Tag Archives: Briarwood Organization

Development up throughout Queens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

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Temperatures are not the only thing that’s been skyrocketing this summer.

Development in Queens has been booming in the borough, with announcements of major projects, the near-completion of others, and talks of even more to come.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on June 14 the long-awaited, finalized plans for a Willets Point facelift that is expected to bring more than 12,000 union construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs.

The project includes a 200-room hotel and 30,000-square-feet of retail space on what is now the Iron Triangle, a 20-acre convertible recreational area, and a 200-store shopping area on what is currently the west parking lot of Citi Field.

Roughly $3 billion in private investment will go into this project, as well as $100 million in city capital that will go toward demolition and permanent improvements. In turn, the overhaul of the area is expected to bring an estimated $4.2 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years.

It was announced the same day that the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, home to the U.S. Open, will undergo its own expansions and renovations.

The Louis Armstrong Stadium, which currently holds about 10,000 fans, will be replaced — in the same spot — with an updated stadium that will hold 15,000 fans and include administrative and broadcast spaces.

The Grandstand Stadium will be built in the southwest corner of the center, holding some 8,000 spectators.

The renovations, which are expected to begin in the fall of 2013, are expected to bring an extra 10,000 tennis fans to the center per day during the U.S. Open.

Following the announcements for the Tennis Center, Borough President Helen Marshall said this was a step forward for both Queens and the Tennis Center, which employs 6,000 with seasonal jobs, according to the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA).

Marshall said that this would further the already robust revenue the National Championship brings to Queens.

“For generations the borough of Queens has played host to the U.S. Open, a world class sporting event and a major economic catalyst for our city,” she said. “I look forward to working with the USTA to ensure that the new additions to the National Tennis Center bring the maximum benefit to the people of the borough of Queens.”

Sixty acres of downtown Flushing waterfront would also be revitalized as part of the state’s Department of State Brownfield Opportunity Areas program.

The proram consists of mixed use projects over the next 10 years, including recreational, commercial, entertainment and residential portions.

And sailing west, another waterfront in Queens might get a revamp of its own.

The Hallets Point project could break ground as early as the fall of 2013, the Daily News reported. The process would reshape seven acres of Astoria waterfront and see around 2,200 housing units throughout seven towers, along with a supermarket and a park along the East River.

Lincoln Equities Group, the developer of the project, has agreed to set aside 20 percent of the units for affordable housing aimed at seniors, a project official told the Daily News. The site will be located close to the Astoria Houses, a public housing complex.

The Briarwood Organization is currently adding to its plaza on Bell Boulevard that will be home to business and medical offices. The site, located at 36-29 Bell Boulevard, is the most recent of several structures the century-old development company has built on Bell Boulevard. The building is expected to open September 2013, Briarwood partners said.

To the south, a new center that looks to spark development, creativity and understanding is in its last stages of completion.

A new center for New York Families of Austic Children is expected to open this September, said NYFAC CEO Andrew Baumann. The center will be home to programs ranging from drama to expression for children and adults with autism, Baumann said, along with support groups and educational programs for parents and family members.

The new center will be at 164-14 Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach.

And as ground is being broken or the final cornerstone is laid, plans for even further development in the borough are still in the works.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has opened four Requests For Proposals (RFPs) throughout the city — one of which is located in College Point.

The 40,000-square-foot rectangular lot is in the northeast portion of the area’s Corporate Park, which currently houses more than 200 corporations employing approximately 6,000 employees.

And in recent weeks there have been talks of bringing a new Major League Soccer (MLS) Stadium — and new team — to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The stadium, it has been reported, would sit some 20,000 to 25,000 soccer fans in one of the borough’s largest parks. Assemblymember Francisco Moya said the project would have multiple benefits for the borough, both economically and culturally.

The potential project — still in its earliest stages, according to the assemblymember — would be privately financed, not affecting taxpayers. As part of any deal, Moya said, the developer would renovate the several soccer fields in the park now.

Moya also noted the large soccer culture not just in Queens, but in the park. The devout FC Barcelona fan said he learned the game in Flushing Meadows as a child and has played there since.

“That’s where my dad took me to play,” he said. “That’s where I played my whole life.”

 

Briarwood Organization: 100 years of solid foundation


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

COURIER PHOTO/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

An antique picture of Luigi Riso sits in his grandson Raymond’s office in Bayside. The mustached Riso is well-dressed in the fading photo. Riso, an Italian immigrant who came to New York by way of Argentina, was working as a carpenter when he started L. Riso & Sons Co. Inc. in 1912.

His sons, Vincent and Dominic, took over the company in the late 1920s and built a housing development in Jackson Heights which still stands today.

A 1927 photo of the building, with Vincent and Dominic standing in front, hangs in the conference room at the Briarwood Organization’s office – the company that grew from L. Riso & Sons – among pictures and drawings of the buildings that have come since.

The Briarwood Organization is celebrating 100 years in business that includes a storied past and still has the family dynamic it did when Luigi Riso started the company in the early 1900s.

