BY MICHAEL STAHL
When folks think of Flushing, they might consider the shopping possibilities on Main Street, the delectably authentic Asian cuisine of New York’s second-largest Chinatown, or a sun-drenched ballgame at Citi Field.
There are also a number of real estate development companies planning to add “luxury homes” to the slate of Flushing attractions as well. Groundbreakings in the neighborhood seem to happen on a weekly basis, while a number of artistic renderings depicting chic, high-rise apartment complexes have been released online the past few months.
With the Flushing market already among the strongest in the five boroughs — home sales prices have shot up more than 51 percent in the last five years, according to Trulia.com — residents can only expect greater maturation in property values as a new local skyline emerges throughout the next half decade.
Here’s a sneak peek at the transformation that’s in store for one of Queens’ most urban areas:
The Flushing Commons Project
Construction of this oft-delayed, billion-dollar development finally began at 39th Avenue and 138th Street in the heart of Downtown Flushing last summer. Phase one of the Flushing Commons will produce 150 new apartments, 219,000 square feet of commercial space and an underground parking garage fit for 982 cars. The developers of this project, the F&T Group, are targeting an early-2017 opening for the initial stage.
“From the moment the first phase of Flushing Commons is finished, the neighborhood is going to have a truly central and modern place to live, work and relax,” Michael Meyer, president of the F & T Group, told the Tribune.
Expected from phase two in the year 2020: an additional 450 apartments, a 62,000-square-foot YMCA facility, 280,000 square feet of commercial space, even more parking, and a 1.5-acre town square and fountain plaza.
“We’ve set a vision for this project to anchor a revitalization of Downtown,” Meyer added. “By drawing a larger circle of visitors, residents and business owners to the area, we’re confident that the whole neighborhood will benefit.”
The RKO Keith’s Theater Redevelopment
A 17-story, mixed-use apartment tower, now known as Flushing Square, will sit atop the landmark-designated RKO Keith’s Theater on Northern Boulevard and Main Street. JK Equities purchased the plot one year ago for a reported $30 million.
The firm ordered assembly work to begin on “a protective shell” around the historic theater, which will be incorporated into the building’s lobby. The project’s second phase of construction — which will focus on the tower that will house 209 condominiums, along with more than 23,000 square feet of retail space, 325 parking spaces and a 15,000-square-foot community facility — is expected to start in the coming months.
Xu Hotel & Residences
The Century Construction Group Corp., headed by Christopher and George Xu, are in the early planning stages of an 11-story, glassy mixed-use building to be constructed up the block from the RKO Keith’s site on the corner of Northern Boulevard and Leavitt Street.
Rezoning rules were altered after the developers filed an official request late this past fall, making the building’s construction on the site, formerly occupied by the Great Wall Supermarket, virtually inevitable. Upon its completion — which may occur before the year is out — the building is projected to include 43 residential units, 191 hotel rooms, a community facility and an 11,000-square-foot retail space, which is expected to include a coffee shop and other eateries.
The busy Xus are hoping to find room for 155 parking spaces and a 33-spot bicycle lockup area in this development, while they also work on redeveloping their 14-story, mixed-use tower on 134th Street and 35th Avenue as well.
The East West Tower
Coming to 37th Avenue between Bowne and Union Streets will be a new development from Kenny Liu, who recently opened the modern Shangri-La Tower on 41st Avenue.
The East West Tower will rise 135 feet with a white façade. Glassy balconies will accompany the 87 condominiums on the construct’s top 10 floors. In the building’s base: 27,000 square feet of floorspace that will house a walk-in health center.
Sky View Parc Towers
A trio of residential towers will stand above the already-complete shopping complex and condominium at 40-28 College Point Blvd.
Phase one of the Sky View Parc project opened in 2011, sporting 448 new apartment units, while Nordstrom Rack, Marshall’s, Old Navy, Best Buy, Target and other big name retailers and restaurants occupied its 800,000-square-foot mall.
Onex Real Estate Partners procured ownership stakes in the project held by Muss Development in late 2014, and are looking forward to finally getting phase two of Sky View Parc underway.
Upon completion, the towers’ residents can look forward to “fashion, function and feng shui,” as the project’s official website puts it.
Apartments in what will be 16-story buildings will range from studios to three-bedroom units, with nine-foot-tall ceilings, large soundproof windows, gourmet kitchens, washer/dryer units, walk-in closets, Manhattan skyline views and other luxury features.
The buildings’ amenities will include a roof deck, outdoor basketball and tennis courts, a track, playground, golf putting greens and driving nets, a dog run, BBQ area and a health club and spa.
(Editor’s Note: For more on this project, see page 5.)
McSam Hotel Group Project
Adjacent to the southernmost recess of the Flushing River will stand a three-tower hotel and residential property developed by Sam Chang of the McSam Hotel Group.
Chang currently has several hotels going up in Manhattan, but in late 2014, he committed $24 million to purchase a plot for this as-yet unnamed Queens project.
Spanning a monstrous 557,400 square feet of space, the property will consist of a 16-story, 390-room hotel, as well as two residential towers rising 15 stories each with 222 total units. The development will also have a retail space, community center and a parking garage.