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Thread: Long Island City Development

  1. #1

    Default Long Island City Development

    July 18, 2004


    Long Island City: An Office District Slow in Emerging



    The Information Technology High School on 21st Street.

    Decades-long efforts to develop Long Island City as a major office district received a bit of a boost last week with the news that Citigroup would move 700 employees from Lower Manhattan into a planned new 14-story building across the street from the company's 48-story tower, which has stood in splendid isolation since the late 1980's.

    Still, the effort has a long way to go.

    Long Island City has for years been designated by planners as a potential fourth central business district for the city, after Midtown and downtown Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn. Citigroup put up its 48-story tower in 1989, and earlier this year Metropolitan Life moved 1,600 employees into two renovated factory buildings in the area.

    Much of the area was rezoned a few years ago to allow larger office buildings, and a pending additional rezoning, mainly on the edges of the previous district, would permit more residential development and larger supermarkets.

    The proposal has been approved by the local community board and the borough president's office and awaits hearings before the City Council.

    Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, said the zoning change is intended to encourage low-rise residential and retail development in Hunters Point. "We expect that this will trigger high-density office and residential development along Jackson Avenue by making the area more attractive," she said.

    In anticipation of zoning changes, developers have been buying old industrial buildings for use as art galleries and schools — and possibly as residences if the changes are approved.

    In one notable recent sale, the owners of the Scalamandré silk mill in Long Island City announced early this year that they were moving to South Carolina, and the old mill buildings were bought by a Manhattan-based developer, Time Equities. Francis J. Greenburger, the company's president, said Scalamandré would retain part of the space and the rest would be offered to commercial tenants, although he did not rule out a residential conversion eventually. In the 1980's Time Equities was a major converter of rental buildings to co-ops.

    Some properties have already undergone conversion. The former Lion Match factory, a four-story, 60,000-square-foot building on 43rd Avenue, is being renovated for use as offices. A four-story, 130,000-square-foot building on 21st Street that lost its manufacturing tenants is now the Information Technology High School.

    The economics driving conversion are compelling in areas zoned for housing or likely to be rezoned, said Richard Maltz, chairman of Greiner-Maltz, an industrial and commercial broker active in Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.

    He said a typical 10,000-square-foot factory building in the area sells for $120 to $140 a square foot, or $1.2 million to $1.4 million. But if a builder can put up 30,000 square feet of residential space on that same site, Mr. Maltz said, the value of the property rises to $2.1 million to $2.5 million.

    The manufacturers still in the once solidly industrial area are complaining that the zoning changes, if approved, may drive them from the area, which is prized for its proximity to customers in Manhattan.

    Adam Friedman, executive director of the New York Industrial Retention Network, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to assist manufacturers in the city, said there is a danger that adding office workers and residents to the area will significantly change the nature of the community. If that happens, manufacturing buildings will be sold for conversion or rents will increase beyond the financial ability of small artisans or distributors.

    "There are still 27,000 industrial jobs in the 11101 ZIP code area," covering Long Island City and parts of some nearby neighborhoods, Mr. Friedman said.

    Mr. Friedman said city planners had not accepted his organization's proposal to designate a part of the area as an industrial employment district to reduce the pressure on owners to sell to developers.

    Some people, however, doubt that there is that much demand for the existing manufacturing space. Gail A. Roseman, an executive vice president of Sholom & Zuckerbrot, a commercial brokerage in Long Island City, said, "The area has changed, and the need for manufacturing buildings is not there anymore."

    John Reinertsen, a vice president of CB Richard Ellis, a major commercial property broker, agreed. The overall situation in the area, he said, is "too much space chasing too few tenants." He said he expected that some of the industrial space would be preserved but that "over time a lot will become residential."

    The ideal might be a balance, but achieving it is complex. Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a private planning group, said: "We have learned that the most successful business districts are those that are the most diverse. The challenge is to allow for evolution in Long Island City, but also create certainty for the industrial sector."

