Tag Archives: Flushing

West Flushing upzoning opens the door for new opportunities


| stephen.preuss@cushwake.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

In December, we discussed the Department of City Planning’s study of western Flushing upzoning which was highlighted in November by Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod.

Crain’s has recently reported that city officials have hired a nonprofit run by former Queens Borough President Claire Shulman to develop “residential buildings, transportation, parks, and retail and commercial space for 60 acres of industrial property along the western border of Flushing.”

Our general consensus on the idea was a positive one. The city could benefit in several ways. It could increase foot traffic outside of Main Street in downtown Flushing, generate interest from national credit tenants and developers, increase neighboring property value, and most importantly relating to today’s topic of interest: remediating the lack of housing, including affordable housing, in the city.

The organization hired by the city is called the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corp., and the city is working as a paid contractor for the organization. The new neighborhood envisioned is being called “Flushing West.”

This area encompasses about a dozen blocks along a polluted stretch of the Flushing River. It is bound by Northern Boulevard on the north side and the No. 7 subway train on the south side. It is currently home to several warehouses and businesses including U-Haul and Scrap King.

West Flushing has been on the cusp of change for a while. Shulman (of the nonprofit organization) has been working toward this goal since 2011 when it hired and given a $1.5 million grant to help revitalize the area, according to Crain’s. A key part of this arrangement was that they had to pay $800,000 of that grant to hire the city as a subcontractor. The nonprofit is acting as a necessary legal conduit and partner according to a planning official.

Naturally there are activists who pose negativity toward the plan. They argue that “nonprofits such as Shulman’s development corporation are legally barred from lobbying or trying to influence legislation – and since rezonings are laws, the organization has run afoul of this provision.” However, the nonprofit noted that all activities were vetted by the state and does not intend to influence legislation.

This is just the start of the planning process which could potentially open up the Flushing development market to more opportunity and expansion.

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Stephen R. Preuss is an executive director in the Capital Markets Group of Cushman & Wakefield, where he focuses on investment sales for various Queens neighborhoods. He has transacted in over $1 billion of investment and commercial real estate over his 15-year career. During his tenure, he has sold over 125 properties to date with an aggregate value of over $650 million.

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LIC Citigroup development site sells for $143M


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A large site in Long Island City, owned by Citigroup, was sold last week to a Flushing-based developer for millions, according to a published report.

Citigroup sold the development site, north of One Court Square, to developer Jia Shu Xu of C&G Empire Realty for $143 million, The Real Deal reported on July 18.

In February, the site was reported to be up for sale and was estimated to go for $150 million.

The site is made up of nine parcels, located along 23rd Street between 44th Drive and 44th Road, each spanning 36,000 square feet.

The property has about 780,000 buildable square feet and most of the parcels are vacant, while others have industrial buildings. The zoning of the site allows for residential, office, retail and hotel space.

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Suspect sought in forcible touching of teen in Flushing


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo/video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for forcibly touching a 14-year-old girl in Flushing last month.

On June 29 at about 1 p.m. the victim was walking near 41st Avenue and Main Street when the suspect approached her from behind and grabbed her buttocks several times, according to cops.

The man then fled the scene; there were no reported injuries.

Police describe the suspect as a black man in his early 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 200 pounds.

Authorities have released surveillance video and photos of the suspect.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


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Upcoming forum to continue talk on Flushing planning study


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

File photo

The second open house event for the planning study centered on a large-scale rezoning of Flushing has been set for the last week in July.

The open house will take place on Wednesday, July 29, at the Flushing YMCA at 138-46 Northern Blvd. Information stations will be provided on a range of topics, including transportation, affordable housing, Flushing Creek, schools, and small business and community services.

Representatives from the Department of City Planning and other agencies involved in the study will be available to engage the public in one-on-one dialogues addressing their feedback and concerns on the study.

Previous information released on the Flushing West Planning Study can be found on a page dedicated to the subject on the website of the NYC Department of City Planning.

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New York Hospital Queens renamed NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

There’s a new name for one of Queens’ biggest hospitals.

New York Hospital Queens was renamed on July 1 as NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. The name change comes as a result of the hospital’s takeover by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, which was prompted by the need and desire to improve access to state-of-the-art care for Queens residents.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, located in Flushing, has been a member of the New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System for more than 22 years and serves Queens with 535 beds and medical services in 14 departments. Every year, the hospital performs 15,000 surgeries and delivers 4,000 babies, and also provides 162,000 ambulatory visits and 124,000 emergency service visits.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is one of the largest hospitals in the U.S. with 2,600 beds across six campuses in New York City and Westchester. It is the number one hospital in the five boroughs, and is consistently ranked among the top hospitals in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

It is NewYork-Presbyterian’s affiliation with Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons that stands to make the merge beneficial to Queens residents who rely on NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens for health care services. Both institutions are among the leading medical colleges in the country.

