BY LYNN EDMONDS
One of Community Board 7’s two new members, Michael Cheng, has been visiting Flushing at least once a week for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Queens, and then in Great Neck, Nasssau County, the cultural connection with his Chinese heritage, and the restaurants in the area drew him back time after time, even through graduate school at New York University’s Stern School of Business. And it was here that Cheng ultimately settled nine years ago, even after he’d experienced glamorous Shanghai and Manhattan.
Aside from living and spending time in the area, Cheng is rooted in Flushing particularly through his family company, Epos Development, and their real estate development work throughout Queens. Epos has developed in Manhattan and throughout Queens, including 143-26 41st Ave., a 30-unit residential condominium and community facility in Flushing and 143-28 41st Ave., a 26-unit condominium and community facility in the area.
Cheng will serve on his first board meeting in June.
“I feel honored and grateful to help bring some improvements to the community,” he said.
While Cheng noted that CB 7, and busy downtown Flushing in particular, are thriving, he said his goal was to help raise the quality of life in the area.
“There’s a lot of strength in the community, but also certain changes that we need to see that need to improve, problems that need to be solved,” he said.
Cheng said that while the area has amazing restaurants, vitality and cultural diversity, people don’t always recognize that. And while part of it is an image problem, there are concrete steps that can be taken to improve downtown Flushing.
Cheng said he wanted to make it greener, with more trees and parks, get rid of graffiti, and promote diversity among retailers. He also wanted to create more jobs and focus on culture and the arts to bring more cultural experiences to CB 7 residents and make it more of a destination.
Flushing has the potential to be ranked among the top 20 places to live in the United States, he even projected.
“It has all the ingredients to become an internationally recognized city,” Cheng said.
“The cost of living here is not that high. There’s a great cultural diversity here. People come out here because there’s amazing restaurants,” he said. “There’s no reason why it should not be attracting a lot more people.”
Another issue close to Cheng’s heart is education. He has begun to donating to build schools, churches and hospitals worldwide, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also opened up an accredited online Chinese language school, Mando Mandarin, to teach targeted toward K-12 students. He wants to serve on the education committee to help bring improvements in that sector to the board’s neighborhoods.
He also hopes to serve on the Land Use Committee.
As to what makes him tick, Cheng is inspired by God, philanthropy and community. His LinkedIn profile states that he “starts every morning with prayer, guided meditation, and a high-intensity workout which allows him to remain focused and deliver explosive results.”
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana