Tag Archives: Flushing Business Improvement District

Organizers reveal plans for upcoming Flushing Street Festival

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

Queens business leaders came together Thursday to give details about the second annual Flushing Street Festival to be held on Saturday, August 1.

The festival is hosted by the Flushing Business Improvement District, a nonprofit organization that aims to help the community transform Flushing into a “destination of choice” for dining and shopping. While last year’s festival only had 46 booths and vendors, this year is set to be much larger, with space for as many as 100 booths.

Tina Lee, the co-chair of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said that although Flushing is one of New York City’s largest transit hubs, with 100,000 daily commuters, many people do not stop to appreciate the rich offerings of the neighborhood.

“We want more people to come and enjoy all that Flushing has to offer in food and in culture, so we hope that the street festival will help entice them to come to Flushing more,” Lee said.

Many businesses and cultural institutions with Asian backgrounds are expected to participate. Korean food vendors and the Asian American International Film Festival are already involved with the event, and traditional food and dress demonstrations from northwest China will be provided by the America Xinjiang Association.

Ikhwan Rim of the Union Street Business Association said that while many of the participants are of Asian descent, part of the aim of the festival is to unite people of diverse backgrounds.

“It’s not just Chinese or Korean, it’s about Flushing,” Rim said.

Festival organizers are also having a young entrepreneurs contest in conjunction with the event. The contest is open to college and high school students, and entrants will have to submit an application with an idea for a business venture they think could be successful in a booth in the festival. The winners will then be able to use a festival booth free of charge in a high traffic location, and will be allowed to keep any revenue from their efforts.


MTA granted eminent domain powers for Flushing LIRR project

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering courtesy of the MTA

The MTA has been given eminent domain powers to move forward with a long-awaited plan to upgrade the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station in Flushing.

The agency’s board voted Jan. 29 to approve the potential use of eminent domain to acquire a one-story building at 40-36 Main St., currently owned by Ou Jiang City Supermarket, an MTA spokesperson said.

It may be a necessary measure in order to continue with a plan to reconfigure the Flushing-Main Street station’s east and westbound entrances.

“We’re hoping not to have to take that step,” said MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan, adding that a State Supreme Court judge in Queens would still need to sign off on the use. “We are hoping to negotiate with the building owner to arrive at a way to acquire that property.”

The MTA wants to construct elevators and wide staircases to make platforms more visible and handicapped accessible — a plan long welcomed by local leaders.

“The LIRR’s Main Street facility was built in the 1950s and is in dire need of an upgrade,” said Councilmember Peter Koo.

Koo said he has received multiple complaints from elderly and disabled riders of the station’s dim lighting and lack of accessibility.

Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said the “hideous” blight has also become a nightmarish “dumping ground” for garbage.

“Our community has had to deal with these terrible conditions for way too long,” Koo said. “I’m glad this train is finally pulling out the station.”

Design work is underway, and construction is slated to begin in 2015, Donovan said. It is unclear when the project is expected to end.

The station is not expected to be impacted during morning and evening rush hour commutes, Donovan said, but there may be temporary closures during off-peak hours.

The project was expected to cost $8.5 million in 2012, MTA-LIRR President Helena Williams previously said. MTA officials now say the project’s budget is under review.



Foreclosed Willets Point property will go up for sale

| mchan@queenscourier.com

The mortgage to a 3.5-acre piece of land in Flushing, in the midst of a foreclosure lawsuit, is expected to be sold within two weeks, officials said.

According to David Schechtman, executive managing director for Eastern Consolidated — who represents the lender and is supervising the sale of the defaulted mortgage — owners of the site, located on Janet and Roosevelt Avenues, did not pay the $37 million loan last December, so the bank sued for a foreclosure.

Schechtman said the bidding process for the land concluded last Friday, March 16, and he said offers are currently being reviewed.

“We’re pleased with the results. The market has demonstrated once again that the demand for both real estate and mortgages secured by real estate in Queens and Brooklyn remains incredibly strong,” he said.

Schechtman could not comment on the proposals in consideration.

However, Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said he hopes the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) will purchase the mortgage as part of the ongoing Willets Point Redevelopment project.

Plans to turn Willets Point into “New York’s next great neighborhood” — with retail and entertainment amenities, a hotel and convention center, mixed-income housing, public open space and community use — was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2007.

Since then, the city has been able to acquire nearly 90 percent of the land, officials said.

“I think that would be great. Many people would agree that junkyards in Willets Point are an eyesore for the community. We want this place to develop and attract more business and more tourists to visit Downtown Flushing,” Yu said. “It’s really going to connect Downtown Flushing and Willets Point.”

Abs Flushing Development, the former property owner who bought the land in 2006, did not return calls for comment as of press time.