the heights of its buildings to exceed the standard for properties in proximity to major airports.

The parking garage has been proposed to include nearly 1,000 more spaces than the current lot occupies. Four high-rise buildings will accompany the lot from above and could reach up to 18 stories high.

The five-year construction period is expected to bring in 2,000 construction jobs and 2,000 more when the project is completed. The developer has also promised to kick in millions of dollars for area businesses’ hardships and the city has also said it could give some tax breaks

Despite the efforts, however, opposition to the plan has continued to grow. Small businesses located in sight of the property claim it will be their demise. The main issue that opponents have fought hardest about is that parking is already a major problem in the area and a lengthy construction period, which could displace parking to Shea Stadium and other underutilized areas, would drive away local customers.

Local business owners have argued that if the site is developed, parking needs to be increased by as much as 2,000 more spaces than proposed – for a total of about 4,000. This new fight has emerged on the heels of a city Economic Development Corp. report that recommends eliminating 300 street parking spots along Main Street and Union Street to accommodate vehicular traffic. Though the EDC has approved the Flushing Commons concept, significant changes to the project could occur well before any steel gets set in the ground.

Strattonport
June 30th, 2006, 02:54 PM
4th article -

City Readies For Willets Point Facelift
(talks about plans for redeveloping Willets Points)

By Ellen Thompson

http://www.queenstribune.com/guides/2006_BusinessBook/images/pg57shea2.jpg
One plan for the development of Willets Point.

The crumbling streets of Willets Point, home to more than 250 independent businesses, could soon be transformed into one of the most profitable plots of land Queens has ever seen in practically no time.

When Queens Borough President Helen Marshall began calling for the upheaval of the Iron Triangle’s auto-repair shops and junkyards so that they could be replaced by an act of eminent domain with more economically viable businesses, some nationally respected development organizations were listening.

Eight developers, including Forest City Ratner, Vornado Realty Trust, Westfield, Muss and the local TDC Corporation were chosen as finalists to redevelop the 75-acre Willets Point area by the New York City Economic Development Corporation this spring.

This is not the first time the city has stepped in to claim land used by businesses in the name of economic development. Radio Row in Lower Manhattan was destroyed, five streets were closed off and 164 buildings were demolished to make way for the World Trade Center.

The $2 billion to $3 billion effort to redevelop the 13-block area of Willets Point bordered by Corona and Flushing and known as the Iron Triangle is one step closer to breaking ground now that the EDC has culled through responses to a public Request For Proposals to develop the site. The city is looking to hire on consultants to help with the Environmental Impact Statements.

“Willets Point and the surrounding neighborhood presents challenging, but potentially highly rewarding, development opportunities,” said EDC President Andrew Alper when the finalists were chosen. “With the new Mets Stadium project moving forward, the area presents even greater development potential.”

The area to be developed is directly between Downtown Flushing, which is in the midst of massive redevelopment and growth, and the site of the new Mets stadium, scheduled to open in 2009.

The new Willets Point is expected to be a 1 million-square-foot retail dream. According to the City’s vision, a mini–Javits complex, with an exposition center, a hotel with at least 250 rooms, pedestrian walkways, open space and the beginnings of a brand-new neighborhood will be placed in what is now landfill and auto repair shops.

Early last month, finalists submitted the last round of proposals, which are expected to create “a regional destination,” promote “economic growth and additional private investment” and improve the quality of life for area residents, according to the EDC. The proposals included superior and sustainable architecture, a pedestrian-friendly environment and some sensitivity to the natural landscape.

The city’s timetable calls for current businesses to start relocating in 2008, and, as in other development projects around the city, property owners at Willets Point could leave voluntarily or be forced out by eminent domain. Since the EDC is encouraging private development on the 75 acres, the EDC could not say to whom the land would belong after the project is put in place.

No completion date is set as of yet, but the economic possibilities along those crumbling streets could be endless.

investordude
June 30th, 2006, 04:35 PM
Is there any thought of improving public transportation (bus?) between Forest Hills/Jamaica and Flushing? It seems like this would significantly reduce vehicle traffic - most LIRR and subway lines could connect the places so that people didn't need to drive - might also reduce traffic snarls related to the Mets as a side effect.

Is this considered as an option in the environmental impact study?

Strattonport
July 6th, 2006, 12:20 AM
Is there any thought of improving public transportation (bus?) between Forest Hills/Jamaica and Flushing? It seems like this would significantly reduce vehicle traffic

There isn't anything specified in that regard in the articles I posted. One of the reasons some residents are opposed to Flushing Commons is because of the potential for more traffic.

It should be noted there is no bus depot in Flushing, or even a layover-style area (like in Jamaica) where buses can park with no interferance. Many of these lines have stops adjacent to the sidewalk where passengers are dumped into other pedestrians, increasing congestion.


- most LIRR and subway lines could connect the places so that people didn't need to drive - might also reduce traffic snarls related to the Mets as a side effect.

Like extending existing lines you mean? Extra LIRR service is offered on the Port Washington line during Mets games, I believe.


Is this considered as an option in the environmental impact study?

Look for yourself:

Environmental Assessment Statement (http://www.nyc.gov/html/oec/downloads/pdf/flushing_commons_EAS.pdf)

Draft Scope of Work (http://www.nyc.gov/html/oec/downloads/pdf/flushing_commons_draft_scope.pdf)

Strattonport
July 6th, 2006, 03:05 PM
investordude, I managed to find something that may be relevant to improving transit in the area. It seems the MTA is currently studying the feasibility of Bus Rapid Transit (http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mta/planning/brt/index.html) (BRT) in the area. Look here (http://www.mta.nyc.ny.us/mta/planning/brt/projectupdate.htm) where corridors have been selected, a route between Flushing and Jamaica being one of them.

investordude
July 6th, 2006, 10:59 PM
That's a great link. Thanks. Certainly seems more and more the city is waking up to see Flushing's potential.

investordude
July 19th, 2006, 08:06 AM
These projects look like things that may make the area more pleasant, though possibly not less congested: http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=16917931&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574902&rfi=6. I'd like to see them coupled with attempts to make the river usable for recreational purposes, but my guess is that may come later.

Strattonport
July 19th, 2006, 09:39 AM
While those projects are admirable, there is still a major issue they need to deal with - smell. I think the last thing I'd want to do is sit down on a bench and take in the stink that wafts from all the store runoff.

As for the Lippmann reconstruction, that is great news. I just hope the illegal merchants don't set shop there again.

investordude
July 19th, 2006, 02:59 PM
There is a BID in Flushing now, so if all the retailers move in to Queens and Flushing Commons, etc, they should continue to be able to invest in improving conditions there. Also, as prices in the area rise, I think restaurants will be replaced by less food-oriented retail. I'm actually kind of bummed about that, because I confess aside from real estate I love going to Flushing to eat as I really like authentic Chinese food. But as the concentration subsides a little, so will food related odors I think - hopefully its the best restaurants that survive higher rents.

investordude
July 20th, 2006, 10:11 PM
There's a fairly nice looking mid-rise building going up just off of Main Street called Victoria Tower. The brick finish looks fairly nice - it's not post-modern glassy but for a brick building it looks good to me. I unfortunately didn't get to photo it though.

submachine
July 27th, 2006, 01:21 PM
There's a fairly nice looking mid-rise building going up just off of Main Street called Victoria Tower. The brick finish looks fairly nice - it's not post-modern glassy but for a brick building it looks good to me. I unfortunately didn't get to photo it though.

Thats been going up for over three years, they like to take their time in Flushing

Strattonport
July 28th, 2006, 08:44 PM
SUCCESS STORY The Man Behind The Flushing Renaissance
Thursday, July 13, 2006 1:58 PM CDT
Link (http://queenscourier.com/articles/2006/07/28/special/business/news02.txt)
http://queenscourier.com/content/articles/2006/07/28/special/business/news02_thumb.jpg
Michael B. Meyer, President, F&T Group

Michael Meyer is helping to lead the Renaissance of downtown Flushing.

With a vast and varied background that includes serving as lead executive and negotiator for the city of Miami Beach in the $250 million development of two convention center hotels and a parking garage, Meyer - currently the president of F&T Group, a real estate development company - aims to make Flushing a “destination location.”

“There will be a transformation of downtown Flushing [from Main Street to Shea Stadium],” he said. “Its time has come. In 10 years it won't be recognized. It's an exciting place.”

Hoping to launch the area as the business and cultural center of Queens, Meyer is working with F&T Vice President of Architecture and Planning Howard Hsu and Sunny Chu, his partner, on mixed-use projects that will make Flushing a retail, housing, sports and entertainment center.

One such undertaking is Queens Crossing, located at 38-25 Main Street.

Slated to open in December, the 407,000 square foot development will include 85,000 square feet of retail space, 80 state-of-the-art condominiums, and a 400-car underground parking garage.

On July 12, 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that awarding F&T and partners the rights to develop Flushing Commons, located on the site of Municipal Parking Lot #1, was “The biggest thing to happen to Flushing since the arrival of the Mets.”

Scheduled to break ground next year, the project will boast 330,000 square feet of high quality retail space, a Multi-Plex theatre, 200 room luxury hotel, 500 condominiums, 100,000 square feet of cultural facilities and 200 parking spaces.

Other projects on the horizon include the Future Flushing Mall, scheduled for construction between 2008 and 2011; the Waterfront Promenade; and the World Trade Center Queens, 75 acres slated to become a “city within a city” with a hotel and expo site. Currently, F&T is one of the final six bidders for this area.

F&T estimates that, through their $5 billion investment over the course of 10 years, 20,000 new jobs will be created.

In that time, Flushing will become a thriving cultural, recreation and economic epicenter where ethnicities interface.

According to the NYC Economic Development Corporation, “Downtown Flushing will become a center of urban activity ... It will be where people come to experience the best of Queens.”

Prior to his appointment as President of the F&T Group, Meyer started his consulting firm, Quest International, Inc. providing real estate advisory and hotel asset management services to such clients as Ty Warner Hotels and Resorts and the Empire State Development Corporation. Prior to running Quest, Meyer was a Global Lead at Accenture, the world's leading management and technology services organization, formerly Andersen Consulting. In that capacity he was responsible for Accenture's worldwide real estate portfolio and office operations.

Before joining Accenture, Meyer was a Vice President of Tishman Realty & Construction focusing on hotel development and consulting. He first started in the real estate and hospitality industry as the Owner's Representative for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey at the Vista Hotel at the World Trade Center.

Meyer holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA from Oberlin College where he majored in English Literature.

Strattonport
July 28th, 2006, 08:54 PM
Willets Point businesses unite to fight relocation
BY PETE DAVIS (pdavis@queenscourier.com)
Thursday, July 27, 2006 3:13 PM CDT
Link (http://queenscourier.com/articles/2006/07/28/news/news02.txt)
More than a month after the deadline for the Requests For Proposals (RFP) concerning the development of the Willets Point area, some of the local existing business owners are joining together to create a coalition against the development plans that would force them to relocate from their current location.

The merchants in the area currently employ nearly 1,800 people and vow to speak out against the City's plans to redevelop the area.

“First, the city neglects to maintain an adequate infrastructure for local businesses and then those same businesses, which contribute greatly to our economy, are punished for the government's failures,” said Dan Scully of Tully Construction. “Our combined economic future remains uncertain and it's a total disgrace.”

According to a study conducted Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development, 68 percent of all firms in the area have been in business for five or more years and that 90 percent of the jobs are full-time with 75 percent all the area's employees residing in Queens.

“Our company's 110 employees are primarily immigrants who live in the surrounding residential community and have families with school age children,” said Neil Soni of House of Spices, the largest employer in the area. “They work very hard and are able to survive because their jobs are close to home and family.”

The redevelopment plan has garnered support from a number of Queens politicians including Borough President Helen Marshall, but many of the businesses in the coalition plan to launch a public awareness campaign informing New Yorkers about their fight.

investordude
July 29th, 2006, 05:31 AM
I like this Meyer guy as I think its great someone has the courage to step up and see that Flushing is a significant, still underutilized resource for New York. My one caution would be I think that the city shouldn't give all these projects to one developer - that poses some antitrust risks I feel just because the amount of land he'd end up owning seems really very large. I'd be especially concerned he could make agreements that aren't beneficial - like tell Borders that if they rent in Queens Crossing he won't rent to Barnes and Noble in any of his other properties. Normally I think landlords should be allowed to do this - unless he owns so much key property there is no way for Barnes and Noble to find a viable location.

I'm glad they don't own the Caldor site though. I'd like to see Vornado make something good out of that Caldor store - its such a good location to lie dormant like that.

tmg
July 31st, 2006, 10:01 AM
I like this Meyer guy as I think its great someone has the courage to step up and see that Flushing is a significant, still underutilized resource for New York.

Sorry, I'm not sure I agree. I don't agree with his vision for Flushing.


TDC Pilots Downtown Flushing Growth
(TDC is responsible for designing Flushing Commons and is currently underseeing construction of Queens Crossing)

By Michael Rehak

“It’s a win, win, win,” said Meyer. “What we will bring is mainstream America to balance the local feel.”

Meyer said the group’s goal with the Flushing Commons project is to bring back American bred businesses, which have nearly been shut out of Flushing since the Asian population boom back in the 1960s. Just passing through Flushing, an attempt to find an American-based company can be foolhardy. Even English signage across the tops and sides of structures is something the area has been without for decades.

