Tag Archives: Citibank

Tallest building in Queens for sale

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

One Court Square, the tallest building in the city outside of Manhattan, has hit the market once again, and its sale price could break borough records, according to reports.

Real estate firm Savanna, which bought a controlling interest last year in the 51-story building also known as the Citi Tower, listed it with brokerage Cushman & Wakefield, which was first reported by the New York Daily News.

Representatives for Cushman & Wakefield didn’t comment on the listing, and an asking price was not disclosed.

The tower sold in 2011 for $500 million, but is expected to sell for much more this time around since values in Long Island City have increased over time.

One Court Square was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and built by Turner Construction in 1989 for Citigroup. The office tower has 1.5 million square feet of space and is 673 feet tall.

Citigroup, which sold the building in 2005, still has a lease through 2020 for the tower and the company has about 4,800 workers in it, according to reports.



EXCLUSIVE: Squatters using foreclosed Ozone Park home as drug outlet even after police raids

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

They just want this nightmare to end.

An Ozone Park home in foreclosure, which squatters use to sell drugs, has been the target of police investigations and raids for years — yet it’s still terrorizing the neighborhood, while the process to reclaim the home is ongoing.

Residents have witnessed squatters exchange money for drugs from the house at 105-17 101st Rd. for about four years. As little as three weeks ago, on April 2, cops busted open the home around 6 a.m. with a search warrant and arrested five individuals from ages 25 to 42 after finding drugs, including marijuana.

Christan Henderson, Hasun and Judith Andino, Ebony Goggans and Troy James were all charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to authorities. But as in the past, even after arrests, illegal activities haven’t ceased at the home, according to neighbors.

“It’s Grand Central Station all day,” said an elderly resident on the block, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of becoming a possible target for the squatters. “All day long you see them coming back and forth, back and forth. I have to have four locks on my door. I remember we never even locked our doors when I was younger. Now I’m afraid. I’m a prisoner in my own home.”

Neighbors say “shady” people rotate as residents in the home, so there is not a set family living in the house. Also, individuals come to buy drugs during the day and even late at night.

The property is noticeably falling apart from the outside and it has been sited with complaints and violations from the Department of Buildings, including illegally converting part of the kitchen into a bedroom.

The dead-end 101st Road is bordered by St. Mary’s Gate of Heaven, a Catholic kindergarten through eighth-grade school, a building that nearly 1,000 kids use for school, religious activities and Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) basketball and volleyball.

St. Marys 2

There has never been a reported incident involving the squatters and children, who are as young as 5, according to a school representative. However, the school community joined forces with residents to report illegal activities to authorities and local politicians, hoping stop the problem before any incidents occur. Also, the school wants to limit exposure of drugs to students.

Because the home is private property, the city and cops are not able to stop people from entering it.

The owner of the house is listed as Nicole Absalom of Bay Shore in Suffolk County, according to city records. Absalom acquired the property in 2008, records show. The home has been in foreclosure since 2010, after Absalom failed to pay CitiMortgage, a division of Citigroup.

There isn’t a listed contact number for Absalom, but according to Assemblyman Mike Miller, his office has attempted to contact the homeowner, with no response. Miller is hoping that CitiMortgage can reclaim the house and remove squatters or give authorities permission to lock up the home.

“The only way to really take action and to keep everybody out of the house is to get permission from the owner to do that, but because the owner is not cooperating, we need the bank to foreclose on the property so that we can get permission from them to get everybody out of the house,” Assemblyman Mike Miller said. “We need them to take action. It’s their responsibility at this point.”

Mike Miller 1

Assemblyman Mike Miller

However, the bank said it can’t take back the home yet, because of a sluggish New York State foreclosure process.

“Because Citi services this loan, but does not own it, we have limited options for managing the property prior to foreclosure,” said Mark Rodgers, director of public affairs at Citi. “As we do not own the property, we cannot legally have squatters evicted. We are working with our legal counsel trying to expedite this case.”


Citigroup selling huge LIC development site

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Citigroup, which is known for building One Court Square — the city’s tallest building outside Manhattan — is looking to sell a massive development site near the tower, according to a published report.

The nearly one-acre development site in Long Island City, which takes up about half a block and is bounded by 44th Road, 23rd Street and 44th Drive, is being marketed by Jones Lang LaSalle.

The lot has up to 780,000 buildable square feet and could sell for as much as $150 million, according to the New York Times.

Current zoning at the site allows for it to be developed into a mixed-use building with space for residential, retail, hotel or office space.


New building at former Little Neck Scobee Diner site making progress

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The new two-story commercial building that was planned for the former site of the popular Scobee Diner in Little Neck is nearing completion.

The frame of the first floor of the 5,612-square-foot building at 252-29 Northern Blvd. is mostly erect and workers are constructing the back and the second floor. But the new building was expected to be completed by September, according to the construction site poster.