Today the company is run by four partners: Luigi’s grandsons and Vincent’s sons, Vincent L. and Raymond Riso; Raymond’s son James; and Howard Goodman, who is regarded as a brother by the Riso brothers. The company not only does general contracting, but consults, manages, develops and does joint ventures.

 

The walls of the office, located in Bayside at 36-35 Bell Boulevard, can tell a story of the company alone. There are plaques for various awards and photos of buildings that the partners have tried to make affordable to residents of communities throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and most of all, Queens.

Like many other companies, the organization bloomed in the 1920s, including the housing development in Jackson Heights. “They did quite well,” said Vincent L. Riso.

And like countless others, the company took a hit during the Great Depression, but bounced back after World War II.

When the current generation took over in the late 1960s, buildings began to spring up like the company had never seen before – many of which are now fixtures on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, where Vincent L. and Raymond Riso grew up.

These buildings include The Atrium at 38-46, which was constructed in the late 1960s – a second floor added a few years later – and is now home to Tiger Schulman karate and several other businesses.

In total, according to the company’s web site, the Briarwood Organization has received 16 awards from the Queens Chamber of Commerce — the most recent in 2001.

The mortar that keeps the bricks of the company together is more than just cement and a good work ethic — it’s family.

The Riso brothers said they’ve known and worked with Goodman for close to 45 years and he currently works as a designer and planner for the company. His buildings, they said, are not only aesthetically appealing, but are managed well for space.

“We’ve worked together so long, he’s like family,” Vincent L. Riso said.

The legacy of the company is not, however, just laid out in the foundation of its buildings across most of New York City. The partners are actively involved in many community organizations, including St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, where Vincent L. Riso sits on the Board of Directors.

Raymond Riso said his son started out volunteering in the kitchen at St. Mary’s while he was a student at Holy Cross High School. He said his son became so popular with the children there that, “Everytime he came in they would crowd around him,” said the father of four and grandfather of nine.

Jeff Frerichs, president and CEO of St. Mary’s, complimented the company’s service to the community and particularly the hospital.

“With a business philosophy that fosters community-minded development and involvement, The Briarwood Organization and its principals, Vincent, Raymond and James Riso, [and Howard Goodman] are long-time supporters of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children and are strong advocates for children with special needs,” he said. “St. Mary’s is privileged to have the Riso family as part of our family.”

Other times, Briarwood members have mixed their dedication to the public with its construction of more than 3,500 housing units. Many housing units they have constructed, the Riso brothers said, were designed to be affordable housing for people to continue to live in New York City.

These efforts, they said, have tried to raise more depressed areas back up and recreate once-thriving communities.

Vincent L. Riso said giving back to the community was one of the most rewarding things about being in business. “If feels good to give something back,” he said. “You get back 10 times what you give. Just the satisfaction alone is most of it.”

Today Briarwood is still building up areas, and has a keen eye on the future.

They are currently working on Briarwood Plaza II at 36-29 Bell Boulevard. The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013, Vincent L. Riso said, and will house businesses and medical offices.

James Riso is working on two projects in Brooklyn — one will be for the Brooklyn Diocese.

Overall, they said they would like to continue to grow and develop homes that people can afford, and are great places to live.

“I hope to see us expand our operations and go into the future with more and more rental properties, especially for lower-income people,” Vincent L. Riso said.

The key to staying strong, the partners believe, is staying positive no matter how hard or trying the economic times.

“In order to be a developer, you have to be an optimist,” said Vincent L. Riso. “We are optimists.”

Briarwood Organization breaks new ground


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Highlighting a century of progress, the Briarwood Organization continues its work on important new projects.

To mark its first 100 years, the fourth-generation, family-owned company has begun construction on Briarwood Plaza II, a Class-A office building located at 36-29 Bell Boulevard, with 24,000-square-feet of prime space.

“Our first office building, Briarwood Plaza at 36-35 Bell Boulevard, has been a successful amenity for the

Queens community for more than a decade,” points out Vincent Riso, president and a third generation principal. “It was apparent that the timing was right for additional office space to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities at large.”

The state-of-the-art facility features floor sizes ranging from 4,800- to 6,650 rentable square feet, plus on-site parking and carries a 15-year ICAP tax abatement. Its construction and design are bolstered by such environmentally-forward measures as water conserving fixtures, low/no VOC paints and primers and LED lighting with motion sensors.

In addition, Briarwood Plaza II is close to the Long Island Railroad, as well as express and standard bus-service, and offers excellent access to Manhattan, Queens and Long Island.

Briarwood’s in-house property management team is spearheading the marketing and leasing efforts. Visit http://briarwoodorg.com/A_O_BriarwoodPlazaII.cfm.

In March, a resolution was adopted by the New York State Senate officially commemorating the Briarwood Organization for its 100th anniversary.

“For more than a century, Briarwood has played a key role in New York City’s development and we are perfectly-positioned to help shape its future as a developer and third-party general contractor,” said James Riso, vice president and a fourth generation principal of the firm. “Future tenants of Briarwood Plaza II will enjoy the convenience of area restaurants, banking institutions and other services, in addition to a central location near mass transit and major thoroughfares.”