The project’s condominium style apartments will be targeted to suit the needs of the local community, retaining some of the Asian culture within its development, Meyer said. But retail and dining facilities, though, will be geared to a more typical American consumer – not competing with the Asian businesses, and drawing additional interest from outside the Asian community.


Flushing is unique, and we should be seeking to build on this uniqueness. It doesn't need an influx of chain stores. That sounds to be what he's hoping to achieve.

There are a tremendous number of high-end Asian retailers that could be encouraged to open branches in New York given the right opportunity. Given Flushing's burgeoning Korean population, I think seeking Korean commercial and retail investment would be a smart strategy. Does the neighborhood really need suburban mall-style investment?

investordude
July 31st, 2006, 02:16 PM
I think diversity is good. It's also compatible. The Barnes and Noble in Fort Lee is well used, for example, and doesn't drive away Asian oriented businesses that surround it. Or look at San Gabriel, California. They have a mall, which has mainstream items as well as things to attract and support local demographics. I think the local community wants more mainstream retailers to complement what they already have, which is why he's pushing it. I think that's good, and I'm pretty sure retailers will make adjustments to attract the local population.

Derek2k3
July 31st, 2006, 02:44 PM
They have a few buildings going up in Flushing on here.
Dickson Arts
http://www.dicarts.com/renderings.htm

http://www.dicarts.com/37th%20Ave.jpg

Strattonport
August 4th, 2006, 09:54 PM
What a building! An improvement from the other apartments there at the moment.

krulltime
August 10th, 2006, 03:03 PM
Flushing Focus


August 9, 2006

A Canadian investment firm is betting it can find profits in New York City's slowing condominium market by targeting the growing Chinese immigrant community in the Queens neighborhood of Flushing.

Onex Real Estate, a division of Toronto-based Onex Corp., is developing a $1 billion retail and residential project in Flushing Town Center in partnership with Queens-based firm Muss Development LLC. The venture will include an 800,000-square-foot shopping center and 1,100 condos priced from an estimated $300,000 to $1.7 million.

Onex executives, who previously had been in the area only en route to the nearby U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows, chose the property after noticing Flushing's home-ownership levels and employment-growth rates are higher than the borough average. Flushing has benefited from soaring prices in Manhattan's Chinatown that have pushed Chinese immigrants out to Flushing. According to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000, Asians account for 44.4% of Flushing's population.

Onex executives hope to avoid competing with the glut of condos expected to come to market throughout the rest of the city by focusing on Flushing. "Outside of Manhattan, this is the most vibrant 24-hour community," says Michael Dana, Onex's chief executive.

Muss Development, which has owned the 14-acre site for 20 years and recently chose Onex as its equity partner, is keeping in mind the preferences of the area's immigrants. The firm hired a consultant to use principles of feng shui -- an ancient Chinese method of evaluating the shape and position of manmade structures in relation to their environment. The first residential floor is on the eighth floor because eight is considered a favorable number in China.


Copyright © 2006 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Strattonport
August 28th, 2006, 03:55 PM
Developer Wants To Change RKO Plan
By BRIAN M. RAFFERTY

Link to article (http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1156617282.html)

The plans to develop the RKO Keith’s theater property on Northern Boulevard in Flushing may have to go back to the drawing board now that the developer is seeking to add home businesses to the site.

A special meeting of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 7 was planned for this Thursday night to discuss adding “occupation residences” to the property, a concept that some feel might have an effect on traffic – one of the sticking points in all phases of the plans to develop the dilapidated landmark theater property.

“They’d like to change about 25 percent of the units to make much larger lofts, 2,000 to 2,500 square feet each,” CB7 Land Use Committee Chair Charles Apelian said. “They want to market the spaces as home occupation residences.”

Boymelgreen Developers, who won approval for their plans from the City Board of Standards and Appeals in December, went back to the agency recently to discuss the changes. The BSA sent the developer back to the Community Board, the opinion of which had been instrumental in finalizing the development plans.

The plans had transformed from a mix of retail, business and residential to 200 condominium apartments with a senior center and parking for 229 vehicles. To change the marketing of the property to encourage home businesses to locate at the site could have an impact on traffic patterns and the need for parking.

Representatives of Boymelgreen will be at the meeting to discuss some of the problems they have encountered in the design process.

But the design alone may not be the only problem. Rumors have circulated that Boymelgreen has been trying to unload the property, that the changes necessary would be too costly and cut to deeply into the profit margin.

TDC Development President Michael Meyer, whose firm is developing Flushing Commons on Municipal Lot 1 and whose Queens Crossing on Main Street is already well under construction, said that despite rumors, his company has not been offered the RKO Keith’s property. He did acknowledge that rumors are running around the developers in Queens that Boymelgreen is trying to sell the property.

“I cannot make any comment on somebody else remarks,” Boymelgreen developer Israel Vranaski said of the rumors, though he did not flatly deny that the property was being pitched around.

He said that the change his group is seeking is “something very minor regarding the inside divide of apartments. There is no change in overall square footage or in the number of units.”

He declined to make any further comments.

Local officials who cheered the decision of the BSA in December are still hopeful that shovels will soon be put in the ground and work will begin on the property.

“I’m tired of passing northern Boulevard and Main Street and seeing the eyesore that’s been known as the RKO Keith’s,” Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said. “I was delighted when we finally came to agreement for the variance for the developers proposal. I am convinced that any difficulties can be resolved.”

“Boymelgreen has been making progress toward the point of getting the shovels in the ground,” Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing) said. “They want to make a modification, and I would certainly expect the community board to think carefully about it.”

As to the rumors of the sale, Liu said he had spoken personally with the head of Boymelgreen, and he “made it clear that he was interested in seeing the fruition of the RKO project.”

“We are all looking forward to bringing this project back from the dead,” Liu added. “I trust that the community board will make the right decision.”

Strattonport
September 13th, 2006, 08:24 PM
Asia Pacific Opens In Heart Of Flushing
Link to article (http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1157603479.html)
By ELLEN THOMPSON

Online investors in Flushing now have more support than ever, with the opening of Scottrade’s first Asia Pacific branch in New York.

Scottrade, a leading online brokerage that serves individual investors who are comfortable making their own investment decisions, opened its branch doors at 36-60 Main St. in downtown Flushing Aug. 21.

“The Flushing branch is located in a very convenient location for our customers,” said Tim Leung, branch manager for the Flushing office. “We are located in a commercial area, near a lot of shops. The branch office is located close to the subway station and there is a big municipal parking lot nearby.”

The new branch, staffed with bilingual brokers fluent in Chinese and English, will provide what the community needs as the lure of online investing broadens, said Rodger Riney, Scottrade president and CEO.

“Our new Asia Pacific branch in Flushing is dedicated to providing personal customer service to our customers in the area,” he added. Scottrade is currently ranked “Highest” in Investor Satisfaction with Online Trading Services by J.D. Power and Associates.

While Scottrade is does not provide advice, branches are available to provide customer support, answer questions about customers’ accounts and give tutorials on the company’s trading platforms. Most of Scottrade’s customers trade online, but 275 local branches are available throughout the country to provide customer service, including 14 in New York. In addition to its online capabilities, Scottrade staffs each branch location with a licensed branch manager plus additional brokers and assistants.

Other Asia Pacific offices are located in California in San Francisco, San Gabriel and Rowland Heights. Scottrade also has a Chinese version of its Web site, chinese.scottrade.com, and a Chinese-language trading platform available to customers in the United States, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan to increase trading.

The Flushing branch is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at (718) 321-8542.

Strattonport
September 13th, 2006, 08:26 PM
Developer Will Sell If RKO Plan Nixed
Link to article (http://www.queenstribune.com/news/1157229025.html)
By ELLEN THOMPSON
http://www.queenstribune.com/upload/images/deadline2_083106.jpg
It is possible that the RKO Keith’s site in Flushing will be sold. Tribune photo by Ira Cohen

“I almost want to see this building built more than anyone else sitting around this table,” licensed architect Jay Valgora said of the proposed plans for the dormant RKO Keith’s site in Flushing.

“I’ve invested so much of myself into these renderings that it almost makes my stomach sick with pain,” he added during an emergency meeting between Community Board 7’s Land Use Committee and Boymelgreen Developers last Thursday night.

When both parties agreed on a plan of 200 condominium apartments with a senior center and parking for 229 vehicles last December, they walked away relieved the 20-year battle over the landmark building was behind them, that the dilapidated theater property would finally be restored.

However, when the site’s developer, Boymelgreen Associates, recently mentioned the addition of “occupation residences” to the property, that sense of relief was washed away as the board stopped in its tracks raising question after question to the developers. Many of the questions surrounding parking, traffic and the definition of “occupation residencies.”

Boymelgreen representatives told the board that the plans would essentially remain the same, except for the depth of a handful of the apartments and the placement of windows. Overall, Boymelgreen developer Israel Vranaski assured the members that just because the word “occupation” was tagged on that it wouldn’t become a commercial property.

“What is really driving this is that the renderings weren’t correct when I took this project over. We need to add more window space to the apartments and to do so we’d have to change their dimension,” said Vranaski, noting that by increasing the size of the apartment he would have to market it differently if he wanted to come out even, hence tagging on “occupation.”

“Whose to say some guy isn’t going to come into one of these apartments thinking he can make it his business and then the next thing you know, you got three more guys coming in the door saying they’re part of the business. Who’s going to stop that? Not the police or the Department of Buildings, I’ll tell you that,” CB7 member Eugene Kelty said. “And if you’ve got these occupational residences opening, where are the clients going to park? It just doesn’t fit. We didn’t agree in December just to come back and argue about windows. Let’s stick with what we agreed on.”

No matter how much the parties involved argued back and forth, Boymelgreen made it clear that an agreement needed to be reached or the project would not come to fruition. The developer would have to sell the property and take a loss smaller than the one they would face if they built the site to plan.

Rumors have swirled regarding the sale of the property, even that it had been offered to TDC, who is currently building Flushing Commons and will develop Municipal Lot 1 on downtown Flushing. TDC allegedly turned it down, in part due to the site’s poor Feng Shui, insiders said.

nyterp
September 28th, 2006, 11:52 PM
Im thinking of getting a place in flushing, but every time I go there traffic on main street is terrible, there isnt any parking, and the lines are terrible. Am I missing something? Are they going to change the infrastructure to handle all the new people these condos and offices are going to create? Thanks.

antinimby
September 29th, 2006, 01:26 PM
nyterp, if that stuff bothers you that much, I would suggest that you avoid that part of town.

One of the best assets of that area is that it is bustling and busy. We don't want it to be another empty and sterile suburban townsquare just so you can get to where you want to go quickly.

There are plenty of other places that will suit you much better.

investordude
September 29th, 2006, 06:46 PM
I believe both Flushing Town Square and the Flushing Commons developments include significant parking underground. But antinimby is right that the streets of Flushing are likely to stay packed and urban, which I also think is neat.

nyterp
September 30th, 2006, 06:32 PM
about the number of people and the energy on the street. But even in midtown they try to keep the traffic moving, and they do have some paid parking in the area. If you want to make it a destination you have to make some allowances for people who drive in. That being said, unless I have something really large I plan on walking. Its a much better experience



nyterp, if that stuff bothers you that much, I would suggest that you avoid that part of town.

One of the best assets of that area is that it is bustling and busy. We don't want it to be another empty and sterile suburban townsquare just so you can get to where you want to go quickly.

There are plenty of other places that will suit you much better.

antinimby
October 2nd, 2006, 01:54 PM
nyterp, your concerns about infrastructure and parking is irrational.

There's a couple of new modest-size developments in Flushing (one of which is not even for certain), and you make sound as if it was Shanghai.

Let me ask you, there's a 90-story, 2.4 MILLION sf !! Trump Tower going up in Chicago right now.

http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/4765/ttc8qr8.jpg

If according to you, when something that massive (which btw makes what is going up in Flushing looks like chump change), then Chicago would need to rip up the entire city and build highways and subways just to accommodate the newcomers. Sounds silly now, doesn't it?

If you make find parking space difficult, it'll force drivers to abandon their cars and use transit instead.

Another thing, I advocate high density developments with good mass transit. This is what New York (Manhattan) is all about. The opposite model (which now we realize is a mistake) is the car-dependent, spread-out, suburban sprawl (Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, etc.).

Building more infrastructure to accommodate automobiles and drivers is no longer not smart public planning. This is what you are asking for.

Even LA is realizing their past mistakes and is desperately trying change (http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=115446). Ironic that New Yorkers like yourself, are now unknowingly making the same mistake.

nyterp
October 4th, 2006, 12:22 AM
Well, despite your condescending attitude, ive still decided to live in flushing not only for the infrastructure of the commercial district but the potential it has in the future. I just hope it keeps its feel and we dont see too many big box stores like target. I know the building on the corner of college point and roosevelt will have a few, I hope it doent push out the smaller vendors that are in the area. BTW, does anyone know if home depot opens in that spot, are they going to close the one just north of northern blvd?

investordude
October 4th, 2006, 10:34 AM
antinimby, I also hate NIMBY types, but that's when they outlaw development. nyterp was just asking questions, not trying to outlaw anything. In fact, seems like he likes Flushing and is looking to improve the area. FWIW, I do think the place could use a bus depot, for example, to get buses off the street, as well as more parking.

By the way, I love Flushing, but I think it serves a different purpose and is not in the same league as Chicago's central business district.

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 02:24 PM
Well, despite your condescending attitude,Well, welcome to the forum.
FYI, my posts weren't condescending at all.

