BY LYNN EDMONDS
The Flushing Commons development celebrated a milestone in its construction with a dramatic topping off ceremony held on the windswept upper level of the former Municipal Lot #1 in Flushing on Friday.
Community leaders and local media watched a giant crane lift a gold-painted beam far up into the sky and onto to the construction site, marking the moment when Phase I of project reached full height.
Flushing Commons is a two-phase, mixed-use project that has been 12 years in the making. The first phase, with completion scheduled for this year, includes 148 residential condominiums, 75 office condominiums, 30,000 square feet of retail space and 982 valet parking spaces. The 14-story residential tower is located at 138-35 39th Ave. and the 11-story office condominium building is located at 38-16 Union St.
Phase II, with an expected completion date in 2021, is set to include a YMCA featuring an indoor swimming pool, basketball courts, fitness centers a running track and a day care, as well as a 1.5 acre landscaped open air plaza, over 600 additional parking spaces and additional residential and commercial units.
The total project will be 1.8 million square feet and feature five buildings.
Designed to be a place where people can live work and play, the project is a joint effort by F&T group, Rockefeller Group and AECOM Capital.
One of the project’s most notable aspects may be the 1.5 acre planned green space – 10 percent larger than Rockefeller Plaza – which will be open to the public, Rick Sondik, Vice President of Development of Development for the Rockefeller Group, said.
“Flushing doesn’t have any open spaces,” he stressed. “We expect that it will be the place for people to come to congregate.”
Michael Meyer, President of F&T group, said he believed the project would be “transformative” for Flushing.
“When I first arrived on the scene over 12 years ago, this area was congested, it was blighted in many ways, and really, it’s my contention, Flushing Commons was really the catalyst for a lot of the growth that we see here,” Meyer said.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who made a guest appearance at the ceremony, said Flushing was booming, and this project was part of that.
“The vitality that is in this area is absolutely contagious,” she said. “The Governor and I realize that Flushing is some of the hottest property in the state of New York, one of the fastest growing neighborhoods in this area by far. You are creating a sense of community and a sense of place which is so important,” she said.
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said she was most happy that the development and its commercial and office space would help bring jobs into Flushing.
“It’s more than just a place for people to play and meet and work and live. It’s jobs. And jobs to me are the key to the economy and to economic development in our state,” she said.
Despite optimism about the project, an article in The New York Times sited fears of nearby merchants that the construction and reduced foot traffic would be bad for their businesses.
Penthouse units have begun sales, with prices ranging from $968,000 to more than $3 million. Most of the other residential units are already under contract.
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana