Tag Archives: Elmhurst

New Elmhurst luxury rental building The Elm West revealed


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Pi Capital Partners 

The Elm East meets The Elm West.

The developer of The Elm East, an Elmhurst luxury building located at Broadway and Queens Boulevard, has revealed renderings for a project planned across the street called The Elm West.

Flushing-based Pi Capital Partners is developing the sibling project at 85-15 Queens Blvd., according to a published report. The new building will be larger than its predecessor, which was completed in 2012.

The Elm West will have 130 luxury units, 50,000 square feet of retail space and a community facility, according to New York YIMBY.

Tenants will benefit from panorama views of the Manhattan skyline, according to Pi Capital.

Permits have yet to be filed with the Buildings Department for the new building, but if it’s anything like its sister, The Elm West will have a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

the-elm-east3

The Elm East

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Sen. Avella calls conditions at proposed Pan Am permanent shelter ‘horrendous’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

State Sen. Tony Avella has joined the opposition to the planned conversion of an emergency homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel into a permanent facility due to what he called “horrendous” conditions at the site.

Avella, who is chairman of the Senate’s Social Services Committee, joined residents and local leaders to speak out against the proposal to convert the shelter at 7900 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst to a permanent facility under a $42 million contract with the city.

“It is an outrage to take an abandoned hotel, warehouse homeless families inside it, ignore shocking City Code and HPD violations, waste an exorbitant amount of taxpayer dollars in the process, and then award a $42 million contract to a questionable-at-best organization, making the entire situation permanent,” Avella said.

According to the senator, the shelter houses over 700 residents, made up of families of which many have small children. Each unit at the shelter holds four to five people.

Because the shelter uses former hotel rooms, they are not equipped with cooking facilities. The senator and organizations such as Elmhurst United claim this goes against a NYC Administrative Code requiring that each unit at a family shelter have a kitchen, and in order to do this, there would need to be major renovations at the site.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Tony Avella's office

Photo courtesy of Sen. Tony Avella’s office

The shelter has also had a large number of violations such as failure to provide hot water or heat for days, reports of bed bugs, peeling of lead paint in one unit, and garbage left sitting in front of the entrance to the children’s play area, according to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

“As chair of the State Senate’s Social Services Committee, I understand the vital importance of addressing our growing homeless population and I am committed to working to resolve these issues,” Avella said. “However, this cannot be at the expense of homeless families and children or the community as a whole. We must look to fix this broken system, not warehouse those people that need our help most.”

Due to all these conditions, Avella said he calls on the city to reject the contract that would covert the former hotel into a permanent homeless shelter because he believes it is “not fit for long-term housing for the homeless.”

According to the city’s Department of Homeless Services, the hotel was remodeled before the agency began using it as a shelter. The building also always has hot water, yet sometimes there is a lack of pressure, and hot water has been at full capacity since Dec. 7. Additionally, there have been no problems with the heat. Bedbugs were identified in five units and are currently being treated by an extermination company, and the facility has been lead-free since July.

“We have worked swiftly with our provider to respond to all concerns in the building,” said a DHS spokesperson. “Providing adequate shelter for families in need is a priority for this administration, and it’s heartening to see the community concern about the welfare of these families – an encouraging development after unfortunate and regrettable opposition to this shelter.”

The city is wrestling with a record number of homeless people. More than 59,000 people are currently in the shelter system.

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Elmhurst man stabs wife with kitchen knife, fakes her suicide note: DA


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

CrimeSceneTapeHC1010_L_300_C_R-624x416

The estranged husband of an Elmhurst woman was charged Thursday night with stabbing his wife to death with a kitchen knife and trying to make the murder look like a suicide, authorities said.

Luis Paguay, 43, was arrested after police found his wife, 39-year-old Maria Paguay, unconscious and unresponsive with stab wounds on her body inside her 50th Avenue basement apartment at about 6 p.m., cops said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Paguay allegedly stabbed his wife multiple times in the neck and chest with a large kitchen knife sometime between Wednesday night and before 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. The victim’s 19-year-old son found her as he returned home from school.

After stabbing his wife, Paguay allegedly wrote a suicide note in his wife’s name and then left for his job as a dishwasher at Ducale Restaurant in Whitestone, Brown said. When he arrived at the restaurant he allegedly saw he had blood on his shoes and according to surveillance footage, he attempted to wash his shoes in a sink.

According to the New York Daily News, the couple had recently separated and the victim’s husband had gotten angry that she was in a new relationship.