    Despite the general decline of industry in the city, Mr. Yaro said, manufacturing and distribution still provide about 20 percent of the jobs in the city — jobs that are often the first rung on the economic ladder for recent immigrants.

    Mr. Maltz said that low interest rates were partly behind the efforts to buy and redevelop industrial properties and that prices might start to decline if rates rise and developers find they cannot get the financing for a major conversion project.

    The proposed rezoning will allow for mixed-use development, with housing and stores adjacent to warehouses and manufacturing, said David H. Inerfeld, a senior director of Sholom & Zuckerbrot. But this will be nothing new for the area, where a typical block may already have industrial buildings on the corners and row houses covering the midblock area. Most of this varied development predates zoning rules.

    Residential development will attract retailers to serve a growing population, and this will make the area more livable, Mr. Reinertsen said. "Right now, the area pretty much shuts down in the evening."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

    Hunters Point Subdistrict Rezoning

  2. #2


    July 25, 2004


    High-Rises Are Arising, but Are They a Skyline?


    "The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge," as F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world."

    It should go without saying that Fitzgerald was referring to Manhattan, "rising up across the river in white heaps and sugar lumps." Queens, which Nick Carraway would have glimpsed had he turned around, has always had many things to offer. An awe-inspiring skyline was never among them.

    But now the borough, home in Jay Gatsby's world to ash heaps and murderous mechanics, may be taking small steps skyward in Long Island City. The borough's tallest building, the 48-story Citigroup skyscraper at Court Square, is getting a 14-story neighbor across the street, the company announced this month. And Queens West, the development parcel across from the United Nations, is home to 42-story and 32-story apartment buildings, and will get two more rental buildings, each over 30 stories tall. At the East River Tennis Club, two 28-story condominium towers are taking shape.

    "Certainly what was there before as you drove along F.D.R. Drive looking at Queens, it wasn't the most inviting view," said Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2. "There used to be this Manhattan view of Queens as being this gritty industrial area, because that's all you saw."

    Tall buildings and the zoning that allows them could help give Queens a new image, Mr. Conley said. Still, new development must be done sensitively, he said, to protect residents' "million-dollar view" of Manhattan.

    In Brooklyn too, a mini skyline might rise. Its highest building is the 34-story Williamsburgh Savings Bank, but if the developer Bruce Ratner gets his way and builds four towers as part of his Nets arena plan, one of those towers would stand taller than the bank.

    But what about the view of Queens?

    Carol Willis, the director of the Skyscraper Museum in Lower Manhattan, was hesitant to pronounce it a skyline just yet. Of the planned Citigroup building, she said, "I think it's certainly not a skyscraper." Plus, she added, "You're not going to get a skyline with two buildings."

    Ms. Willis said skyscrapers typically required access to mass transit, a waterfront and affordable land, all of which are available in Long Island City. But whether those qualities will yield a memorable skyline depends on a strong economy, a zeal for development and, perhaps most important, a lucky alignment of the stars.

    Could that happen in Queens anytime soon?

    "I guess you have to define 'soon,' " Ms. Willis said.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Williamsburg, Brooklyn


    LIC is a fantastic place for new offices, apartments, museums, etc...
    Minutes from Midtown Manhattan it is a mystery to me how this area has been so slow in the making.

  4. #4


    Yep And I live there... it is very slow in the making and whats weird was when LIC was first starting to develop it used to be all industrial!

  5. #5


    yep and i live there i live in the citylights building it is very nice...

  6. #6
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default Office plan okayed for Queens Plaza

    Office plan okayed for Queens Plaza
    By James DeWeese
    Email to a friend Voice your opinion Printer-friendly

    Community Board 2 voted earlier this month to approve a business deal that could clear the way for as much as 3 million square feet of new commercial office space along Queens Plaza, another milestone in the business development that is reshaping Long Island City.