“We are pleased to have strengthened our relationship with the leadership, trustees, doctors and staff of New York Hospital Queens,” said Dr. Laura Forese, president of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System. “Together with Weill Cornell Medical College, we look forward to continuing to provide high-quality, patient-centered care to residents of Queens, as well as enhancing access to the world-class care offered at New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s six campuses in Manhattan and Westchester.”

“Our long relationship with NewYork-Presbyterian has contributed enormous value. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly important to work more closely in mutually beneficial relationships that enhance effectiveness and improve quality,” said Stephen S. Mills, president of NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. “By establishing this closer relationship with NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, one of the country’s leading academic medical centers, we will be able to offer our patients access to cutting-edge treatments in every area of medicine, as well as the same outstanding care that we have provided at our hospital for years.”

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Online farmers market to service Flushing


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

MarketProduceHC1502_X_300_C_R

An online farmers market aiming to sell high-quality food at the click of a mouse is expanding to deliver to Queens.

OurHarvest, a company that aims to bypass concerns about artificial additives and mislabeled products by buying food products straight from small food companies, will be delivering orders to be picked up the CrossFit gym in Flushing at 59-43 Fresh Meadow Lane.

Customers must pre-purchase the goods from the OurHarvest website by selecting items and paying for them at least 48 hours before the delivery date. For every $25 order placed, the socially conscious food service will deliver a meal to a local food pantry.

Products available on OurHarvest’s website include locally raised meats from upstate New York and Pennsylvania, and berries, fruits and vegetables from Long Island. Some products are sold in family or bulk sizes to ensure that prices remain as low as possible, and each selection is attached to a description listing the farm or company of its origin and a complete list of ingredients.

Artisanal food products such as organic loose tea, fresh tortillas, cheese and freshly baked bread are also offered.

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Out-of-control SUV hits, injures two pedestrians in Flushing


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD109Pct

Two people were hospitalized in serious condition after being struck by an SUV near the Broadway LIRR station in Flushing on Tuesday evening, police reported.

The incident occurred at about 6 p.m. at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 162nd Street.

According to reports, the vehicle was traveling along Northern Boulevard when the driver suddenly lost control of it. The SUV veered off the road, mounted the sidewalk and struck the two victims.

Officers from the 109th Precinct and EMS units rushed to the scene. Paramedics transported the victims to a local hospital.

Northern Boulevard was closed in both directions at the location while the investigation was continuing, the 109th Precinct tweeted.

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Flushing night market to bring community together


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

File photo

Flushing residents will be enjoying the neighborhood’s first ever community night market next week for “Flushing Night Out.”

The event will be taking place on Thursday, July 16, from 6 to 11 p.m. at the iconic Flushing Town Hall, which is located at 137-35 Northern Blvd.

While local vendors will be selling food, fashion and other goods at the event, a source close to the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce tells The Courier that much of the focus will be on cultural activities.

Live music and entertainment will be provided to create a warm and lively atmosphere, and the whole program is designed to showcase the unique culture of Flushing and its citizens who can trace their roots and culture to countries all around the world. This will not be just another market, but a space for family and friends to come together to create a sense of community.

Local organizations involved with the event include the Flushing Chinese Business Association, the Union Street Small Business Association and Green Earth Urban Gardens, among others still to be announced.

The chamber will announce additional details at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday morning.

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Seven Queens students accepted to the US service academies


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Grace Meng's office

Seven recent high school graduates from Queens will be all they can be in their college years after being accepted into various U.S. military service academies with the assistance of Congresswoman Grace Meng.

The academies consist of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point; and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut.

Kate Gerodias from Middle Village graduated from Forest Hills High School and will be attending the Naval Academy; Zachary Kurre from Glendale graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School and will attend West Point this summer; Selah Cho of Fresh Meadows finished school at Marion Military Institute in Alabama and will attend West Point; Kevin Guo from Rego Park graduated from Hunter College High School and will be continuing his education at the Naval Academy; Julia Hsu from Flushing graduated from West Point Prep School and will go on to West Point this summer; John Makiling of Flushing graduated from Naval Academy Prep School and will continue on to the Naval Academy; and Daniel Zakrevski from Richmond Hill graduated from Bronx High School of Science and will be attending the Merchant Marine Academy.

“I am honored to congratulate these seven exceptional students,” Meng said. “All are outstanding individuals who will be future military leaders of our country. I have no doubt that they’ll make Queens and the nation proud.”