In fact, if care to look around here, you'll see that it was actually quite a run-of-the-mill discussion. Trust me, it gets a lot more heated than the four posts we've had. ;)

I've been through this many times. This is nothing. Don't be so sensitive.

Would you have felt better if I had thrown in a bunch of "pleases" and "thank you's?" :D



ive still decided to live in flushing not only for the infrastructure of the commercial district but the potential it has in the future.Good for you.
I too lived in Flushing recently and depending on your attitude towards urban, high density living, you will either love it or hate it.

It was from my initial impression of you, was that you were type that hated the lively nature of Flushing but still decided to go there and hoped it would change.

I don't care for those type of people.

Don't get me wrong, I believe there are all types of places for all types of people.

I just don't like people going to a place that's the very antithesis of what they prefer and then complain that it should be changed to meet their tastes.

It's like someone from a small town who's used to and likes the slow pace decides to move to Manhattan of all places, and wished it was more like their former town.

Can't they go to Buffalo or Yakima instead?

Do you get my point?

With that said, I'm not saying you are like that, it was just the impression I got, which you are apparently telling me that you are not.



I just hope it keeps its feel and we dont see too many big box stores like target. I know the building on the corner of college point and roosevelt will have a few, I hope it doent push out the smaller vendors that are in the area.Here is where we can both agree.

We don't need any more suburban mall stores.

That is not what we want to see in the city, whether it's Kew Gardens or the Lower East Side.

A few here and there is okay but not a proliferation.

I guess the best we can do is to voice our opinion with our pocket books. Just don't buy from them (big box stores that is).

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 03:05 PM
antinimby, I also hate NIMBY types, but that's when they outlaw development.Oh but my friend, this is where you are wrong.
From my observations, NIMBYs rarely outlaw developments entirely (at least not the New York variety, can't speak for other locales).
Their MO is always to scale down or change the nature of the development.



nyterp was just asking questions, not trying to outlaw anything.And in the process, he/she was implying some opinions. Re-read the initial posts and tell me that you couldn't see that. I then tried to get my opinions across as well. Nothing wrong with that, either way.

This is an informal forum, if you are so sensitive (which btw, I find very un-New York like) there's nothing I can do.



In fact, seems like he likes Flushing and is looking to improve the area.Almost all NIMBYs like their places of residence and their intent is always to improve it. I have never heard of a NIMBY looking to degrade their own neighborhoods.

It's not their intention but their misguided beliefs that is in question.



FWIW, I do think the place could use a bus depot, for example, to get buses off the street, as well as more parking.Like I said a few posts earlier, creating more parking spaces will only make traffic worse, not better. Back in the 60's and 70's, places like LA thought the way to alleviate their freeway congestion was to build more freeways and to widen existent ones as well.

That seems logical, doesn't it?

Well, guess what?

They later found out that building more freeways only made traffic worse because it only encouraged more drivers to drive more. You don't see them looking to build more now, do you? In fact, they're now learning from places like New York and trying to build more mass transit, despite exorbitant costs.

Imagine if their leaders had the foresight to do that in the past instead of catering to the car-culture?

It's the same here. You don't build more highways and use precious land to accommodate automobiles. That is not the solution.

With subways, buses and the LIRR, I would dare say that Flushing itself has better mass transit than 98% of the cities in this car-dependent country. Its transit infrastructure can handle a lot more people than it is now.

I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, because there always is. It's just that what we've got now is way more than adequate.

Anyway, the outer boroughs like Queens should not look to other parts of this country for inspiration. Instead, we should look to Europe, where mass transit is popular and is less car-friendly.



By the way, I love Flushing, but I think it serves a different purpose and is not in the same league as Chicago's central business district.I used Chicago to make a point about development growth and whether there is a need to build parking for it, not to make a city comparision between the two places.

pianoman11686
October 4th, 2006, 05:04 PM
They later found out that building more freeways only made traffic worse because it only encouraged more drivers to drive more. You don't see them looking to build more now, do you? In fact, they're now learning from places like New York and trying to build more mass transit, despite exorbitant costs.

Not to get this conversation any further off-topic, but I couldn't resist. :)

We still spend MUCH more money on highway improvements and expansions, as a country, than we do on mass transit. The disparity is almost pathetic. Part of the reason is that the car-culture is so entrenched, that building a light-rail system in places like Atlanta or Dallas is almost like throwing money in the trash: no one uses it. And, traffic is still horrible, which means highways are still being widened, and in some cases, new ones are being laid out (it's happening here in North Carolina, too).


Imagine if their leaders had the foresight to do that in the past instead of catering to the car-culture?

You're over-simplifying the explosive beginnings of true freeway construction. The interstate was in large part a result of our need for an efficient, reliable, and all-encompassing network of roads that can transfer goods and people from one part of the country to the other, in the event of a Soviet missile strike.

Once the freeways were constructed, suburbs started multiplying on the outskirts of cities, and people started driving more, and traffic increased, and then we had to build more roads and widen existing ones, etc. Now we're stuck with the current mess we have.


With subways, buses and the LIRR, I would dare say that Flushing itself has better mass transit than 98% of the cities in this car-dependent country. Its transit infrastructure can handle a lot more people than it is now.

It also has one of the densest concentrations of highways anywhere in the country, and traffic's pretty bad, too. Makes you wonder how many more people can fit in Queens.

Okay, side-track rant over. :D

ramvid01
October 4th, 2006, 05:46 PM
It also has one of the densest concentrations of highways anywhere in the country, and traffic's pretty bad, too. Makes you wonder how many more people can fit in Queens.

I think that has to do more with the fact that the 7 train terminates there, and that many people are getting a ride home instead of taking a bus (I don't necessarily blame them).

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 08:33 PM
pianoman, I was talking traffic-clogged cities like LA, not interstate highways going through the countryside.

If LA had followed the NY model of high density, mass transit-oriented development, the sprawl and the need to connect them would have never came about or if it did, would not have been as severe.

Of course, federal spending is mostly on roadways and not mass transit. Like I said, this country is still predominately auto-centric.

I'm talking about building within the major cities like LA, Phoenix, Dallas, San Diego, Houston etc.

In a way, I guess it was better for New York that those other cities didn't copy New York's model. I mean, that would have meant more competition for us.

Like it or not, New York is constantly in competition against other cities for business, visitors, residents, etc.

One of New York's advantages and asset is our extensive subway system. Let's build on that, not go backwards and make it car-friendly.

pianoman11686
October 4th, 2006, 10:39 PM
LA's case is unique, because of the seismic risks. Building underground isn't exactly the most prudent idea.

Doesn't change the fact that you missed my point, though. Of course I wasn't focusing on backwater interstates where the exits are 10 miles apart. The whole point of the interstate system was to connect population centers, which means you'll invariably encounter vast expanses of nothingness in going from Point A to Point B. The fact that these interstates began and ended at major urban areas allowed people to move further and further away from the city center, yet still be reasonably close (time-wise) because of the enhanced speed on these futuristic freeways.

Look around any major metropolitan area. With the exception of certain locally-funded toll roads, such as the Garden State Parkway, you'll find that most highways are part of the interstate system. The BQE is, as is the LIE, the Major Deegan, the Cross Bronx, and the Staten Island Expressway (just to name a few). These all criss-cross within the boundaries of New York City, and most of them terminate or feed into suburban thoroughfares.

LA's no different: I-10 goes all the way from Santa Monica, through Downtown, and out to Ontario, San Bernardino, and eventually to Palm Springs. I've driven on this highway a few times, and it is littered with shopping centers, mini business-districts, and cookie-cutter residential communities across its entire length. It's also gridlocked at almost every hour of the day, in either direction.

Suffice it to say that, whether it was inevitable or not, the construction of our interstate system directly led to the spread of the auto-culture and the rise of suburbs. In way too many areas, it's too entrenched to get people to change and use mass transit, and it's not that easy to blame city governments for their failure to change this.

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 10:47 PM
You're not saying anything new. Just because interstates go through a city doesn't mean the city has to rely on it for it's transportation needs.
You brought up the BQE and that illustrates my point very well.
New York is not dependent on the BQE. Things can get pretty ugly traffic wise without it but the city won't come to a standstill w/o it.

If the subways should stop running, like what we had a little taste of earlier this year, then the city just about shuts down.
That's the difference.

That's my point. I understand your point, now do you understand mine?

pianoman11686
October 4th, 2006, 11:03 PM
Yes, I've understood that point all along: New York's transportation system is far superior, because of its reliance on mass transit. But it still needs those highways as much as any other city does: last time I drove on the BQE, they were expanding it, and traffic was bumper to bumper at noon on a lazy summer Friday. Moreover, the road was packed with truckers. Don't get me started about how shortsighted our politicians were in not building a dedicated freight railway...

The kind of side-point that I was making was in reference to your generalization about the failure of cities to deal with the car-culture early on. Here's another way of thinking about it, that makes my point a little more relevant:

In the early 1900s, New York had one of the highest, if not the highest, population densities in the world. Mass transportation of people over such a small area required trains - elevated and subway. That's what created the earliest lines, and as the population expanded geographically, subways followed suit, eventually reaching every corner of the city.

Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco - also densely populated cities in the early 20th century - did similar things, on a smaller scale. All these other characters (LA, Atlanta, Dallas, Phoenix, Denver, etc.) did not expand in population until the mid-20th century. By then, freeway construction was already under way. People bought cars, and moved further out to the suburbs, which became the new "American Dream". Now they've got sprawl and traffic problems, and little room or desire to build subways.

It's a matter of different needs under different contexts. Not exactly the same thing as lack of foresight.

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 11:07 PM
It's a matter of different needs under different contexts. Not exactly the same thing as lack of foresight.So are you saying they did have foresight and knew about future traffic and pollution problems and still decided to go with highways anyway?

pianoman11686
October 4th, 2006, 11:16 PM
No, not at all - don't be so literal.

You said it was lack of foresight, and I'm saying it wasn't exactly that. The context, which was beyond their control, was different.

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 11:25 PM
I'm not trying to but with these forums, we can only go with what is written.

Anyway, getting back...

So you say that it wasn't exactly the lack of foresight.

Let me ask you this then. If they did have foresight, would the planners for these cities still have done what they did or maybe they would have done things a little differently?

antinimby
October 4th, 2006, 11:31 PM
LA's case is unique, because of the seismic risks. Building underground isn't exactly the most prudent idea.Ah, but they have. LA's got a little subway system going for sometime now. In fact, they're looking to expand it.

investordude
October 5th, 2006, 01:04 AM
Without a doubt, New Yorks primary means of transit is and should be rail. But I think there is a lot to be gained by improving parking in Flushing. What would be bad is if the parking is added in a way that is not pedestrian friendly. But no one is suggesting that - the Flushing Commons plan would knock down an open air parking lot and put it beneath a pedestrian oriented mixed use facility, right?

Also, many people in Flushing's more affluent Asian American communities upgrade to the car oriented nabes in Bayside, or to Forest Hills, which is not connected to Flushing by mass transit. For them, I think the evil dastardly car becomes a way to connect with cultural amenities as they become more prosperous and move to other places. If mass transit can't accomodate it, I'm all for adding as much parking as is needed to keep that going.

pianoman11686
October 5th, 2006, 01:42 AM
Let me ask you this then. If they did have foresight, would the planners for these cities still have done what they did or maybe they would have done things a little differently?

I don't see the point in asking that question. Hindsight is always 20/20, so you can always say that things would have been done differently if we knew what the outcome would be 50 years down the line. And once again, I'll reiterate the point that I made before (which I thought you got already): putting the blame squarely on the planners is unrealistic, because there were other forces involved. Namely, they didn't give rise to the car-culture as a result of their decisions; on the contrary, their decisions were being made within the context of an already existing car-culture, which arose independently of local planning authorities.

Perhaps this excerpt from Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_County_Metro_Rail) will clear it up for you:


Los Angeles once had the world's largest rail transit system, the Pacific Electric Railway's "Red Car," with 1,100 miles (1,770 km) of track and 2,800 scheduled trains each day. Rail lines and streetcars (trolleys) ran up and down most major streets in Los Angeles and its suburbs. In addition to the Pacific Electric, most of the streetcars in the central city and surrounding neighborhoods were operated by Henry Huntington's Los Angeles Railway, later Los Angeles Transit Lines, who ran the "Yellow Cars." The "Red Cars" were mostly interurban trains connecting widely separated cities with each other, with the exception of a few small neighborhood lines in areas like Echo Park and Redlands.

Ridership of the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway peaked in the early 1930s, with another increase during World War II, however, as increasing automobile traffic both drew riders away from the Red Cars and Yellow Cars and caused its lines — which usually operated in mixed traffic and had at-grade street crossings — to slow to a grinding halt. (At one point late in the Red Car's life, average speeds on the busy Santa Monica Boulevard line had fallen below 15 mph.)

Throughout the United States in the 1950s, the emergent middle class poured into automobile-dependent outer-ring suburbs, which were gradually connected to urban centers and to one another by a web of freeways. This process accelerated in the 1950s, when a variety of factors, such as relaxation of automobile loan rules by the Federal Reserve, falling automobile prices, and federal subsidies for freeway construction led to a nearly wholesale switch from transit systems to freeway systems. Most electric rail systems, including the Pacific Electric, either switched to buses or closed down altogether. According to believers in the General Motors streetcar conspiracy, GM and a number of conspiring corporations were responsible for the closure of the rail lines; however, Pacific Electric had in fact begun the transition from streetcars to buses in the mid-1920s due to a variety of factors. In any case, a private company, Metropolitan Coach Lines, purchased and closed most of Pacific Electric's remaining rail lines in 1954 and converted them to buses. The state government would not allow MCL to shutter the most used rail lines, which caused MCL to seek to sell off its rail operations instead.