    Under the agreement, Tishman Speyer Properties, whose other holdings include such iconic city locales as Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building, would receive a 99-year lease on city-owned land currently occupied by the Queens Plaza Garage at Jackson Avenue and an adjacent lot, said Jeremy Smith, a project manager with New York City Economic Development Corp.

    The board had previously approved a land-use request for the project in 2001.

    Under the business agreement approved on Nov. 4 in a 31-1 vote with two abstentions, Tishman Speyer, which has buildings in nine cities across Europe and the Americas, would have to build on the Queens Plaza Garage site by no later than 2015, Smith said.

    During construction, the 1,150-space Queens Plaza Garage, which currently houses 180,000 square feet of commercial office space, would be demolished and replaced with similar on-site parking, as outlined in the agreement.

    Some residents had expressed concern about the temporary loss of parking, but planners said the majority of the garage's users are actually commuters from Long Island who drop off their cars at Queens Plaza before hopping a train into the city.

    "We are very excited about building a building in Long Island City," Tony Mannarino, a representative of Tishman Speyer told the community board. "We have been looking for opportunities to do something outside Manhattan."

    Long Island City is fast attracting the businesses and office space that are turning it into one of the city's most important financial centers.

    The MetLife building and Citigroup's 48-story Court Square skyscraper call the area home. And Citigroup, which already houses 4,800 employees in the borough, is slated to break ground on an additional 14-story, 475,000-square-foot office complex in 2005.

    Tishman Speyer's proposed project would dramatically increase the amount of commercial office space available in the area. As part of the deal, the developer also would be required to spend $1 million to market and publicize the area over a period of 10 years, Smith said.

    "One of the major advantages to the commercial space being located in Long Island City is it's basically an extension of Midtown," said Michael Reale, a project manager with the Long Island City Business Development Corp. "It's right over the 59th Street Bridge."

    But booming development also is forcing planners to perform a balancing act, Reale said.

    "Obviously, it would be great to have more commercial space but also at the same time to try to attempt to retain the manufacturing part of Long Island City which is basically part of the area's heritage," Reale said. "It's kind of juggling both interests at the same time."

    Portions of Long Island City were rezoned several years ago to accommodate further commercial and residential development.

    Zoning regulations allow for the construction of as much as 3 million square feet of office space between the two lots Tishman Speyer is looking to develop, said Suzanne Halpin, executive vice president of Rubenstein Communications, which is handling public relations for the developer.

    It was too early to speculate what shape the buildings would take, Halpin said.

    But the project has the resounding support of the EDC.

    "One of the exciting things about this is Tishman Speyer is a world renowned developer," said Melanie Lenz, the EDC's vice president for Queens Real Estate. "Something on this site will happen soon. It will happen with the right resources. And it will happen in the right way."

    Janelle Patterson, a spokeswoman for the EDC, said the development plan has not been finalized and must still be approved by the Borough Board and the EDC board. Final approval could come as early as February, she said.

    Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

    ©Times Ledger 2004

  7. #7


    Great! Maybe Queens will finally have a skyline! Great Towers! An extension of midtown...exactly right!

  8. #8


    February 6, 2005


    A Famed Skyline Fixture, Standing Tall Another Day


    he Long Island City skyline has but a few jewels. One, the Citigroup tower, is a tall skyscraper of aqua glass. Another is the old Pennsylvania Railroad Power Station, a brick survivor from 1909 with four smokestacks that sits in the shadow of two new condo towers.

    As this Queens neighborhood experiences a revival, newer residents have championed the area's industrial past. Last year, a cafe on Jackson Avenue called Ten63 began selling shirts depicting the power plant, its smokestacks adopting the mantle of a neighborhood icon.

    But recently, some intrepid Web surfers on uncovered an application for a permit filed last month by a developer calling for "demolition of all 4 existing chimneys" of the plant, a prelude to converting the building for residential use. Community reaction, on the whole, has not been positive.