Students looking to attend the service academies are required to be nominated by their Congress member. The institutions then evaluate the nominations from across the nation and decide which nominees to accept.

The students nominated by Meng compete against students from across the country and must meet the highly competitive educational, physical and extracurricular standards set by the institutions. Meng’s Academy Review Board, which is a panel of local community leaders, assists Meng in the nomination process for students looking to attend the academies.

This year, a total of 33 students applied to be nominated by Meng. Of those 33 students, 20 were nominated by the Congresswoman.

To congratulate the students for being accepted to the service academies, Meng hosted a reception for them and their families at her office in Flushing. She also presented each student with a certificate of Congressional recognition.

Meng plans to continue her “U.S. Service Academy Information Night” for Queens students who are interested in applying to the U.S. Service Academies. The day and location will be announced in the near future.

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Ambulette crashes outside New York Hospital Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@109th Precinct

Two people were injured when an ambulette crashed into a fence outside of Flushing‘s New York Hospital Queens, reports said.

The accident happened at about 9:25 p.m. Thursday on Main Street near Booth Memorial Avenue, according to the FDNY.

According to published reports, the ambulette struck a car before going into the fence and off a ledge into the side of the hospital.

Two people, the driver and a passenger, reportedly suffered minor injuries. The crash is under investigation.

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Katz provides $200K for countdown clocks at Queens’ busiest bus stops


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Robert Pozarycki

Where’s the bus? That common question among Queens commuters will be answered with countdown clocks set to be installed at the borough’s 10 busiest bus stops within the next two years.

Borough President Melinda Katz announced on Tuesday she allocated $200,000 in the city’s 2016 fiscal year budget to the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) for the purchase and installation of the real-time devices that track the estimated time of arrival for buses.

While the MTA oversees the bus system, the DOT is responsible for the countdown clocks and other bus-related infrastructure such as signage and shelters.

“Countdown clocks eliminate the anxiety of waiting for the unknown, a feeling familiar to every traveler,” Katz said in a statement. “They’ll add more predictability to any commute and will be a boon for thousands of riders in a borough that boasts some of the longest commutes to and from work.”

The DOT, through analyzing data such as ridership levels, commuter transfers, proximity to prominent facilities and dependency of bus service, will recommend to the MTA and Katz which 10 locations will receive the countdown clocks. The final locations will be determined through conversations among Katz, the DOT and the MTA.

Judged solely on activity, it figures that at least a few of the countdown clocks will be installed at transit hubs along some of Queens’ 10 busiest bus routes. According to MTA statistics, the Q58 led all other borough bus ridership in 2014, with 9,787,420 customers. The Q58, which runs between Ridgewood and Flushing, connects riders at both ends to local subway lines and intersects with Queens Boulevard, where M and R train service is available at the Grand Avenue station.

Other heavily traveled bus routes in Queens include the Q44 route between Jamaica and the Bronx, which passes through Flushing (9,240,459 riders in 2014); the Q10 between Kew Gardens and JFK Airport (7,511,855); the Q46 bus between Forest Hills and New Hyde Park (6,594,164); and the Q53 limited line between Woodside and the Rockaways (5,140,345).

The clocks are scheduled to be installed and activated in 2017. Currently, riders can find information on bus locations through the MTA’s BusTime program, available online and through a mobile app.

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Girl, 10, dies after collapsing at Queens College soccer camp


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A South Jamaica girl died on Monday after collapsing during a soccer camp at Queens College, according to police.

Laura Palma of 97th Avenue was participating in the Flushing camp just before 3:15 p.m. when she said that she wasn’t feeling well. Seconds later, according to published reports, she collapsed and lost consciousness.

Officers from the 107th Precinct and EMS units rushed to the scene and found Palma in cardiac arrest. Paramedics rushed her to New York Hospital Queens, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

Her body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.

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Flushing contractor busted in home improvement scam


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

A Flushing contractor has been charged with scamming $10,000 in down payments from Queens homeowners for work he never performed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Alfred Lakas, 57, allegedly took money from three homeowners for air-conditioning and other work to be done at their residences which he failed to do, and did not return any of the money. Lakas, who operates Al’s Heating on 172nd Street in Flushing, is also being charged with misrepresenting himself as being licensed to do the work, although he is not.

Lakas was arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll on ten counts, charging him with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud, among other offenses.

He was ordered to be held on $5,000 bail and will return to court on Sept. 15. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

According to Brown, Lakas is accused of misrepresenting himself as a licensed professional to perform air-conditioning, heating and other contracting work from February 2012 to June 2015. His complaining victims are three homeowners respectively from South Ozone Park, Douglaston-Little Neck and Kew Gardens.