A public agency, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, a predecessor to the RTD and the current MTA, took control of all remaining Los Angeles County passenger rail lines in 1958. The agency closed the remaining interurban rail and streetcar lines over the course of the following five years. After almost 90 years of streetcars and electric rail in Los Angeles, the last remaining Red Car line went out of service in 1961 and the last street car lines, remnants of the "Yellow Cars" originally operated by the Los Angeles Railway, followed suit two years later.

So, in reality, I was incorrect in this particular case, and actually learned something new today. Los Angeles did have a thorough mass transit system already in place before the 1950s. The fact that this system was crippled by the rise of the car culture only gives more credence, however, to my argument.

I hope that clears things up for you.


Ah, but they have. LA's got a little subway system going for sometime now. In fact, they're looking to expand it.

Yeah. They've got the Red Line - a single subway line - that first opened in 1993, a whopping 13 years ago. Daily ridership: 138,000. As I alluded to before, the engineering issues involved in building subway tunnels that are capable of withstanding 7.5 magnitude earthquakes are complex and expensive, hence the delays and resistance.

antinimby
October 5th, 2006, 08:13 PM
Without a doubt, New Yorks primary means of transit is and should be rail. But I think there is a lot to be gained by improving parking in Flushing. What would be bad is if the parking is added in a way that is not pedestrian friendly. But no one is suggesting that - the Flushing Commons plan would knock down an open air parking lot and put it beneath a pedestrian oriented mixed use facility, right?The problem is not so much how you stack the parking spaces. The problem is that creating the parking spaces itself means that driving to Flushing is encouraged and ultimately it will create traffic.

This will possibly turn the community against future development should there be any, because in the eyes of the uninformed public (nyterp are you listening?), they will associate development with road traffic, when in fact, it doesn't have to be the case.

That's where smart planning and the foresight I talked about comes in.
See pianoman? Foresight is a good thing, try it sometimes. ;)


Also, many people in Flushing's more affluent Asian American communities upgrade to the car oriented nabes in Bayside, or to Forest Hills, which is not connected to Flushing by mass transit. For them, I think the evil dastardly car becomes a way to connect with cultural amenities as they become more prosperous and move to other places. If mass transit can't accomodate it, I'm all for adding as much parking as is needed to keep that going.We can't help it if people aspire to a more suburban way of life. The city should NEVER change to become more suburban just accommodate their changing lifestyles.

People come and go. That's their right. If they find New York too urban for them, there are other places for them. Plenty of other people will quickly come in to take their place. This is nothing new. It's been happening for a very long time now.

If these upcoming Asians decide that driving into Flushing is still for them, then they should just have to put up with the inconvenience, difficulty and expense of finding a place to park their car. We should make it more difficult for drivers not easier.

No one is putting a gun to their heads and telling them to go to Flushing. Maybe they'll find Great Neck more appealing. :rolleyes:

Flushing will do just fine with or without them.

Besides, as we have seen with these sort of things, the families move to more bucolic surroundings but when their kids grow up, the kids will find the suburbs boring and move back into the city their parents worked hard to get out of.

Everything is cyclical and full of irony.

antinimby
October 5th, 2006, 08:26 PM
pianoman, I'm not going to bother to reply to your posts line by line. I'm just going to say this:

What you have said so far is your way of trying to explain to me that the car culture we have now in this country is not by design so much as it is a natural occurrence or response due to circumstance. Is that correct?

I'm not going to argue because that is your point of view and we are all entitled to our own.

In a way, I believe you are not even disagreeing with me but more like expanding on what were discussed.

Clearly, from my perception of you, I do not believe you would disagree with me on the issue of encouraging mass transit and discouraging driving.

Btw, LA's system has got the Red Line and other rail lines also.
Look here (http://www.mta.net/riding_metro/riders_guide/rail_info.htm).

Strattonport
October 5th, 2006, 10:18 PM
I don't live in Flushing, but near it and traffic is the last thing the neighborhood needs everytime I find myself passing through. If anything, tons of it pours in every rush hour and the negative effects are staggering. Buses, taxis, and delivery trucks are stranded and the quality of life suffers. It's like that in a lot of places in NYC.

pianoman11686
October 6th, 2006, 09:09 PM
pianoman, I'm not going to bother to reply to your posts line by line.

I will.


What you have said so far is your way of trying to explain to me that the car culture we have now in this country is not by design so much as it is a natural occurrence or response due to circumstance. Is that correct?

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.


I'm not going to argue because that is your point of view and we are all entitled to our own.

Sounds like you disagree. Do you? And if so, why? I think I've done a pretty decent job of explaining it.


In a way, I believe you are not even disagreeing with me but more like expanding on what were discussed.

Well, the whole reason this thing started was by me nit-picking on a few things in that post of yours. My bad on the nit-picking; it's gotten this thread a little off-topic. But I just thought your statement that


Imagine if their leaders had the foresight to do that in the past instead of catering to the car-culture?

needed to be corrected or elaborated on. The disparity between New York and those other cities is not that clear-cut, and the fault shouldn't fall entirely on ill-guided local urban planners.


Clearly, from my perception of you, I do not believe you would disagree with me on the issue of encouraging mass transit and discouraging driving.

Correct. But as I've said before, many cities try to do this, and fail because of how entrenched the car culture is. People just don't use the light-rails, and they don't carpool. Traffic hasn't really discouraged it, so right now, oil at $20 a gallon might be the only hope. Most people aren't very motivated by common sense, but money will do the trick.


Btw, LA's system has got the Red Line and other rail lines also.
Look here (http://www.mta.net/riding_metro/riders_guide/rail_info.htm).

Yeah, yeah, I saw those when I found that excerpt from Wikipedia. If you want to get really technical, the Red Line is still the only subway (i.e., subterranean rail system). It has the potential to transport the most people. Light rails have only a couple cars per train, and don't really count for much.

antinimby
October 6th, 2006, 10:04 PM
I will.Then so will I.



Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.Good, so I did get it.



Sounds like you disagree. Do you? And if so, why? I think I've done a pretty decent job of explaining it.I don't so much disagree as I'm more skeptical as to the accuracy of your statements.

Your claims may or may not be accurate but the topic is one of those that is debatable even among historians.

I doubt that the phenomenon can be explained by just the simple answer that you gave.

I just wanted to get that out there that this is just your opinion, not necessarily historic facts.



Well, the whole reason this thing started was by me nit-picking on a few things in that post of yours. My bad on the nit-picking; it's gotten this thread a little off-topic. But I just thought your statement that needed to be corrected or elaborated on. The disparity between New York and those other cities is not that clear-cut, and the fault shouldn't fall entirely on ill-guided local urban planners.Like I just said, unless you are a historian on the rise of 20th century American transportation, you are not in a position to be correcting or elaborating anything that was said.



Correct. But as I've said before, many cities try to do this, and fail because of how entrenched the car culture is. People just don't use the light-rails, and they don't carpool. Traffic hasn't really discouraged it, so right now, oil at $20 a gallon might be the only hope. Most people aren't very motivated by common sense, but money will do the trick.You seem to know so much about Americans. Have you spoken to that many people to find out what keeps them from using mass transit?



Yeah, yeah, I saw those when I found that excerpt from Wikipedia. If you want to get really technical, the Red Line is still the only subway (i.e., subterranean rail system). It has the potential to transport the most people. Light rails have only a couple cars per train, and don't really count for much.Well, I just felt that I needed to elaborate on what you said.

pianoman11686
October 6th, 2006, 10:37 PM
I don't so much disagree as I'm more skeptical as to the accuracy of your statements.

You're sounding vague, and I think it's intentional. Let me put it this way: If you didn't disagree, you wouldn't be skeptical. I wouldn't have had to elaborate on my initial statements over the course of several posts.


Your claims may or may not be accurate but the topic is one of those that is debatable even among historians.

I doubt that the phenomenon can be explained by just the simple answer that you gave.

Anything is pretty much debatable. I happen to know a little bit about the topic, which is why I chimed in. And as I'll reiterate, this whole thing started because you gave a very simple answer, which I thought was misinformed. So now you're not only sounding vague, but also hypocritical.


I just wanted to get that out there that this is just your opinion, not necessarily historic facts.

I guess you could say that my entire series of posts is the equivalent of an "opinion" on the matter. But that opinion is motivated, and in large part confirmed, by facts. I don't think we have to debate whether or not it's my opinion that the federal construction of interstate highways led to a rapid increase in car traffic and suburbs. That is fact.


Like I just said, unless you are a historian on the rise of 20th century American transportation, you are not in a position to be correcting or elaborating anything that was said.

Excuse me? I'm not in a position because I don't have a degree on the matter? Sounds like something someone said in another thread.

I don't need to be a historian to know about history. I can read books on my own, and get the gist of what the historians know. I can then apply that knowledge whenever I feel the need to do so, whether I'm confirming what someone says or correcting it. What's the matter? Should I not have said "correcting"?


You seem to know so much about Americans. Have you spoken to that many people to find out what keeps them from using mass transit?

Are you serious?


Well, I just felt that I needed to elaborate on what you said.

Actually, you haven't elaborated much at all. All you've been doing is questioning the accuracy of my elaboration, while providing little of any real content to justify your doing so. Makes me think that you don't know anything about the issue, which makes it all the more appropriate for me to step in and "correct" your "simple answer". What's worse is your apparent aversion to find out on your own, and be in a position to definitively refute my claims.

So what exactly have you brought to the table? In that last post, I found vagueness, hypocrisy, ignorance, and a stubborn laziness. If you're going to be questioning what other people say, you might want to replace those traits with: clarity, a bit of humility, knowledge, and a willingness to learn. That could get you somewhere.

antinimby
October 6th, 2006, 11:48 PM
You're sounding vague, and I think it's intentional.Let me get this straight.

I sound vague to you and it's intentional.

You sound vague to me and it's because I don't understand you eventhough you explained things well. Oh I see.



Let me put it this way: If you didn't disagree, you wouldn't be skeptical.That is what being skeptical is all about. One is neither sure or unsure of whether what you said is correct or not.

Skeptical is a perfect word to describe that situation.


I wouldn't have had to elaborate on my initial statements over the course of several posts
Don't worry, I find that I too, have to elaborate over several posts as well. Things work both ways you know.


Anything is pretty much debatable. I happen to know a little bit about the topic, which is why I chimed in.I might want to emphasis the word "little bit."



And as I'll reiterate, this whole thing started because you gave a very simple answer, which I thought was misinformed. So now you're not only sounding vague, but also hypocritical.Not my fault you don't get it. What do you need clarification on? I'm right here.

Hypocritical? How so?


I guess you could say that my entire series of posts is the equivalent of an "opinion" on the matter.By George, I think he's got it!


But that opinion is motivated, and in large part confirmed, by facts.Let's see some facts then. Less opinion and more facts, please. Thank you.



I don't think we have to debate whether or not it's my opinion that the federal construction of interstate highways led to a rapid increase in car traffic and suburbs. That is fact.I'm not convinced yet. Show me the facts.


Excuse me? I'm not in a position because I don't have a degree on the matter? Sounds like something someone said in another thread.That is a weak analogy and you know it but I guess you will try anything.

To make things simple.

That thread: I don't think I need to be educated to form an opinion on the appearance of a building.

This thread: you do need to be educated in order for you to claim something as a fact.

See the big difference?


I don't need to be a historian to know about history. I can read books on my own, and get the gist of what the historians know.You may know history, but how do we know that? Should we just take your word for it and accept it as holy?


I can then apply that knowledge whenever I feel the need to do so, whether I'm confirming what someone says or correcting it. What's the matter? Should I not have said "correcting"?Actually, that would have helped. You were nitpicking and so now I am too.


Are you serious?You bet.


Actually, you haven't elaborated much at all. All you've been doing is questioning the accuracy of my elaboration, while providing little of any real content to justify your doing so. Makes me think that you don't know anything about the issue, which makes it all the more appropriate for me to step in and "correct" your "simple answer". What's worse is your apparent aversion to find out on your own, and be in a position to definitively refute my claims.So I'm not allowed to question your accuracy?

I must now provide content in order to do so?

Jeez, aren't we getting a bit stringent around here.


So what exactly have you brought to the table? In that last post, I found vagueness, hypocrisy, ignorance, and a stubborn laziness. If you're going to be questioning what other people say, you might want to replace those traits with: clarity, a bit of humility, knowledge, and a willingness to learn. That could get you somewhere.You seem to do a lot of accusing but you might want to look in the mirror, my friend.

What exactly are you not getting? I'll be glad to explain it to you clearly all over again.

Anyway, I find that keeping short and to the point a positive attribute despite what you might think.

You're in college. Ask your English professor which he/she preferrs: concise and clear or long and aimless.

I don't need to fill my posts up with words just confuse and/or sidetrack a discussion.

So you see, it's actually me that's been clear and understandable.

nyterp
October 7th, 2006, 12:16 AM
I think we need a English teacher to break up this schoolyard scuffle. Everyone is entitiled to his/her opinion, but filling the thread with line by line nitpicking isnt exactly why people are attracted to this board.

So that being said, I heard my name in this line -
This will possibly turn the community against future development should there be any, because in the eyes of the uninformed public (nyterp are you listening?), they will associate development with road traffic, when in fact, it doesn't have to be the case.