    "It would basically disfigure the building," said Monte Antrim, a co-owner of Ten63 and an architect. "At that point it's really a lump of bricks."

    Mr. Antrim, along with his wife and co-owner, Talitha Whidbee, has begun a postcard campaign to get landmark status for the plant. "It is a critical part of the aesthetic character of the neighborhood and an important part of its history," said Paul Parkhill, co-director of the educational group Place in History.

    Despite the hubbub over the apparent demise of the smokestacks, the developer of the project said on Friday that he had no such plans. "We have no intention to take down the smokestacks," said Cheskel Schwimmer, vice president of CGS Builders, a Brooklyn firm. "We want to try to preserve the smokestacks as much as possible."

    The intention behind applying for the permit, he said, was to get permission to remove small pieces of the smokestacks and incorporate them into the design.

    To that end, Mr. Schwimmer and the architect he hired, Karl Fischer, have produced a rendering that includes a cube of glass resting on top of the existing building and attached to the smokestacks, which would actually become part of the new building and be equipped with windows. "We will both reinforce the smokestacks and create good living space within the building," Mr. Schwimmer said.

    For the time being, he and Mr. Fischer, who was the architect for the renovated Gretsch Building in Williamsburg, are working with the city's departments of buildings and city planning to get the cube design approved. In the meantime, it seems that the smokestacks, beacons of Queens past, will continue to point their brown spires into the sky.

    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  9. #9


    Originally called the Westinghouse Power Station
    McKim Mead & White (1909)

    Penn RR power plant.
    NY & Queens Electric Light & Power Co.
    Schwartz Chwmical Co

  10. #10


    I have always loved this building and I am glad to hear it might not be torn down. I have always hoped it could be incorporated into an indoor space, how the Winter Garden is for Battery Park City, such incorporation has been done in Cities like Washington D.C. and Pittsburgh and would be appropriate for Long Island City still making the transformation from an industrial district to a 24/7 residential community.

  11. #11


    On the Waterfront

    With the developments River East and Silvercup West, a stately cityscape would stretch along the river from the Queens line to the Queensboro bridge

    Daniel Hendrick is a frequent contributor to Newsday.

    February 6, 2005

    Move over, Queens West.

    The Long Island City skyline is expected to get a little more crowded soon as a new mixed-use development rises along the East River and a second complex, just south of the Queensboro Bridge, begins to go from the drawing boards to reality.

    In June, construction is expected to begin on River East, a five-acre nexus of restaurants, condominiums, shops and gardens on 44th Avenue between Vernon Boulevard and the waterfront. When the $350-million-plus complex by Vernon Realty is finished, estimated in mid-2007, it will encompass eight buildings, including two 30-story towers.

    A third of a mile to the north, on Vernon Boulevard near the Queensboro Bridge, the founders of Silvercup Studios, Stuart Match Suna and his brother Alan, have revived plans for Silvercup West, a film-inspired minicity of apartments, shops, sound stages and even a museum. After the six-acre project nearly fell apart four years ago, work now is expected to begin late this year and end in late 2009.

    The two ventures harness momentum generated by Queens West, a public-private partnership that produced the 43-story City- lights building in 1997 and 32-story Avalon Riverview in 2002, and will eventually encompass 19 buildings over 74 acres.

    River East and Silvercup West go a step further, incorporating everything from parking to retail to open space. "Even within the presence of some of these very strong architects that work in the neighborhood, we want to do something that raises the bar completely beyond what anyone's done for residential development, including in Manhattan," said Jay Valgora, whose V Studio is designing River East.

    River East's plan

    Rising between Board of Education and Con Edison buildings, River East will be built on land now occupied by the Fila Tennis Club.

    Two eight-story mixed commercial and residential buildings will flank the entrance on 44th Avenue, followed by two eight-story buildings to the east that will include town house-style duplexes on the first two floors and single-floor apartments above.