Paguay, who is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, was charged with murder, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

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See it: Remodeled Elmhurst co-op The Continental Park selling fast


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of The Continental Park 

Demand is high for remodeled luxury co-op apartments in The Continental Park building in Elmhurst, which opened for sales in October.

Thirty of the 79 renovated units are already in contract after just six weeks, according to representatives of the building, although construction on the property won’t be completed until next year.

The speed of the sales reflects a demand for spacious units in high-traffic areas, according to project manager Meredith Fisher Maltby. Also, with some 500-square-foot studios starting around $200,000, and 1,200-square-foot three-bedrooms at just over $500,000, the price is very attractive to residents when compared to other neighborhoods. However, there are no more one- or three-bedroom units remaining for sale.

Two-bedrooms, which range from approximately 830 square feet to more than 1,050 square feet, start from $347,500. All home sizes will feature full kitchens, and many of the residences have large private outdoor terraces and washer and dryer hook-ups.


The six-story building, originally known as The Continental, opened in the 1960s as a rental building with 153 units. Some units became co-ops in the ’80s, and there are still a number of rent stabilized apartments throughout the building.

A team of real estate investors, including Myles Horn, ABC Properties and Fisher Associates, bought 79 unsold units throughout the building last year for $8.5 million, and a portion of the money is being used to renovate the building’s common areas.

There will be a new private park, a playground, a redesigned lobby and entrance, a community room for tenants, a gym and a new recreation room. The hallways are also being redone for the building.

Representatives said they expect tenants to move into some completed units by February, but the full renovation will be completed by the summer.

 

 

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Inside St. John’s Hospital’s transformation into Queens Pointe development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

After about a year of construction, the former St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst is beginning to look more and more like the new Queens Pointe residential and retail destination it will become.

The hospital, which closed in 2009, was acquired by a group of Asian-based investors for more than $50 million late last year, according to property records and published reports. Since that time, construction has been taking place to transform the 90-08 Queens Blvd. site’s interior space.

The seven-story building will have about 150 luxury rental apartments and a penthouse level with six units on the top four floors, while the basement, first and second floors will be used for a mix of community facility space and retail.

Construction on most of the apartments is almost complete and appliances have already been brought into some of the units.

The penthouse level features apartments with nearly 16-foot ceilings and views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as the Queens Center and Queens Place malls, which are across Queens Boulevard.

Marketing for the residential side of the building will begin early next year, according to a representative of Winick Realty Group, which is handling sales in Queens Pointe.

Marketing for the first floor and basement level, which are about 64,000 square feet combined, started months ago and received interest from various companies, including a gym, a supermarket and a clothing retailer. But the first floor and basement still have much interior construction remaining.

Representatives are negotiating with a school and a senior center to occupy part of the second floor. Construction on the second floor is partially complete, with new flooring, paint, ceiling tiles and lighting.

The development also includes a 250-spot parking garage across the street at 87-28 58th Ave., which will be available to retail customers and residents. Currently the parking facility has fading paint and graffiti, but there are plans to renovate the garage as well.

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Elmhurst woman writes Queens walking tour book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Adrienne Onofri

One Elmhurst woman is hoping her new book will help readers step out their doors and take a stroll while exploring all that Queens has to offer.

Adrienne Onofri is the author behind “Walking Queens,” a new book that features 30 detailed walking tours through the borough exploring architecture, distinct cultures in different neighborhoods, historical landmarks, celebrity homes and natural scenery.

“There are one or two books about neighborhoods in Queens but really no guide book completely dedicated to Queens,” Onofri said. 

The opportunity to write this book came after Onofri, a licensed New York City sightseeing guide, wrote “Walking Brooklyn: 30 Tours Exploring Historical Legacies.” 

Her publisher became interested in doing a version for Queens, and Onofri said she jumped at the idea because a lot of people had asked her to write a walking tour book for the borough she has called home for decades.

“I liked the idea because I can say I live in Queens,” Onofri said. 

To compile the book, which took about a year to finish, Onofri traveled the borough on nothing but her two legs and public transportation. She sketched out routes based on what she already had in mind or knew she wanted to include. Other locations, she said, she roamed and discovered in order to create the detailed walks. 

“There are a lot of people that drive around and don’t get around in public transportation much,” Onofri said. “[The book] is just encouraging them to go a few neighborhoods over, which they would normally drive pass on the highway.”

The neighborhoods featured in the book go from Long Island City and Astoria all the way to Howard Beach and the Rockaways. Along with these, Onofri also spent time in the borough’s parks such as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Alley Pond Park and Rockaway Park. 