A Citibank branch is expected to move in as a tenant on the first floor after the building is completed, according to past reports and designs by Nandinee Phookan Architects.

A medical office was also set for the second floor of the building.

A Schuckman Realty advertisement was posted about available space. Calls and emails to Schuckman Realty were not returned.

Construction poster

The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals approved a variance for the new building at the former Scobee Diner site in January, allowing the new owner, Lion Bee Equities, to move the former restaurant’s parking lot to the back of the property.

There will be 17 parking spaces at the new lot, according to city records.

Scobee Diner closed in 2010 after the restaurant owners failed to reach an agreement on purchasing the site from the landowners.

Inside construction


New owner buys Queens’ tallest building

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The tallest building in Queens— and New York State outside of Manhattan— has a new owner.

Savanna, a real estate investment firm, announced on Monday that together with a partnering company it acquired a controlling interest in One Court Square, the 51-story building in Long Island City occupied by Citibank.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of this terrific asset in Long Island City,” said Nicholas Bienstock, managing partner of Savanna. “One Court Square not only features attractive building amenities and convenient transportation access, but is also located in the heart of Long Island City, which has transformed over the past 10 years into one of the most attractive up-and-coming residential and office markets in the city.”

The group of investors led by David Werner, who previously owned the 1.5 million-square-foot building, will remain a smaller partner of the building.

Savanna did not release the price it paid for the tower, but Crain’s reported that the purchase would have been a much greater value than the nearly $500 million that Werner paid for it in 2011.

One Court Square was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and built by Turner Construction in 1989.


Man wanted in Roosevelt Avenue ATM robbery

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A suspect got away with $200 after he robbed a man at a Jackson Heights Citibank, cops said.

On Jan. 21, at about 1:20 a.m., the suspect entered the bank at 80-19 Roosevelt Ave., approached the 40 year-old male victim and forcefully removed his cash as he was making an ATM withdrawal, the NYPD said.

The victim resisted, but the suspect managed to free himself and flee with the money, according to police.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.




Jackson Heights bank robbery suspect wanted

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy NYPD

Police are looking for a man who robbed a Jackson Heights bank.

According to cops, on Wednesday, October 2 at approximately 9:36 a.m., the suspect enter the Citibank, located at 80-19 Roosevelt Avenue, and approached a teller and passed her a note. The note said the suspect had a firearm and was demanding cash. The teller did what the note said and the suspect fled with close to $800. No injuries were sustained during the robbery.

The suspect is described as a white male, between 25 to 30 years old, 5’8”tall, slim build, and at the time wearing a black winter coat, sunglasses, a grey knitted hat and carrying a black guitar case.

Police have released a photo of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.



Police seek suspects in Queens bank robberies

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is seeking information about three different bank robberies that occurred in Queens over the last three weeks. Though unrelated, they each occurred on a weekday morning and resulted in no injuries, according to police. In only one incident, the suspect left with cash.

On Friday, August 31, around 11:45 a.m., a man entered a Citibank at 107-01 71st Avenue in Forest Hills. He handed a note to a bank teller, but fled without any money, said police. He is described as a white male in his thirties, 5’7″ tall and 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, shorts, sunglasses and was holding a white towel.

A man entered a Chase Bank location at 138-02 Queens Boulevard in Jamaica on Friday, September 14 around 9 a.m. and passed a demand note to a teller, said police. He then fled on foot with an undetermined amount of money. The suspect is described as a black male in his early thirties, and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, dark pants, black backpack and a black baseball cap.

On Monday, September 17, around 10:30 a.m., a man entered a Capital One Bank at 122-03 14th Avenue in College Point and passed a brown bag to a teller, demanding money. When the teller refused to hand over cash, the suspect retrieved the brown bag and fled on foot eastbound on Van Wyck Expressway Service Road towards Queens Boulevard. The suspect is described as a white male in his thirties, 5’9″ tall, medium build and clean shaven. He was last seen wearing a brown jacket, blue jeans, dark sunglasses and a gray cap.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


Citibank cuts ribbon on new branch

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

Citibank, which is expanding in the five boroughs, recently cut the ribbon on its new Forest Hills North branch, located on the corner of 108th Street and 64th Road.

Anthony Granda, branch manager of the Forest Hills North branch, has 17 years of banking experience and is a seven year resident of the community. He is joined by Assistant Branch Manager Gladys Mati, a Forest Hills resident with 10 years of banking experience. Personal Bankers Irma Zizva, Shaheen Khan and Irina Shaulov also bring years of banking experience to the community, as do tellers Romina Campuzano, Surayyah Mohammed, Artem Meslshin and Ramzi Shakir. The team speaks many languages to serve the community including English, Russian, Georgian, Bukharian, Hindi, Bengali, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Tagalog.