    A pair of 30-story towers will dominate the scene, overlooking a waterfront esplanade, playground and park. The complex will house 902 condominiums overall and include 1.1-million square feet of interior space.

    V Studio's design seeks to meld new materials with concepts seen elsewhere in Long Island City. The waterfront towers will be constructed with floor-to-ceiling glass, making them the largest residential glass buildings in the city, Valgora said. Meanwhile, billboard-size architectural slabs atop buildings in the complex will echo the nearby PepsiCo and Silvercup Studios billboards - except that River East's billboards will be parts of rooftop gardens and will be covered with foliage. Two parking garages will be built underground, and noted landscape architect Ken Smith plans to locate trees and shrubbery throughout the development.

    Silvercup silent

    Silvercup West will be on Vernon Boulevard between 43rd Avenue and the Queensboro Bridge. Silvercup Studios representatives declined to talk about the project, saying it is in the early phases.

    But an application filed with a state agency in December offers the most detailed view yet of the 2.3-million-square-foot development, which promises to reshape a neighborhood now home to warehouses and public housing.

    Silvercup West will include 1,000 apartments, 655,000 square feet of office space and a 350,000-square-foot film and television studio. The plan also calls for retail space, a health club, catering hall, underground garage, a 125,000- square-foot museum and a waterfront promenade that will be open to the public.

    To get a comprehensive design, Silvercup Studios last year selected the Richard Rogers Partnership, a U.K.-based architectural firm known for its work on the Centre Pompidou in Paris and London's Millennium Dome and Canary Wharf.

    Silvercup Studios had hoped to get started on Silvercup West after buying a 2.7-acre property on Vernon Boulevard in 1999. But the following year, the New York Power Authority announced plans to install electricity-generating turbines next door.

    Silvercup sued the authority, fearing turbine noise would interfere with a planned sound stage, but the company declined to put up a $5-million bond to shield NYPA from any financial damages incurred by a work stoppage.

    Plans for Silvercup West now include the 3.3-acre NYPA-owned property - even though the authority has not agreed to sell it. "It's not like it's chiseled in stone that we are going to stay there," said NYPA spokesman Jack Murphy. "We have said that we would consider negotiating, provided that certain long-term conditions were met. But there is nothing definite."

    Long Island City residents and community leaders agree River East and Silvercup West will improve neighborhood aesthetics, but raise questions.

    Concern for historic factory

    The first concerns the fate of the Terra Cotta Works building, a late 19th century edifice that is the sole visible remnant of a ceramics factory complex that once operated on the property. Plans filed with the state indicate the damaged landmark "will be integrated into the proposed development."

    "That landmarked building is not supposed to be touched, and the fear with projects like this is that it somehow will go away," said Ray Normandeau, who lives in the nearby Queensbridge Houses.

    The larger question for both projects is how they will impact Long Island City, particularly its economics. Community Board 2 chairman Joe Conley predicted that River East and Silvercup West will increase demand for space, leading to higher rents that will displace working-class housing and manufacturing jobs.

    "These developments are not a bad thing for the neighborhood," Conley said. "But there has to be some kind of plan to keep the businesses and jobs that are here now. Otherwise, it's the lower socio-economic groups that are going to be pushed out."

    For the 30,000 residents of the nearby Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Astoria Houses, however - where rents are fixed and unemployment is high - the construction blitz could be a godsend, said the Rev. Mitchell Taylor, of the East River Development Alliance. "This experience excites me, because it gives us a window of opportunity to connect residents of public housing to all of the changes taking place in Long Island City."

    But the greatest benefit to the public has little to do with economics, planners say. Much of the East River waterfront is inaccessible to the public; these two projects will change that and form part of what may one day be a single contiguous riverfront community.

    "The grand opportunity here is a set of waterfront parks and connections from Queensbridge Park all the way to Hunters Point," said John Young, Queens director of the Department of City Planning.

    Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc.

  12. #12

    Thumbs up

    YEAH YEAH! This is good news! Im excited! Great for LIC!