I do believe alot of the smaller shop owners and homeowners were protesting many of the projects that are on the way now. Im not saying they are right or wrong- but they were out there.

But the way the projects are being done now, I really cant argue with the compromise. Providing mixed use projects where there is a little parking for those that HAVE to drive, like going to home deopt for a large item. Yet the majority needing to use mass transit and encourage pedestrian traffic, improve the BID and the streetscape for more pedestrian friendly areas.
Now go to detention.:p

antinimby
October 7th, 2006, 12:36 AM
Yes we did get carried away.

Apologies.

Funny it should take a new member to tell us that.

pianoman, if you want to continue our little debate, just PM me.

I'm sure no one else cares what we were babbling about.

pianoman11686
October 7th, 2006, 12:54 AM
Let me get this straight.

I sound vague to you and it's intentional.

You sound vague to me and it's because I don't understand you eventhough you explained things well. Oh I see.

...

That is what being skeptical is all about. One is neither sure or unsure of whether what you said is correct or not.

Skeptical is a perfect word to describe that situation.

I don't know if you're being sarcastic, or obtuse. Maybe both. The point is, when you respond to someone's question of "do you disagree" with:


I don't so much disagree as I'm more skeptical as to the accuracy of your statements.

you're basically saying, you don't have a stance. You'd rather question the accuracy behind my claims than make up your mind as to whether you accept them or not. I wonder why that is. Oh, I know: maybe it's because you continue to want to stand by your original claims despite not knowing whether you were right or wrong.


Don't worry, I find that I too, have to elaborate over several posts as well. Things work both ways you know.

Can you please tell me where exactly you've elaborated on this argument? All you've been doing is questioning me.


I might want to emphasis the word "little bit."

I don't understand that kind of criticism. I am not pretending to be an expert, and I will not avoid answering any questions you might have about why I can make the claims that I do. On the other hand, I know nothing about what makes you qualified, or just more qualified than me. At this point, I'm convinced you're not, and that you're in fact an "expert" at criticizing whatever arguments the other side will present, using the underlying premise of "accuracy of claims".


Not my fault you don't get it. What do you need clarification on? I'm right here.

What's not to get? You laid out your arguments several posts ago. I understood them, and responded with my own arguments. The last few posts of yours have been nothing but fluff. There's nothing in there "to get".


Hypocritical? How so?

Hypocritical because you're accusing me of using a "simple answer" to describe a broad, complicated concept. You did the exact same thing before I made a single post in this thread. The difference is, I've actually elaborated on my claims, but you've added nothing. So if I'd have to rephrase it, I'd say...delusional hypocricy.


Let's see some facts then. Less opinion and more facts, please. Thank you.

I did give you facts. You want more? It'll take me a while to type out the pages from my history books onto the computer. Even then, though, you'll probably still be "skeptical."


I'm not convinced yet. Show me the facts.

Scratch that idea. Why should I show you more facts? You've shown nothing of your own, and apparently you're convinced of your own claims. You know, I don't care if I convince you or not, because you're apparently a stubborn person who won't change his mind no matter what the other side throws at you. It seems the only way you'll be convinced is if a historian starts talking to you.


That is a weak analogy and you know it but I guess you will try anything.

To make things simple.

That thread: I don't think I need to be educated to form an opinion on the appearance of a building.

This thread: you do need to be educated in order for you to claim something as a fact.

See the big difference?

It's not a weak analogy at all. First things first: don't dumb it down anymore. There were other things being discussed than just "the appearance of a building." If it was that simple, that argument wouldn't still be going on.

Moving on: if something's a fact, and I report it, I don't need to be educated. All I need to do is regurgitate it; anyone who has a reasonably good memory and the ability to speak is capable of that. People do it all the time. You can find lots of examples by turning on the news.

So, you actually do think I need to be a historian to comment on history. I guess that means you have to be an architect to comment on architecture. Chalk up another instance of hypocrisy in your posts.


You may know history, but how do we know that? Should we just take your word for it and accept it as holy?

You're starting to sound unreasonable. What do you want me to say to that? This is an online forum, where everyone is basically anonymous. You already know that I'm a student, and if I tell you that I know a "little bit" about history, is it that difficult for you to believe that I've actually taken some classes, read some books, and written some papers on it? Come on.


Actually, that would have helped. You were nitpicking and so now I am too.

Oh, so you were being defensive. I should have known.


You bet.

Okay, here goes: I actually live in a cave in Pakistan and I have never interacted with any Americans on a live basis. That means I've never talked to one face to face, or on the phone. I know absolutely nothing about the American economy, and I've never even considered that people can purchase big SUV's that get ten miles to the gallon, drive to work by themselves and sit in traffic, then get angry at how much time they waste on their commutes and how smoggy the air gets in their cities. All, meanwhile, knowing that there are reasonable things that can be done to reduce gas consumption and ease congestion. No, I know absolutely nothing about that.


So I'm not allowed to question your accuracy?

I must now provide content in order to do so?

Jeez, aren't we getting a bit stringent around here.

Damn straight. How can you go around questioning me, when I've provided some facts to back up my claims, and then demand that I provide even more evidence? How can you do that when you've provided nothing of your own? Another instance of hypocrisy.


You seem to do a lot of accusing but you might want to look in the mirror, my friend.

What exactly are you not getting? I'll be glad to explain it to you clearly all over again.

Anyway, I find that keeping short and to the point a positive attribute despite what you might think.

You're in college. Ask your English professor which he/she preferrs: concise and clear or long and aimless.

I don't need to fill my posts up with words just confuse and/or sidetrack a discussion.

So you see, it's actually me that's been clear and understandable.

Actually, in college, professors ask students to write papers on concepts. Specifically, they ask students to write long term papers, of length anywhere from 10 to 20 pages, on painfully narrow topics. That means, not covering 100 years of history, or an entire novel's plot, but focusing on a few years of history, and one theme or character in a novel. But I'm sure you knew that already.

Your consistent dodging of the real argument in this debate is getting annoying and old. What I "don't get" and what you're so "clear and understandable" about is the questioning of my claims. Do you not see how irrational that is? I make a point in response to yours, and instead of continuing the debate about the issue, you skirt it, and just question my accuracy. Now we've gotten entrenched in this silly back and forth, and it's going nowhere.

If you've got a problem reading my posts, or think my choice of words is too formal, or advanced, then say so. I have a problem with people questioning my writing when they make absolutely no effort to convince me of what they think, and provide supporting evidence. There, that wasn't so hard.

lofter1
October 7th, 2006, 12:56 AM
::AHEM::

what part of "go to detention" don't you guys understand ;) ??

antinimby
October 7th, 2006, 01:33 PM
pianoman, I don't know what your problem is.

Clearly, our little spat is no longer serving the other forum members as nyterp and lofter have said.

If you want to continue this pointless debate, I suggest that we do so through PM, out of courtesy to others here.

I've already sent you a PM.

pianoman11686
October 7th, 2006, 03:05 PM
I don't have a problem. I was still replying to your previous line-by-line post when you decided that we should take this to private messaging. And, lofter's comment came after I had already replied.

That being said, I will be sending you a PM shortly to continue the discussion, as well as provide some of the evidence you so desperately are in need of reading.

Strattonport
October 7th, 2006, 05:47 PM
Ok, turning this thread back to Flushing...

Construction at Queens Crossing is nearing completion, with most of the exterior covered and glass windows being put up as well. The building is alright, but not as good as the rendering made it out to be.

nyterp
October 8th, 2006, 10:38 AM
I havnt been over there in awhile, does anyone have any new pics of queens crossing? Id like to see it.

Strattonport
October 25th, 2006, 12:06 AM
I'd love to take photos, but I don't have a camera, so no. :(

But since I do go through Flushing almost every day, I can report on its progress, as I've always been doing. All the glass making up the top of the building has been installed and is pretty much the only part of the building that's likeable. The rest of the architecture is underwhelming, but unfortunately the norm in Queens. :rolleyes:

antinimby
October 31st, 2006, 10:17 PM
The latest version for Flushing Town Center (formerly Flushing Metro Center).

I'm not so sure I like the design of this thing. The base and groundlevel is too mall-like.
http://img420.imageshack.us/img420/8609/flushingtownctrvx2.jpg
http://img420.imageshack.us/img420/6565/flushingtownctr1jg2.jpg


Meanwhile, don't the upper floors remind you of Soviet-era commie blocks, as they say?
http://img420.imageshack.us/img420/5258/flushingtownctr2xn2.jpg

Warsaw?
http://img290.imageshack.us/img290/2629/flushingtownctr3qw4.jpg

Thanks to Perkins Eastman (for the images) . . . or is it NO THANKS?

lofter1
October 31st, 2006, 11:18 PM
Looks like every mixed use complex going up in So Cal + Texas :mad:

pianoman11686
November 1st, 2006, 12:08 AM
Funny you mention Warsaw, anti. While those are much better than the commie blocks (I'd take our 60's public-housing projects over those anyday), they do remind me a lot of the new developments going up in and around Warsaw. Go figure.

I used to think Perkins-Eastman was above par. Now, I think they've settled into the SLCE-Kondylis-FX/Fowle spectrum of consistent mediocrity.

sfenn1117
November 1st, 2006, 12:36 AM
IMO Perkins Eastman is below those you mentioned. Just look at their proposed building on 23rd, or the worst one, Avalon Riverview North. A waterfront project like that does not deserve mediocrity. This project is just as bland and looks straight out of 1999.

We should start a thread, ranking NY based architects.

investordude
November 1st, 2006, 03:05 AM
I think the trick with Perkins is the constraint forced on them is pretty tough. You've got to put a big box store at the bottom of this thing, comply with La Guardia flight restrictions.

Also, I think the Flushing market can bear ultra-lux development as incomes their rapidly improve and the highly successful kids from this area help their parents, but I'm not sure it can do it there. The site is actually a little bit of a walk to Main Street and its surrounded by infrastructure like highways and above ground subway stuff and a housing project. So, given that its middle income and has a lot of constraints, I think you could do worse.

kurokevin
November 1st, 2006, 01:37 PM
Not bad considering what the rest of United States recieves:

http://www.marchassociates.com/Projects/Retail/Images/target-bridgewater.jpg

submachine
November 2nd, 2006, 07:29 AM
The latest version for Flushing Town Center (formerly Flushing Metro Center).

I'm not so sure I like the design of this thing. The base and groundlevel is too mall-like.

http://img420.imageshack.us/img420/6565/flushingtownctr1jg2.jpg



The strangest thing so far has been driving up the Van Wyck and looking to the right (before the 7 line) and getting birds eye view of the empty space to College Point Blvd, which you could never do because of all the buildings.

My question about FTC is where is the parking for the shoppers, where is the parking for the residents, are they separate? Will the residents be able to park and quickly take an elevator to their floor, or is there going to be a long retail maze to navigate every time they get home?

investordude
November 3rd, 2006, 02:01 AM
The New York Times claimed in an article that Flushing Town Center is already under construction. It doesn't look that way to me when I pass on the train. Has anyone seen construction activity there during the day, or is this just inaccurate hype.

(article below)
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/realestate/29box.html?ex=1319774400&en=d60cf4d61bca1e5e&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Strattonport
November 5th, 2006, 10:12 PM
I drove by there on the bridge earlier this evening. It already has the metal framing up, so yes.

nyterp
December 10th, 2006, 11:02 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/realestate/10livi.html?ref=realestate

antinimby
December 11th, 2006, 11:42 PM
Better to post the article here, the linked-to page disappear over time.


Sensory Overload as a Way of Life


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/12/10/realestate/10livi.600.jpg
HIGH DENSITY The intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue typifies a neighborhood made for
“experience junkies,” as one fan put it.


By JEFF VANDAM
Published: December 10, 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/10/realestate/10livi.html)

FOR all the people who clog the sidewalks, it is at times tough to do much more than crawl through downtown Flushing, the epicenter of the Asian community in Queens. The thoroughfares are crowded with drivers who often seem to honk their horns just for sport. And the sheer number of markets and shops and stands and noodle houses and dumpling stalls can constitute an assault on the senses.

Yet observing the everyday explosion of cultures that is Flushing — the Latina women wearing yellow sandwich boards hawking free electric toothbrushes, the man seated on a plastic ottoman vending sticks of incense and porcelain turtles and Buddha figurines — soon becomes engrossing. The place is a wide-open Chinatown-plus, with streams of Koreans, Indians, Mexicans, Colombians, Middle Easterners and others filling high-rise co-ops and the new condo buildings that at times appear to have bloomed overnight.

“Flushing is a hot place,” said John Liu, the area’s representative on the City Council, who has watched the shuttered storefronts of 1970’s Main Street cede ground to today’s boomtown. “People are knocking on doors to live, to open businesses,” he said.

And even though downtown Flushing, at the end of the No. 7 line just east of Shea Stadium and the Flushing River, has reached what some might call high density, builders are looking to bring even more to the mix. One of the neighborhood’s first true condominium towers, Garden View Terrace, opened a few blocks down Main Street from the central business area in 2004, and another called Victoria Towers is almost ready on Sanford Avenue.

Near Main Street, the Shangri-La #2 on Pople Avenue has five floors of luxury units, said Jason Pang, an agent at Great Team Realty; three-bedrooms with two baths are listed at $579,000 (including appliances); two-bedrooms are $449,000.

New commercial development is part of the package, too; Flushing Town Center on College Point Boulevard and Queens Crossing on Main Street are two of several large projects to bring in more big-box stores. And by 2009, the Town Center complex will add 1,100 residential units as well.