The book, with photographs taken by the author, includes maps of the area that will be walked, nearby trains or buses, points of interest in the neighborhood, historical facts and detailed directions of how to get around. 

Part of the Hunters Point Historic District on 45th Ave. in Long Island City (Photo by  Adrienne Onofri)

Part of the Hunters Point Historic District on 45th Ave. in Long Island City (Photo by Adrienne Onofri)

“There are things you walk past and don’t notice,” Onofri said. “This book has the discoveries of things that you might not take the time to notice regularly.”

While working on the book, Onofri said she realized there were instances where she noticed things she hadn’t before. Also, one of the issues was trying to fit as much as she could in the 254-page book, with some things just not being able to be included. 

“There was a lot of stuff to learn, whether it was just some place I had been only a couple of times or a place I really didn’t know much about before,” she said. 

Onofri said she is still conducting tours in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 

To contact Onofri to schedule a tour, email walkingqueens@gmail.com.

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Suspect wanted for questioning in deadly shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Suspect photo courtesy of NYPD/ Club photo by Salvatore Licata

Police have released the photo of a suspect wanted in connection to a shooting outside an Elmhurst club last month that left one dead and two others injured.

The gunfire erupted about 4 a.m. on Oct. 31 near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, cops said.

After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police. The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled onto the street, reports said.

Tamar Sermons, 20, of Laurelton, who was hit in the neck and leg, was killed in the shooting.

A 21-year-old woman, who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man, who suffered a graze wound to the head, were injured.

Authorities are now looking a man to question in the murder of Sermons. He is described as a black man in his 20s who was last seen wearing a shirt with the number 99 on it.

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.

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Pan Am homeless shelter violates laws, says opponent


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

One Elmhurst grassroots organization is claiming the conditions at the proposed permanent homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel are breaking the law.

Elmhurst United, a grassroots organization that has been voicing its opposition to the homeless shelter at 7900 Queens Blvd. since day one, released a statement arguing that conditions at the homeless shelter violate city laws. The statement was released after a Queens Courier report that the city is seeking approval for a $42 million contract to operate the site as a permanent shelter.

The Department of Homeless Services did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The group claims the shelter violates the NYC Administrative Code, which states, “No homeless family shelter shall be established which does not provide a bathroom, a refrigerator and cooking facilities and an adequate sleeping area within each unit within the shelter and which otherwise complies with state and local laws.”

According to the organization, the site does not have kitchens in every unit, which was why initially DHS did not consider the site to be a “permanent family shelter.”

Other conditions include “inadequate sleeping quarters” with four to five people living in a single room with bunk beds pushed up against windows, according to Elmhurst United.

“These units simply cannot be converted to be used for permanent housing with minimal structural change,” said Jennifer Chu, spokeswoman for Elmhurst United. “The Pan Am would require major renovation in order for it to lawfully meet NYC standards for Tier II homeless shelters. The Samaritan Village draft contract shows that there is no money in the line item budget to do renovations for the next 4.5 years.”

DHS is proposing a five-year, $42 million contract with Samaritan Village Inc. for the shelter at the Pan Am Hotel, The Courier previously reported.

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Real estate firm helps give home to Queens family


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Urban Compass

Real estate firm Urban Compass is donating money — and time — so that a Queens family can have a home of their own.

The company has pledged $20,000 to Habitat for Humanity New York City to renovate a vacant Jamaica home, which will be purchased by a family of four from Elmhurst that was selected through the organization’s affordable homeownership program.

Urban Compass employees will also volunteer 500 hours to help construct the home at 178-25 93rd Ave. So far the team has already helped put up Sheetrock and worked on the backyard and lighting.

“The employees in the company are very community oriented and people that want to participate in society around them and help make the world better,” said Robert Reffkin, CEO and founder of Urban Compass.

The house, which is the first of many that Urban Compass plans to help Habitat NYC with, is expected to be completed in six months. The family will be able to move in May of next year.

178-25 93rd Ave.

178-25 93rd Ave.

Originally built in 1920, the home has been vacant for several years and has fallen into disrepair, according to Habitat for Humanity.

The organization bought the house for $1 from the New York City Housing Authority to be one of 13 properties around the city that will be transformed and purchased at low mortage interest rates by families through its homeownership program.

 

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New pre-K center to open in Elmhurst school


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

A new $3 million pre-K center is set to open next year in Elmhurst.

The School Construction Authority recently started accepting bids for the center, called Q391, which will be located in St. Bartholomew School at 44-15 Judge St.