  13. #13


    Nice photos ZippyTheChimp.

  14. #14
    Forum Veteran
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    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI

    Default Long Island City Development Poised To Transform Waterfront

    by Neille Ilel, Western Queens Editor
    February 10, 2005

    Residents and developers in Long Island City are hoping that River East, a 1.2-million-square-foot residential and commercial project in Long Island City, will finally give the neighborhood the “it” status that boosters have been predicting for years.
    Vernon Realty, in addition to developing River East, is also in the early stages of three commercial ventures within two blocks of the River East site. One is a large grocery store that the company’s president Marshall Weissman described as “in the Whole Foods type—one of the sexy ones.” Another is the addition of “two very popular New York City restaurants.” And finally there’s talk of a pair of stores of the “Gap-type.” Weissman added that it was too early for him to go into specifics.
    According to Weissman, River East is getting 200 to 250 calls a day from interested buyers—and excavation hasn’t even begun on the bu
    ildings. “It’s insane,” he admitted.
    It isn’t unheard of for real estate developers to create their own buzz. For an area like Long Island City, which has been on the verge of massive development for as long as anyone can remember, developers aren’t the only ones anxious to give it that final push.
    The River East complex will include two 30-story glass towers and four 8-story buildings that will be located on 44th Avenue between Vernon Boulevard and the waterfront. In addition, a public park will be landscaped along the waterfront, paid for by the developer, but open to the public.
    “This development is long overdue,” said George Stamatiades, a member of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, which is on the north side of the Queensborough Bridge. “We’re just too strategically located to have been skipped over for so long.”
    Weissman agreed, noting that the development will be especially attractive to Manhattanites who have been priced out of that borough’s real estate market.
    “This is a new vision for Long Island City,” said the project’s architect Jay Valgora, principal of V Studios. He said that as an architect, designing the soaring towers was a thrill, but he is most proud of the waterfront park and playground. The development is situated just north of the Queens West development project.
    “We lobbied very hard for the esplanade space,” said Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2. The neighborhood has been working with the Department of City Planning since 1992 to develop the area with a waterfront park reaching all the way to Astoria.
    The agency and the site’s previous owners, the East River Tennis Club, agreed on ground rules for the site, including the amount of public space and height restrictions on the structures, before the property was sold to developers.
    Terri Adams, president of the Hunters Point Community Development organization said she too welcomed the development, but had reservations about the height and rather large bulk that seem to be standard for the latest string of Long Island City developments.
    Silvercup Studios, located just east of River East, has restarted its own plans to develop a mixed-use development in its industrial environs. Relative to the six-acre Silvercup expansion project and Queens West, “this is the most delicately scaled,” Valgora said. The two tall towers will be situated on the waterfront so as not to impose on the rest of the neighborhood. The smaller buildings, which will house townhouses and lofts, will even have their own modern version of stoops.
    Valgora said that it makes sense to have large-scale developments on the waterfront because there is a big demand for the accompanying views. Included in the design is 20,000 square feet of retail space, which will be given over to necessities for occupants of the building, like a pharmacy and dry cleaner.
    Residents will also have access to an indoor and outdoor pool, a gym and two floors of below-ground parking. The signature design element in all the structures is the glass exterior, which appears frequently in Valgora’s work.
    He has recently been involved in the RKO Keith’s Theatre site in Flushing, which also makes extensive use of glass exteriors. It was recently rejected for a variance by the community board, but Valgora and community members are hopeful that an agreement on a smaller building will be reached within the next month.
    River East, on the other hand, will be built entirely as of right, meaning the plans are all within current zoning restrictions. Excavation will begin in the coming weeks and the foundation will be laid in June.
    “It’s very important that this raises the bar on design,” Valgora said. “Long Island City is one of the most special neighborhoods in New York.” Now will the rest of the city agree?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  15. #15


    Good news! I cant wait until these start going up!

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