The new will go up alongside quite a collection of the older: thousands of co-op units in a massing of towers with building dates ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s, as well as a few single- and multifamily houses, which from time to time make way for the designs of condo developers.

With all the people and businesses already in place, the coming growth has some worried about crowding and damage to small businesses.

“It’s a real concern,” said Marilyn Bitterman, district manager for Community Board 7, which includes Flushing. “A lot of people don’t like change. There’s concern for congestion, and concern every time a new construction goes up.”


What You’ll Find

The contours of downtown Flushing are somewhat vague. The area includes such a large variety of residential and commercial buildings that it is difficult to tell where the downtown ends and the rest of Flushing begins. But the central bazaar — where people pick up groceries, mei fun noodles, clothing, Vietnamese pho soup, plastic wind-up toys and shabu-shabu — is without question the intersection of Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue. There, one can find the No. 7 subway and the Long Island Rail Road stations, in addition to chain stores like Old Navy.

As the major north-south boulevard, Main Street has traditionally been the line of demarcation between smaller single-family houses and apartment buildings to the west and large apartment towers to the east.

In 1998, however, a zoning change permitted large-scale developments west of Main Street, and since then many of the triangle-roofed houses of the area have disappeared, with condo and rental buildings sprouting up in their place. The change is in clear focus on 41st Road, where an old yellow frame house is flanked by newish balconied apartment buildings.

The local population is primarily Chinese and Korean, both native- and foreign-born, capped by a recent influx of Asian business people who have begun buying pieds-à-terre in the area. Yet the population, too, is in something of a transition.

As Main Street curves south toward Kissena Park, several Indian and Middle Eastern businesses have opened, anchored by Patel Brothers, a branch of the Indian supermarket in Jackson Heights. With more newcomers to the neighborhood have come banks and brokerage firms, with at least one appearing on each block of Main Street.

“It’s a financial district now,” said Alex Lau, a sales associate for Century 21 Milestone Realty, only half-jokingly. “We were walking up Main Street before, and we felt like we were in the middle of Midtown Manhattan at rush hour.”

Rosilyn Overton moved from the East Village to downtown Flushing, into a two-bedroom co-op apartment just a block from the intersection of Main and Roosevelt, in 1986 and has no intention of leaving.

“I’m in the middle of everything,” said Ms. Overton, 64, a financial planner who sits on the board of trustees for the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. “It’s really a vital, exciting community. You should not come to Flushing, however, if you’re not adaptable. It is a place for people who like to try new things.”

She and her husband, Mardiros Hatsakorzian, occasionally travel into Manhattan for performances at Lincoln Center, but they have found that Flushing serves their cultural needs just fine, with jazz shows at Flushing Town Hall and the Queens Symphony at nearby Queens College.

And on afternoons spent shopping, Mr. Hatsakorzian, who speaks seven languages, finds that he is able to converse in three or four of them.

“If you’re an experience junkie,” Ms. Overton said, “it’s a fabulous place to live.”


What You’ll Pay

Just as many properties have sold in the downtown Flushing area this year as last, but in general, prices are down 7 to 10 percent, said Judy Markowitz, owner and broker of the Re/Max Millennium Energized Realty Group in Flushing.

“People are getting more for their money,” Ms. Markowitz said. “Depending on the building, you can start to get three-bedroom co-ops for under $300,000, which was not happening last year.”

According to Ms. Markowitz, two-bedroom apartment prices begin in the $180,000 range, with one-bedrooms and studios starting at around $130,000.

And according to Kathy Tsao, a broker at Prudential Douglas Elliman, the highest prices for any co-op are in the $300,000s.

As for condos, Ms. Tsao sold a two-bedroom, two-bath prewar apartment in the Yorkshire Gardens building on Kissena Boulevard in the late summer for $603,000, and a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment built in 2000 for $518,000. Prices per square foot in new condominiums range from $400 to the mid-$600s, said Mr. Lau of Century 21 Milestone, explaining that the variations depended on the amenities in the building and its proximity to Main Street shopping and transportation. He said demand remained strong.

As for property tax, Ms. Tsao said, a 2,800-square-foot condo that she now has on the market for $895,000 would cost a buyer $4,992 a year.

Rental studios are typically under $1,000 a month, with one-bedrooms only slightly more. Even two-bedrooms in luxury doorman buildings rent for less than $2,000 a month.


The Schools

Downtown Flushing is part of School District 25, which is well regarded by parents; test scores seem in part to bear this out. At Public School 20, on Barclay Avenue, 81.5 percent of students meet city and state standards on math tests, versus 65.1 percent citywide; in English, 76.4 percent meet standards, versus 60.9 percent citywide. At the nearest middle school, Junior High School 189, 60.7 percent meet standards on math tests versus 40.8 percent citywide; 49.3 percent do so on English tests, versus 43.3 percent citywide. At Flushing High School on Union Street, average SAT scores were 396 on the verbal portion and 464 in math, versus state averages of 493 and 510, respectively.

There is also the Windsor School, a private junior high and high school known for English as a Second Language programs.


The Commute

Few in downtown Flushing complain about getting to and from Manhattan quickly. On express 7 trains in the morning, the trip to Grand Central Terminal from the Main Street station takes 25 minutes; on a local train at rush hour, it is just over 30 minutes. The Long Island Rail Road, which also has a stop on Main Street, is faster, at about 17 minutes to Pennsylvania Station. The X51, a rush-hour express bus, gets to Midtown Manhattan in about 25 minutes.


What to Do

Even without the chain stores set to arrive soon, locals certainly never want for shopping options. A walk down Main Street creates the temptation to pick up a few lychees, say, or maybe some dragon fruit.

One primary component of the downtown area’s renewal is the Flushing branch of the Queens Library, a curving green-glass building built in 1998 at the triangular intersection of Kissena Boulevard and Main Street. And farther south on Main Street, the Queens Botanical Garden is experiencing a $12 million transformation, with several new landscape areas and a new “green” administration building.

There are also the various attractions of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, including Queens Theater in the Park, which is popular and well attended.

Then, of course, there are Mets baseball games one stop away from Main Street and, just down the boardwalk from Shea Stadium, the U.S. Open in late summer.


The History

In 1657, when the Dutch governed Flushing, citizens angered by official persecution of the Quaker minority joined in signing a petition that came to be known as the Flushing Remonstrance. Local historians today see the document as the first organized defense of religious freedom in the New World.

Flushing did not take on significant size until the expansion of the railroads into the area in the late 19th century.

The downtown hit a low point in the 1960s and ’70s, until Asian businesses moved onto Main Street, and Asian residents invested in the community.


What We Like

Flushing’s variety is endless, and not just in its choices of food; it is a not-so-micro microcosm of New York, and for that it is celebrated by locals.


Going Forward

The dense foot traffic on Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue will only increase as Flushing’s new residential and commercial buildings arrive; sidewalks may need widening to accommodate the coming throngs.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

mcarmonany
February 2nd, 2007, 03:51 AM
just a pic of the progress

antinimby
February 2nd, 2007, 06:26 AM
^ Appreciate the photo.

Here are renderings of the RKO-Keith Theatre proposal from Boymelgreen's website.

From Northern Boulevard:
http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/838/rkoplazatowernf1.jpg

http://img466.imageshack.us/img466/6446/rkoplazaentrancelc0.jpg

http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/5594/rkoplazamainstreetxc7.jpg

Inside of the theatre's entrance:
http://img300.imageshack.us/img300/8237/rkoplazalobbyab0.jpg


The site from high above, looking north:

http://img466.imageshack.us/img466/3200/rkoplazacurrenton6.jpg

sunnyguy
February 10th, 2007, 07:12 AM
SUBURBAN
LIU SLAMS PARKING PLAN FOR FLUSHING COMMONS
DONALD BERTRAND DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
359 words
9 February 2007
New York Daily News (http://javascript%3Cb%3E%3C/b%3E:void%280%29)
SPORTS FINAL
7
English
© 2007 Daily News, New York. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights reserved.

LOCAL POLITICIANS often grapple with developers over affordable housing, but a Flushing City Councilman is clashing with a developer over affordable parking.

Revisions by the developer of Flushing Commons - planned for the site of what is now a municipal parking lot in downtown Flushing - are meeting stiff resistance from Councilman John Liu.

According to Liu (D-Flushing), TDC/Rockefeller Group recently briefed him on its plans to cut the number of parking spaces, change the parking rate structure and modify plans for community space.

Liu called the changes "ridiculous, absurd and nonsensible."

Announced in July 2005, the plan for Flushing Commons - touted as "the heart of a revitalized Flushing" - contained parking for 2,000 cars at below-market rates and a 50,000-square-foot recreation center featuring amenities such as a swimming pool, basketball courts and an exercise room.
It also included the creation of a town square, approximately 500 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail space and a business-class hotel.

Liu said that at the briefing, he was informed that the number of spaces would be reduced by 400 and the rate structure changed to increase the present rate of $2 to enter, and hike the rate by $1 an hour for up to five hours.

The changes will no doubt harm many of the small businesses that make up the core of downtown Flushing, said the councilman, who added:"It's hard to see how the community benefits from the project with these proposed revisions."

Saying he was concerned about the parking situation and also the traffic situation, Community Board 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said he plans to call for the developer and city to meet with the Board every two weeks or so for more in-depth discussions of the various issues.

TDC President Michael Meyer said: "We are dedicated to try to mitigate all those impacts as best we can by working with the city and working with the community, but at the end of the day, there is a great benefit here."
dbertrand@nydailynews.com

investordude
February 20th, 2007, 10:22 AM
My guess is there is only so much parking that area can absorb, so you may as well charge for it to discourage drivers. Most people who own a car in New York City, including Queens, have money, so I don't see a reason for the city to provide some charity benefit for them rather than let the free market determine parking rates.

Strattonport
March 16th, 2007, 09:52 PM
Shulman to lead Willets Point group
BY PETE DAVIS (pdavis@queenscourier.com)

Thursday, March 15, 2007 12:07 PM CDT

Queens Courier article (http://www.queenscourier.com/articles/2007/03/15/news/headline_stories/news01.txt)

While the city reviews proposals for the long-anticipated development of the Willets Point area, a city council source told The Queens Courier that a group is in the process of forming a company, which former Borough President Claire Shulman would lead, to help oversee the project, which is still in its preliminary stage.

The organization, which is likely to be named the Flushing/Willets Point/Corona LLC (Limited Liability Company), is expected to have a wide representation of civic and business leaders.

City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate, who has publicly communicated concerns about the project’s ramifications on surrounding businesses and residents, has already met with Shulman and expressed optimism about working with her on this issue.

“[I have] great respect for her. She was a fantastic and dynamic Borough President. She was a staunch cheerleader for Queens and she delivered,” Monserrate said. “I look forward to working with her and anyone else that will bring tangible results to my community.”

Meanwhile, Monserrate organized a town hall meeting, scheduled to take place Wednesday night, March 14, where concerned constituents could ask questions or voice concern to three representatives from the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

“I think it’s extremely important in all facets of development to keep the public aware and give them a way to express their input,” he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent out request for proposals to develop the 75-acre Willets Point site - often referred to as the Iron Triangle - and currently the city is in the process of reviewing eight proposals from prominent development groups.

The project, which would transform an area predominantly made up of auto-repair shops and junkyards into a mixed-use facility containing housing, retail space and cultural institutions, several million square feet highlighted by a convention center and hotel giving the borough the capability to host premier events.

“Located adjacent to a new Mets Citi Field and near Downtown Flushing and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Willets Point should be a fantastic place for Queens residents and all New Yorkers, and our goal is to help that vision become a reality,” said Andrew Brent, a spokesperson for EDC.

Michael Meyer, President of TDC Development International, whose company has submitted both a sole and a joint proposal with Tishman Speyer and Westfield Property to develop the site, believes that this project is extremely important.