The center will have 144 seats, according to the Department of Education, and is expected to open in September 2015.

The School Construction Authority is collecting bids until Nov. 25.

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Police need help identifying murder victim found near Elmhurst train tracks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketches courtesy of NYPD

Seven months after body parts were discovered near railroad tracks in Elmhurst, police are trying to figure out the identity of the murder victim.

The remains were found on the afternoon of April 12 by CSX tracks near 43rd Avenue and 74th Street, cops said.

A man was collecting cans when he uncovered a torn bag that had a skull in it, according to authorities. A police search of the area turned up more body parts in bags.

The death was later classified as a homicide.

Police have released several sketches of the victim, who is described as a 30-year-old white man.

SKETCH 1

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.

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City seeks $42M contract for Pan Am homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Making the homeless shelter at the Pan Am Hotel permanent will inch forward next week when the city seeks approval for a $42 million contract to operate it.

The Department of Homeless Services is proposing a five-year, $42 million contract with Samaritan Village Inc. for the proposed homeless shelter at the former Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst, according to city records.

Samaritan Village, which runs homeless facilities across the city, is also seeking to run the proposed shelter on Cooper Avenue in Glendale.

The public is invited to give feedback at a hearing on Nov. 13 at 125 Worth St. in Manhattan at 10 a.m.

The contract’s operating term will start from Dec. 6, 2014, to June 30, 2019, with an option for renewal from July 1, 2019, to June 20, 2023, for the shelter, which will be located at 79-00 Queens Blvd.

The city opened the shelter for emergency shelter at the Pan Am Hotel on June 5. Lawfully, the city can operate an emergency shelter for six months before it has to make it permanent.

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Massive development site near Queens Place and Queens Center malls sells for $26M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal.

A large parking lot behind Queens Place mall in Elmhurst sold for $26.5 million, according to property records filed on Saturday.

The lot, located at 88-18 Justice Ave., has about 227,352 square feet of buildable space, according to Massey Knakal, which listed the parcel of land in March, as The Courier reported.

Justice Ave Tower, LLC bought the property from 86-55 Queens Blvd. Corp., according to city records.

There have been no plans submitted for the site with the Department of Buildings as of yet.

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Queens Center to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY MICHAEL SHAIN

No time for a second piece of pie at Thanksgiving this year.

For the first time, Queens Center is going to open at 6 p.m. the night of Thanksgiving, following a trend to start Black Friday earlier every year.

The move is prompted by the announcement this week that JCPenney and Macy’s are joining stores like Kmart and Walmart in being open on Thanksgiving night — getting a six-hour jump on the competition to start their first, big holiday sales.

“We always opened at midnight” for those stores that wanted to get the bargain rush going in the first hours of Black Friday, said John Scaturro, head of marketing for the Elmhurst mall. “But with stores like Sears opening early, now the big players are following suit.”

And since the two biggest stores in the mall are opening early, the owner of the mall, Macerich Co., has offered the chance to all the stores in the mall to open at 6 p.m. too.

“We project that 70 to 80 percent of our stores will elect to open Thanksgiving night,” Scaturro said. “Nobody is going to want to be closed in those first few hours.”

In the retail trade, the trend is being called “Black Friday creep,” a process that began more than a decade ago when big-box stores tested the idea of boosting sales by offering extraordinary bargains to die-hard shoppers willing to come to the stores at midnight.

Black Friday is the term used by retailers for the day after Thanksgiving — when people are off from work and the holiday shopping season officially began (and merchants could count on ending the day in the black).

But what started out as an experiment has taken off. Retailers — who have a bunch of bad years since economic crisis of 2007-8 — discovered shoppers have had enough football and family by nightfall on Thanksgiving and are itching to get out of the house.

“People always seem to be in very good spirits when they shop on those days. The truth is that, on Black Friday, we notice a lot of folks shopping for themselves — not for Christmas especially,” Scaturro said.

“Fall and winter clothes are the big items,” he said. “Shoe stores do very well on those days — and shoes are not something people buy for holiday shopping.”

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One dead, two injured in shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Updated Saturday, Nov. 1, 4:03 p.m.

A shooting outside an Elmhurst club early Friday morning left one woman dead and two others injured, according to police.

The gunfire started at about 4 a.m. near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, authorities said.

The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled into the street, reports said. After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police.

A 20-year-old woman, Tamar Sermons, of Laurelton, was shot in the neck and leg, authorities said. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A 21-year-old woman who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man who suffered a graze wound to the head are both listed in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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