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Thread: Downtown Flushing Development

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    Default Downtown Flushing Development

    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."

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    Comprehensive plan for downtown Flushing:

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


    http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...p-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

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    Default City Plans $265M Revitalization for Flushing

    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.

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    Default NYC Economic Development Corporation Announcement

    NYC Economic Development Corporation Announces Final Development Plan for Downtown Flushing ( 6/14/2004 )
    http://newyorkbiz.com/About_Us/getPr...lxx.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.

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    Default Clean-up plan funded for Flushing Creek

    Clean-up plan funded for Flushing Creek
    By Cynthia Koons
    12/02/2004
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    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...2515&rfi=6

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    Default

    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.”

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    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.

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    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

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    $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

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    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

  12. #12
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    Default Muss Announces $600M Project

    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.”

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    This is great news

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    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.

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