“We want to transform what is a blighted area and create what will amount to a city within a city,” Meyer said.

submachine
April 15th, 2007, 06:48 PM
04/12/2007 Flushing Commons Still On Track, Despite Delays by Liz Rhoades (LizR@qchron.com) , Managing Editor
http://images.zwire.com/local/Z/Zwire2731/zwire/images/27342_Y543.jpghttp://images.zwire.com/images/spacer.gif (Liz Rhoades) Michael Meyer heads Flushing Commons, a mixed-use development that will open in 2011. http://images.zwire.com/images/spacer.gif
Despite delays and skyrocketing construction costs, the developer of Flushing Commons — a major mixed-use project in the downtown center — said Tuesday that it will open four years from now.
Michael Meyer, president of Flushing-based TDC Development, told members of the Flushing Chinese Business Association that although some setbacks have occurred, the project will be ready for community review this fall. “The good news is the spirit of the project is the same,” he said.
In 2005, the city announced that TDC, in conjunction with the Rockefeller Group, was the successful bidder to transform Municipal Parking Lot 1 into a major hub. The five-acre site will include a one-acre town square, 500 condominiums, retail, restaurant and office space, a 200- to 250-room hotel, movie theater and underground parking.
Meyer said that plans had to be revised because of various factors, including Federal Aviation Administration height restrictions due to the proximity to LaGuardia Airport and the rise in construction costs. “We didn’t anticipate construction costs would go through the roof,” he said.
Plans originally called for a 100,000-square-foot youth center with pool and basketball court, but Meyer said the Flushing Y did not want to give up its current facility on Northern Boulevard to run a satellite at Flushing Commons.
The space has been reconfigured to 50,000 square feet, and will be leased to community groups with a cultural and youth-oriented emphasis. “We are not walking away from our commitment,” Meyer said.
Originally, the design called for 2,000 parking spaces, but a detailed survey showed that number was excessive for the demand. There will be 1,600 spots, with approximately 290 reserved for condo owners on a monthly basis.
“The 2,000 spaces was based on perceived demand,” Meyer added. “We looked at how people use the lot and for how long. We expect average use to be 1,344 cars with 1,517 on weekends.”
He noted that current rates at the municipal lot are highly subsidized and that new rates will be capped for the first two years of operation of Flushing Commons.
During the construction phase, Meyer promised the city to provide 900 parking spaces throughout the downtown area, including adding a parking deck at the lot across from the Flushing Mall on 39th Avenue. Other parking sites will be on College Point Boulevard.
The developer expects the project will generate 2,600 construction jobs and eventually 1,800 permanent jobs. The project is expected to cost $500 million, with the city reaping $100 million from the sale of the land.
Meyer was particularly enthusiastic about the town square, where people will be able to gather, sit, relax and enjoy outdoor entertainment. “It will be like a little Bryant Park,” he said. “Right now, there is no place in Flushing to sit down and socialize. This will give it to us.”
The property is bounded by 138th and Union streets and 37th and 39th avenues. The Macedonia AME Church, fronting Union Street, will remain. The church will be building affordable housing for seniors on part of its property.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18201482&BRD=2731&PAG=461&dept_id=574902&rfi=6

submachine
April 15th, 2007, 06:49 PM
Tussle over Flushing Commons revisions

BY PETE DAVIS (pdavis@queenscourier.com)

Thursday, April 12, 2007 3:06 PM CDT
Dozens of Flushing community members turned out to hear updated plans and voice their support for the redevelopment of Municipal Lot 1; however, the changes to the project are creating a tussle within the community.

Michael Meyer, President of TDC Development, whose group was chosen by the city to develop the area three years ago, told the community members at the Flushing Chamber of Commerce’s April luncheon that an unprecedented escalation in construction costs caused the group to make some changes to the project.

During the presentation, Meyer and his team of experts detailed the changes for the proposed development known as Flushing Commons as well as provided the audience with an overview of what the project will bring to the area.

The current plans for the project will bring 325,000 square feet of retail space, 500 residential units, office space, a hotel, 1,600 parking spaces as well as 50,000 square-feet dedicated to community space with a focus geared to youth activities.

“It’s going to have a huge impact in terms of Flushing,” Meyer said. “It is really going to be an agent for change and transformation of the area.”
However, some of the proposed changes, which included decreasing the original number of parking spots from 2,000 to 1,600, increasing the rate for parking over time and knocking out nearly 30,000 square feet of community space, have angered some community members.

“I don’t support them [the developers],” said City Councilmember John Liu, who represents the area. “The community hashed out an agreement with the city two years ago and through these presentations the developer seems to be throwing out the entire agreement.”

Meyer said that the 1,600 spots were still more than the community requested and that while parking rates would rise, they would still be lower than market rate elsewhere in the city. Business and community leaders backed Meyer and voiced support for the project to go forward.

“We are at the moment in history where we have the chance to make history and upgrade the image of Flushing,” said Chamber President Myra Baird Herce. “I always say as citizens we are supposed to leave our town better than we found it, and this project will make Flushing an international city where folks from the Mets games and tennis matches would say, ‘wow this is a great place to go.’”

In addition, former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman, who is leading the Flushing/Willets Point/Corona LDC, echoed support for the project to continue.
“It is my hope after all the negotiations and all of the agreements are made that this project will go forward because it is very important for the future of downtown Flushing,” she said. “I think the borough of Queens is the future of the city of New York. I think we are taking primary interest away from the borough of Manhattan.”

Liu countered that the developer’s alterations to some of their plans was extremely troubling, and he does not see the project going forward with the revisions.

“The agreement is what it was two years ago; a deal is a deal,” he said. “When people try to renege on a deal, then it’s a no go.”

http://www.queenscourier.com/articles/2007/04/12/news/headline_stories/news03.txt

antinimby
April 15th, 2007, 07:35 PM
“I don’t support them [the developers],” said City Councilmember John Liu, who represents the area. “The community hashed out an agreement with the city two years ago and through these presentations the developer seems to be throwing out the entire agreement.”I've lost all respect for this John Lui moron. Future mayor hopeful? Ha!

He has proven to be nothing more than a loud mouthpiece for the mindless Flushing NIMBYs.

A great politician will do what's best for the community, even if it means going against the wishes of the selfserving and misguided merchants there (more parking spaces is good for Flushing?!). They've already studied that 1600 is already excessive.

There was a segment of the population that was outrage when Gov. Mario Cuomo signed the seat belt law and the same thing when Bloomberg signed the No smoking in public law. It wasn't popular at the time but these two men knew it was the best for the public and time has proven them right.

Quite often, the public doesn't know what's best for themselves and that's where a great leader has to come in. Not this Lui character.

Fact of the matter is, these things change and changes has to be made in order to adjust to new market conditions, new data about usage, etc. This is not about reneging, it is about improving as you go along and ultimately doing the best project.

clubBR
April 15th, 2007, 07:41 PM
I grew up in Flushing and its surrounding areas. New condo developments and rezoning laws are good for the community in the long run to soften the crime rate. News of criminal activity and death, travel far and fast among asians and over the past few years I've heard that murders in the area are up and so is gang activity. Homicides are down city wide but there are pockets of areas that are still hot-spots, includes Flushing. The vast amount of back alleys, underground karaoke bars, clubs in industrial areas, and the lack of high police presence makes Flushing a hotbed for criminal activity. Auto theft and property damage is common, especially in and around the industrial areas. Prostitution and extortion is a big problem the 119th precint must face. Manhattan and its immidiate areas are being gentrified and crime is at an all time low. Hopefully, this gentrification (and the safety that ensues), will spread to the north eastern part of Queens

Strattonport
May 12th, 2007, 01:57 PM
I'm in Flushing often and the only thing I saw happen was some guy stealing a bouquet of flowers...

I disagree with your assessment of Flushing and crime in the area, considering the 109th precinct is headquartered in the area. I see cops stationed around downtown everyday.

As for development news...:

Development Will Transform Flushing

Link to article (http://www.queenscourier.com/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01.txt).

http://www.queenscourier.com/content/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01.jpg
An architect’s design of Flushing Commons, a vibrant, $800 million, mixed-use development center, is expected to open in 2011 and transform the Downtown Flushing area.

BY PETE DAVIS

Thursday, May 10, 2007 1:58 PM CDT

When Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city’s selection for the developer for the Municipal Lot 1 site, he called it “the biggest thing to happen to Flushing since the arrival of the Mets.”

Flushing Commons, a vibrant, $800 million, mixed-use development center, which is a joint venture of TDC Development & Construction Group and the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, is expected to open in 2011 and transform the Downtown Flushing area.

“The overarching benefit is that this project will really transform Downtown Flushing,” said Michael Meyer, President of TDC Development & Construction Group. “With the mixture of uses we’re providing, along with the creation of an amazing new ‘village green,’ we really are going to see a total transformation of the entire area.”

The project will reconstruct the site of the Municipal Lot 1 in Downtown Flushing into a mixed-use site complete with 325,000 square feet of national and local retail shops, restaurants, a movie theater, a 130,000 square foot hotel, 80,000 square feet of office space and 500 condominiums that vary in size from studios to three bedrooms.

In addition, the development will include 1.43 acres of public open space, 50,000 square feet devoted to community facilities and a 1,600-space parking garage, which provides 50 percent more parking spaces than currently available at the Municipal Lot.

While the development will add a number of community facilities, it will also have a dramatic positive impact on the Flushing economy.

http://www.queenscourier.com/content/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01-2.jpg/img]
An artist’s rendering of part of the retail portion of Flushing Commons. The project contains plans for 325,000 square feet of national and local retail shops, restaurants, a movie theater, a 130,000 square foot hotel, 80,000 square feet of office space and 500 condominiums as well as open and community space.

The project will provide 2,600 construction jobs, 1,800 full and part-time permanent jobs as well as pour in $863 million in total economic output from construction and $382 million in annual economic output from operations. Meyer also said that the household residents at the development would pump an estimated $17 million per year into the local economy.

After consultation with local elected officials, community board representatives and neighborhood leaders, the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) selected the developers for this project back in July of 2005 from the 13 groups that submitted proposals.

Although increased construction costs have caused the developers to make slight alterations to the plans, the spirit and purpose of the project remains unchanged, and area leaders realize its importance.

“It is my hope after all the negotiations and all of the agreements are made that this project will go forward because it is very important for the future of downtown Flushing,” said former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman. “I think the borough of Queens is the future of the city of New York. I think we are taking primary interest away from the borough of Manhattan.”

http://www.queenscourier.com/content/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01-3.jpg/img]
[I]An artist’s rendering of the Flushing Commons Development, complete with open and community space for residents and tourists to enjoy.

Since its selection and continuing through today, the developers have reached out to the community to keep them abreast of their plans as well as to solicit feedback. In response, a number of longtime residents, community groups and business people have spoken out in favor of the project and believe it is critical for the area.

“We are at the moment in history where we have the chance to make history and upgrade the image of Flushing,” said Flushing Chamber of Commerce President Myra Baird Herce. “I always say as citizens we are supposed to leave our town better than we found it, and this project will make Flushing an international city where folks from the Mets games and tennis matches would say, ‘wow this is a great place to go.’”

Providing a new Town Square for Flushing

While the Flushing area continues to undergo major development projects, there has never been an identifiable ‘town square.’ Now, with the Flushing Commons development, that will no longer be the case.

Plans call for a beautifully designed, centrally landscaped public plaza and planted green opening on 138th Street, which will provide the neighborhood with an outdoor venue for community-sponsored cultural events and performances to take place.

[IMG]http://www.queenscourier.com/content/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01-4.jpg
An aerial view of the proposed Flushing Commons development project at the site of Flushing’s Municipal Lot 1.

The Partners

One of the unique aspects of the Flushing Commons project is the partnership between TDC Development & Construction Group and the Rockefeller Group Development Corporation.

The Rockefeller Group is a national owner, developer and manager of prestigious commercial real estate properties including corporate headquarters, landmark properties, multi-use urban complexes, multinational distribution facilities, suburban business parks and foreign trade zones. It currently has approximately 17 million square feet of projects in varying states of development in California, Florida, New Jersey and Manhattan and manages an additional 7.7 million square feet of office and retail space on the western side of Rockefeller Center.

Meanwhile, throughout its 20-year history, TDC has been involved in the development of over 5 million square feet of hotel, commercial, office and residential space in the New York metropolitan area, primarily in Manhattan and Queens. Based in Flushing, TDC is committed to the long-term vision of a revitalized downtown that includes modern development concepts as well as a distinct visual connection to the rich history of the area.

“TDC has the local presence and experience while the Rockefeller Group brings national experience in mixed-use developments.” said Rick Sondik, Vice President for the Rockefeller Group. “Our two company’s respective strengths have meshed very well, and we’re working extremely well together.”

In addition, TDC has already invested in Flushing with the development of Queens Crossing. Designed by world-renowned architects and engineers, the Thornton Tomasetti Group, Queens Crossing is a destination for shopping, food, entertainment, education, medical and business services unlike any other building in Flushing and is a critical component in the city’s renaissance vision for Flushing.

The Future

As the plans for Flushing Commons continue to go through the public review process, the developers are continuing to reach out to the community.

Meyer made a presentation at the Flushing Chamber of Commerce last month where community members had the opportunity to review and publicly comment on the plans, and the developers plan to meet with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, a business organization that represents more than 1,300 businesses.

The developers expect to begin the Uniformed Land Use Review Process (ULURP) during the fall of this year and hope to complete that process within seven months from its inception.

After receiving the necessary approval, construction would begin during the fall of 2008 with the project opening in the spring of 2011.

“It’s going to have a huge impact in terms of Flushing,” Meyer said. “It is really going to be an agent for change and transformation of the area.”

Alonzo-ny
May 12th, 2007, 02:54 PM
http://www.queenscourier.com/content/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01-2.jpg

http://www.queenscourier.com/content/articles/2007/05/10/special/business/news01-3.jpg

antinimby
May 12th, 2007, 05:42 PM
Jesus, does it have to take that long to get this thing done?

It's a no-brainer.

Transforming a parking lot into something much more useful and positive for the community, and yet it's got to go through all this red tape but I guess that's NY, where nothing--not even something that makes so much sense--ever comes easy.

Strattonport
May 31st, 2007, 11:45 PM
Queens Crossing continues on a slow pace. Despite an original Fall 2006 completion date, it has been pushed back to Fall of this year. I passed by there today and they only are now removing the wood panel fencing in some places to complete the sidewalk repaving. Unfortunately, it seems they retain the same width of sidewalk (at least, from what I recall back when the space was still a bank). I'd expect with the potential increase in pedestrian traffic, they'd widen the sidewalk.

NewYorkDoc
August 6th, 2007, 03:01 PM
I take the #7 to Flushing 6 days a week. As I approach the Main St. station, just before it goers underground, I see a development site. The site is on the south side on the tracks and it looks really big. Can someone please let me know what it is so I can stop wondering every day! :confused:

Eugenius
August 6th, 2007, 05:31 PM
Is that the new Mets stadium?

ramvid01
August 6th, 2007, 05:45 PM
I take the #7 to Flushing 6 days a week. As I approach the Main St. station, just before it goers underground, I see a development site. The site is on the south side on the tracks and it looks really big. Can someone please let me know what it is so I can stop wondering every day! :confused:

This is what your talking about v


Flushing Metro Center
Flushing, NY

Perkins Eastman (http://www.perkinseastman.com/Pages/Front.cfm) provided site planning review and conceptual design services for this 14-acre, 3.2M sf mixed-use complex near the heart of downtown Flushing, Queens. Developed by Muss Development Company, the project uniquely mixes residential units with a four-story, big-box retail base. The entire complex includes 950 residential apartments, more than 725,000 sf of retail space, and parking for 2,650 vehicles. The residential units will be a mixture of mixture of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, augmenting the housing options for a growing neighborhood that includes many businesses and cultural attractions, and offers proximity to major airports and highways, as well as convenient subway and LIRR access. With trains running on both sides and low-flying aircraft limiting the height of the residential towers to ten stories, the site constraints of the project are particularly challenging. The project will also include a small community center as well as the public promenade along Flushing Bay, the first phase of a larger waterfront master plan. The entire project will be constructed in three phases over a ten-year period.

http://63.240.68.122/FirmFiles/2/images/Flushing%2DMetro%2DCenter%5FRende%2Ejpg

NewYorkDoc
August 6th, 2007, 05:45 PM
Is that the new Mets stadium?

That's on the north side of the track. This development is on the southside of the tracks, east of the expressway. It's after the Seah Stadium stop, right before going underground.

NewYorkDoc
August 6th, 2007, 05:46 PM
This is what your talking about v

This might be it....

ramvid01
August 6th, 2007, 05:50 PM
This might be it....

It is, I drove by on College Point Boulevard and it says Flushing Metro Center.

antinimby
August 6th, 2007, 06:44 PM
The FMC site is just south of the 7 and north of the LIRR and is on the east side of the Flushing River.

By the way, how far along is the construction?

ramvid01
August 6th, 2007, 07:01 PM
The FMC site is just south of the 7 and north of the LIRR and is on the east side of the Flushing River.

By the way, how far along is the construction?

Still driving piles, and theres got to be at least 80 of them, maybe more.

NewYorkDoc
August 7th, 2007, 03:12 PM
It is, I drove by on College Point Boulevard and it says Flushing Metro Center.

Thank you for the info! :D

antinimby
August 15th, 2007, 07:45 PM
Big retailers coming to Flushing


August 15 (http://www.therealdeal.net/breaking_news/2007/08/15/1187210367.php), 3:01 pm

Several big box stores have signed leases at Muss Development Company's massive 3.3-million-square-foot mixed-use development under construction in the Flushing section of Queens, a source close to the project said.

Bed, Bath and Beyond, Marshall's, Home Depot, Target and Best Buy have completed deals at the newly named Sky View Park. The complex will include an 800,000-square-foot retail center, 1,100 condominium units and parking for 2,500 vehicles.

Home Depot will be on the bottom floor and Target
will occupy the top floor of the four-level retail center, the source said.

With an eye toward Flushing's Asian population, a Korean and Chinese grocer is also reportedly interested in taking space.

Sky View Park, formerly called Flushing Town Center, will be located on a 14-acre site at College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. Forest Hills-based Muss Development acquired the space from Consolidated Edison in 1980 and has used it as a light industrial center.

The eight-level parking deck is scheduled to open in March 2008.

The four retail levels, adjacent to the eight parking levels, will be completed in two phases, one in mid-2008 and the other in mid-2009.

The six residential buildings will sit atop the parking garage and will top out at the 22nd floor.

The condo buildings will open in phases, with the first three ready in summer 2009. The homes will range from studios to three-bedrooms and from the $500,000s to more than $2 million. By Lauren Elkies

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal

ramvid01
August 15th, 2007, 09:39 PM
That is a lot of parking spots. I also take the train on the way to school 5 days a week and i will tell you this the parking garage is already going up. It seems to be made of precast concrete. The rendering itself isnt exactly interesting to say the least, but if it does create some life on that part of College Point Boulevard it would not be all bad.

In retrospect that many parking spaces in such a highly populated and congested area really won't help. Not really sure what they are thinking although their options are a bit small in expanding the mass transit options.

NewYorkDoc
August 15th, 2007, 10:12 PM
I agree. I also see that parking garage, and its up to 6 floors now. (I believe) I can see the garage spaces though, because there is just one station in Flushing. The people east of that have cars so they will have to drive there. Why is Home Depot going in? Isn't there already a Home Depot nearby?

ramvid01
August 15th, 2007, 11:04 PM
I agree. I also see that parking garage, and its up to 6 floors now. (I believe) I can see the garage spaces though, because there is just one station in Flushing. The people east of that have cars so they will have to drive there. Why is Home Depot going in? Isn't there already a Home Depot nearby?

Yes there is one just a few blocks to the south or north (I am almost positive its to the south). One could assume that the space that they are moving into is better than the one they are in as its less out of the way than the current location. Its only a few blocks from the subway stop and the LIRR stop.

NewYorkDoc
August 16th, 2007, 12:40 AM
Yes there is one just a few blocks to the south or north (I am almost positive its to the south). One could assume that the space that they are moving into is better than the one they are in as its less out of the way than the current location. Its only a few blocks from the subway stop and the LIRR stop.

Yes it's to the south. You can see it from the train going into and out of Flushing. I wonder what will be done with the big store they move out of? Anyone know what happens in this case in NYC? In other parts of the country these often sit vacant when chains build bigger, better, newer stores.

ramvid01
August 16th, 2007, 12:44 AM
Yes it's to the south. You can see it from the train going into and out of Flushing. I wonder what will be done with the big store they move out of? Anyone know what happens in this case in NYC? In other parts of the country these often sit vacant when chains build bigger, better, newer stores.

They may just sell the property for a big profit and someone else may try to build something on that lot. Wouldn't be such a bad idea really. (since it does have a very large parking lot).

NewYorkDoc
August 16th, 2007, 12:49 AM
They may just sell the property for a big profit and someone else may try to build something on that lot. Wouldn't be such a bad idea really. (since it does have a very large parking lot).

That's what I was thinking. I just wasn't sure if there have been any developments from vacated big boxes before in New York.

submachine
August 18th, 2007, 09:23 PM
Why is Home Depot going in? Isn't there already a Home Depot nearby?

There are TWO huge Home Depot's, one a minute north on College Point blvd, and the other a minute south on College Point blvd.

:confused:

ramvid01
September 1st, 2007, 01:00 AM
There is a serious amount of work going on at Sky View Park. I wish I could bring my camera as the 7 train provides an excellent vantage point to see what they are doing at the site. For the most part they are continuing the parking deck and are also pouring concrete base. They also continue to pile drive at this site. I must say that of all the sites I have seen in person or in pictures this easily supercedes it in the amount of piles driven. Of course this is no surprise as the land itself is marshland (or used to be).

antinimby
September 2nd, 2007, 03:31 AM
No fear ramvid, I will be in that area to take pics later this month.

I'm taking requests right now. If anyone has any, speak up now.

antinimby
September 5th, 2007, 06:47 PM
As Flushing booms, Willets Point looms


September 4, 2007 (http://www.therealdeal.net/breaking_news/2007/09/04/1188946808.php)

Developers hope Flushing's commercial boom will extend to the large swath of office and retail space proposed for the 75-acre redevelopment of Willets Point in Queens, an area dominated by automotive repair shops and junk yards.

The city's Economic Development Corporation has proposed 500,000 square feet of office space and more than 1 million square feet of retail square feet for the area, along with a new convention center and housing. A footbridge will cross wetlands and link Willets Point to downtown Flushing.

Developer TDC International, an affiliate of Flushing-based F & T Group, bid for the Willets Point project and is betting big on Flushing.

In downtown Flushing, TDC recently built Queens Crossing, a 12-story, $120 million complex. The development, at Main and 138th streets, has 140,000 square feet of office condos, 110,000 square feet of retail space and 37,000 square feet of entertainment and dining areas. TDC took the12th floor itself. The retail space, which has yet to open, will include cafes, an Asian Tea house, a home furnishings store and a clothing store.

TDC, partnering with Rockefeller Development Corporation, is also planning the nearby Flushing Commons, which will cost a projected $800 million. That five-acre, 1.1 million square foot project will construct office space, up to 300,000 square feet of retail, a hotel, a movie theater, 500 housing units and underground parking.

"I can only say what we've seen in Flushing and Flushing is booming," Meyer said. He cited last year's report from former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi which ranked Flushing as the strongest neighborhood economy outside Manhattan.

Meyer said he expected demand for office space in Flushing to spill over to Willets Point, where growing Queens businesses could fill the new office space alone, without Manhattan companies relocating back offices.

Last year, the EDC announced the finalists that bid on the Willets Point project, including: Macerich Company and AvalonBay; Westfield Corporation; Vornado; Forest City Ratner; The Related Companies; General Growth Properties; Rosenshein Associates, LCOR, and Sage Hotel; and Muss Development. The EDC declined to say if any had dropped out of the running.

Muss is building Sky View Park, formerly called Flushing Town Center, which will include 3.3 million square feet of retail space at a 14-acre site at College Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue.

Michael Slattery, the Real Estate Board of New York's senior vice president, said Flushing's population and economic growth has driven demand for more office space.

At the end of June, the average asking rent for Queens office space was $25.93 a square foot, while the borough's vacancy rate was 10.6 percent, according to Robert Sammons of Colliers ABR, who tracks commercial space throughout New York City.

Not everyone is bullish on Flushing. Tom Angotti, director of the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development and author of last year's study on Willets Point, said he doubted that the area could sustain the proposed office space. He said that Willets Point's separation from Flushing could not be erased by a lone footbridge.

"It is a lengthy bridge that is not very inviting across wetlands," he said. "I would certainly want to see the numbers to convince me that there is real demand."

Angotti said he does not know if businesses will choose Willets Point over neighboring Flushing, let alone Jamaica, with its easy access to Kennedy Airport and an expected rezoning that will allow more commercial building.

The Hunter study cites Willets Point's role as the city's auto repair hub, which would be dispersed by the redevelopment. While the area is often criticized as an eyesore, some community leaders say the local economy is thriving and the new project isn't needed.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg stressed the need to develop Willets Point at a May press conference, where he unveiled the plan. The EDC says it hopes to select a developer by the end of the year.

"For far too long, the Willets Point peninsula has been an area marked by unrealized potential and neglect, inhibiting growth in Downtown Flushing and Corona and steadily becoming more polluted," Bloomberg said. By John Celock

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal

antinimby
September 11th, 2007, 12:46 AM
Gotta believe the Real Deal's information is incorrect or if it's correct, then this has certainly came out of nowhere and taken me by surprise.

I have to believe that the Lev Group they're referring to is Leviev Boymelgreen and I don't remember Ismael Leyva doing any huge project for Flushing. I certainly hope it's true though because that'll be very exciting for Flushing.


September 10 (http://www.therealdeal.net/breaking_news/2007/09/10/1189437746.php), 9:34 am

Big Flushing mixed-use projects takes shape


Lev Group has begun building a massive five-tower, mixed-use complex in Flushing, the Manhattan firm's biggest-ever project.

The Ismael Leyva-designed River will feature three residential buildings with over 1,000 units and two commercial towers with a mix of office, hotel and retail. Demolition and foundation work has begun on the project, co-developed with Mountain View Capital.

Lev's other residential project in Queens, "Sage," is on nearby Northern Boulevard. It will build 33 condos, a parking garage and retail space.

In Manhattan, the two-year-old company has also begun foundation work at The 505, an 84,000-square-foot, 109 unit condo project. Located at 505 West 47th Street, the luxury mid-rise condos will include 26 studios, 59 one-bedrooms, 12 two-bedrooms and 12 penthouses, with prices ranging from $399,000 to $1.4 million. Amenities include roof decks, a gym, concierge service and high-end appliances. Sales are slated to begin within two months.

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal

antinimby
September 28th, 2007, 08:32 PM
^ Apparently, that indeed is an entirely new project that somehow slipped under the radar screen of the othewise watchful eyes of this forum.

The site is the strip of land bounded by Janet Place to the east, 39 Ave. to the north (technically 39 Ave. ends right as the site begins so you can say the Asian supermarket is really the northern boundary), the 7 train tracks to the south and of course, the Flushing River to the west.

Here are a couple of recent photos I took. You can see Sky View Park site (aka Flushing Town Center) in the background there.

http://img230.imageshack.us/img230/1743/img0038cu9.th.jpg (http://img230.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0038cu9.jpg) http://img264.imageshack.us/img264/8175/img0039il4.th.jpg (http://img264.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0039il4.jpg)

You can see that they demolished most of the warehouses that was there before and tore up the pavement so far. More digging and foundation work is on the way.

antinimby
September 28th, 2007, 08:47 PM
Now, onto the almost completed Queens Crossing...

The 'front' as seen from Main St.:
http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/3669/img0035yr2.jpg


Final touches on the glass storefronts at the corner of Main and 39 Ave.:
http://img296.imageshack.us/img296/3457/img0034cf9.jpg


The 'rear' as seen from 138 St.:
http://img443.imageshack.us/img443/8309/img0030im8.th.jpg (http://img443.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0030im8.jpg) http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/1629/img0031qz8.th.jpg (http://img213.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0031qz8.jpg)