Brown said consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor, and that cases like this one are a pervasive problem.

“Defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints my office receives,” the district attorney said. “To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and check with the proper city agencies to ensure that he is licensed — and not just take his word for it.”

The District Attorney’s office is urging anyone who may have been a victim of this alleged scheme to call the Queens District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.

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Mayor adds Lunar New Year holiday to NYC public school calendar


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

Mayor Bill de Blasio came to Flushing Tuesday morning to announce that the Lunar New Year will be an official public school holiday beginning in the 2015-16 school year, allowing students of Asian descent to celebrate with family without missing class.

The mayor made the declaration at P.S. 20 in Flushing, which counts 75 percent of the student body as being of Asian descent. The Lunar New Year has already been added to the NYC public school calendar and will take place next year on February 8.

“There was a lot we had to balance to get this right,” said de Blasio, who cited difficulties in ensuring that the state-mandated 180 yearly school days fit into the plan. “It took some work, but it happened.”

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña emphasized the importance of keeping a steady education schedule for the 1.1 million students of the city and offered her support of new holiday. To make up for the school hours lost, two separate half-days already in the calendar will be lengthened to become full days of classes.

“Taking time off to honor people’s heritage is also important,” said Fariña.

This is the second time de Blasio had made moves toward cultural inclusion in the school calendar. In March he also declared the two holiest days in the Islamic calendar, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, as official public school holidays.

The mayor was joined by a host of officials and community leaders who had long been advocating for the change.

“For too long, families have been forced to choose between celebrating this important cultural holiday and sending their child to school,” said Councilman Peter Koo, a Shanghai native. “By including Lunar New Year in the school calendar, New York City shows that we are an ever-evolving city that takes pride in the cultural traditions of its diverse populations.”

“This holiday is not about kids just getting a day off from school,” added Assemblyman Ron Kim, who attended P.S. 20 as a student himself 30 years ago. “It’s about the City of New York telling hundreds of thousands of Asian Americans that their culture and heritage is part of the American fabric.”

Kim and Koo, along with Rep. Grace Meng and many other prominent members of the Asian-American community, have all pushed for the mayor to establish the school holiday after de Blasio promised to do so while on the campaign trail in 2013.

After seeing no movement forward in the initiative for the Lunar New Year, Kim took on the responsibility of pushing it forward himself this year by authoring state legislation which would have given all New York children the day off. While that bill is still pending, Kim has said that he would lay aside the legislation in the interest of collaborating with the de Blasio administration.

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Flushing development update: lack of space, increasing demand


| stephen.preuss@cushwake.com

Rendering courtesy of TDC Development International

In March, we discussed the development market in Flushing. Over the past couple of years, Flushing has been experiencing a rapidly increasing development market.

Approvals for multiple mega mixed-use projects were carried through — for example, the Willets Point project, Flushing Commons, and multiple hotel sites, including the Intercontinental Hotel at 36-18 Main Street, are in the development works.

Another topic of discussion in 2014 was potential upzoning for West Flushing, which would allow for increased residential development in order to provide for the dense flow of residents in Flushing. But although we have been seeing record pricing in 2015 as previously discussed, recently we have seen a lag in available land for development while demand is still rising.

Flushing has long been considered as a development Mecca in northern Queens. Its population is rapidly and consistently rising. Predominantly Asian, it is a thriving city for Asian culture, earning the name “the Chinese Manhattan.” Residential condos are selling at record prices — up to $700 per square foot for a two-bedroom condominium — and apartment rentals are seeing up to $2,000 and beyond per month for a one-bedroom. So it is no wonder downtown Flushing and its greater area has kept developers bullish over the potential.

Flushing Commons and the Willets Point project reach a square footage capacity upwards of 500,000 square feet. The amount of land left in Flushing to accommodate another project like that of Flushing Commons is significantly lacking.

We have been recently retained to sell 30-05 Whitestone Expwy. in Flushing. The site boasts 80,510 square feet of lot area with proposed plans for rezoning for a potential 523,315 buildable square feet for a mixed-use project or hotel development. Its location is within minutes from LaGuardia Airport and blocks away from downtown Flushing with great visibility from the Whitestone Expressway.

As previously discussed, the lack of space available has been a hindrance for developers — this site could serve as a rare opportunity for developers looking to capitalize on the little space Flushing has left.

Stephen R. Preuss is an executive director in the Capital Markets Group of Cushman & Wakefield, where he focuses on investment sales for various Queens neighborhoods. He has transacted in over $1 billion of investment and commercial real estate over his 15 year career. During his tenure, he has sold over 125 properties to date with an aggregate value of over $650 million.

Stephen Preuss

Stephen Preuss

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