BY JAMES FARRELL
The Durst Organization has filed plans with the city’s Department of Buildings to build a 63-story, 710-foot mixed-use tower in Long Island City’s Queens Plaza section, setting the stage for one of the largest developments in the neighborhood.
The development is adjacent to Long Island City’s clock tower building, a historic site that was landmarked in 2015. Dedicated in 1927, the clock tower once housed the Bank of the Manhattan Company and was contemporaneously described as “the first skyscraper in Queens,” according to a report by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The clock tower is also owned by the Durst Organization, which filed plans for the skyscraper with the DOB on June 30.
“It’s a landmarked building and we will preserve it and rent it out as a commercial building,” said Jordan Barowitz, vice president of public affairs with the Durst Organization.
Barowitz added that at least 25 percent of all units built in the tower will be affordable, as part of the state’s 421a tax-abatement program, which gives developers exemptions from tax increases in exchange for affordable housing. The recently filed plans, which Barowitz said were “very preliminary,” call for 763 units, meaning that at least 190 units would be affordable.
The Durst Organization purchased the property from a joint venture between Property Markets Group and developer
Kamran Hakim in December 2016 for $167 million. The previous owners were planning a nearly 1,000-foot building before having financial issues, according to previously published reports. That would have made the property the largest building in New York City outside Manhattan. At the time of the purchase, the Durst Organization proposed similar plans, announcing in a press release intentions to build a one-million-square-foot tower with 1,000 rental units.
“This is an extraordinary site with spectacular views and outstanding mass-transit connectivity,” said Jody Durst, the president of the Durst Organization, at the time. “The project provides us with the opportunity to build much-needed market-rate and affordable housing and to make the long-term investments in New York City that have been the bedrock of the Durst Organization’s success for more than 100 years.”
Since then, Barowitz said that the organization has amended the plans to the 763-unit, 710-foot tower proposed in the recently filed plans. Those plans call for 786,833 square feet of residential space with an 8,702-square-foot retail component.
A tower of more than 1,000 feet is currently being built at 9 DeKalb Ave. in Brooklyn. When finished, it would be the tallest structure in New York City outside Manhattan.
In Long Island City, more than 350 development projects are underway with more than 9,000 rental apartments expected, according to numbers from the Long Island City Partnership. More than 11,850 residential units have been completed since 2006.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.