BY MICHAEL STAHL
Roughly a year before phase one of the transformative Flushing Commons residential and commercial mega-project is set to be complete, the developers are characterizing it as an “uncommon success.”
An October press release from the F & T Group, the Rockefeller Group and AECOM Capital, who joined forces to get the often delayed development off the ground, said that more than 50 percent of the office and condominium units landed in contract within one month of an early September 2015 sales launch. “Prospective buyers have recognized the huge opportunity in front of them,” said Helen Lee, executive vice president of F & T Group, who oversees marketing and sales for Flushing Commons. “We have spent years researching what our buyers are seeking in a luxury product, and we believe these strong sales show that Flushing Commons has exceeded their expectations.”
Last month Lee provided the Queens Tribune with a sales update that must have provided the development’s leadership triumvirate with even more reverie. “We already have about 85 percent of the office condominiums and 75 percent of the residences in Phase I in contract,” Lee wrote. “Buyers are excited about the development’s incredible location in the center of Downtown Flushing, as well as the impeccable quality of construction, layouts and finishes.”
The New York City Economic Development Corporation says the five-acre Flushing Commons site will be completely reimagined over its two phases of construction “into a mixed-use destination that will provide housing, community space, public open space, office, and retail opportunities for the community.” Upon completion—perhaps in 2021—the “neighborhood-within-a-neighborhood,” as the developers called it, will ultimately feature a 1.5-acre town square of open space with a fountain plaza, approximately 600 new residential units, and approximately 500,000 square feet of commercial space, including local and national restaurants and retailers. There will also be a 62,000 square-foot YMCA facility, 15,000 square feet of additional community facility space and parking for 1,600 cars. Phase one alone will boast 1.8 million-square-feet and bring 148 residential condos as well as office condos and retail to Downtown Flushing. Developers hope the building, located between Union and 138th Streets and 37th and 39th Avenues, will be ready to open within the next 12 to 16 months. FlushingCommonsUpdates.com provided photographic proof last month that eleven floors worth of the building’s steel encasement have been put in place, providing a skeletal preview of its eventual impression within the rapidly changing Queens skyline.
John T. Livingston, Chief Executive of AECOM Capital, added in an email to the Tribune that the team is “ahead of budget, schedule and projected sell out of both the residential and office condominiums. This is further proof of the depth of the Flushing market and continues to signal that this neighborhood is a strong alternative to the other boroughs of New York, including Manhattan.”