Tag Archives: queens center

Forever 21 may be coming to Atlas Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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The Shops at Atlas Park is still suffering a year-and-a-half after it was bought at a foreclosure auction. But a new tenant, Forever 21, could help the Glendale open-air shopping center turn a financial corner.

Though its owner, Macerich, could not “confirm details of any retailers at this time,” a Forever 21 spokesperson confirmed to the Daily News that a 15,000-square-foot store will open there in early 2013.

Forever 21 is a modestly priced chain that sells trendy clothes and accessories for women, men and kids, but is particularly popular among females in their teens and early 20s. It has several stores in Manhattan and Long Island, but only one store in the borough, at the nearby Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst, which Macerich also owns.

Unlike the booming Queens Center, Atlas Park has had difficulty attracting shoppers, who complain about its paid parking and store offerings.

“There’s nothing there to buy. You’re paying parking for no place to shop,” said Glendale Civic Association president Kathy Masi. She is happy about any store that can pay the rent, especially one that is geared towards the young people who frequent the mall on the weekend.

In addition to retail shops, the 377,924-square-foot shopping center has restaurants, offices and a movie theater, and hosts concerts.

“We do a lot better during nights and weekends because people come here for movies and the restaurants,” said Peggy Zhu, an employee at clothing and accessory store Momo.

One restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, says that business for them has been fine.

But since Atlas Park opened in 2006, business hasn’t been fine. Three years after purchasing it, its original owners defaulted on a $128 million loan. In January 2011, Macerich bought the center for $54 million at a foreclosure auction.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based company seems to recognize that Atlas Park is still struggling, and is considering renaming the shopping center and making other changes.

“Whenever we redevelop, there is a whole list of possibilities, and a name change is one of them,” Tim Steffan, senior vice president of property management at Macerich told The Queens Courier earlier this year. He also said that any mall needs an anchor or destination to attract customers—and local residents agree.

“The stores are too expensive here. They need more stores like the ones in Queens Center that are cheaper,” said Glendale mother Jackie Jenna, 51.

“There’s a bunch of shoe stores but not a lot of cheap places for young people to shop,” said 18-year-old Michelle Ricciardi of Middle Village. “I think Forever 21 will bring a lot of people to the mall.”

Additional reporting by Phil Hertling

Queens Center job fair draws 1,400


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the Borough President’s office

More than 1,000 eager job seekers flooded the Queens Center Mall last week.

At the mall’s third job fair on Thursday, May 17, employers like Citibank, Resorts World and the United States Tennis Association were among the 25 recruiters in attendance in search of new employees.

Borough President Helen Marshall also stopped by to socialize with recruiters and job seekers. There were more than 400 jobs available at the fair and over 1,400 job seekers attended the event in hopes of finding employment. Many said they heard about the opportunity through advertisements and social media.

Over 300 candidates are expected to be called back for a second interview, according to Dawn Simon, senior manager of marketing at the Queens Center Mall.

“It will help the economy of Queens with new job opportunities,” she said.

Good Samaritan critically injured rescuing drunk man from subway tracks


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Good Samaritan critically injured rescuing drunk man from subway tracks

A good Samaritan trying to help a drunken man off the Staten Island Railway tracks was hit by a train and critically injured Sunday, officials said. Steven Santiago, 39, came across a drunk who had jumped onto the tracks to retrieve his lost shoe in the New Dorp station about 1:30 a.m., relatives and cops said. When the drunk couldn’t get back onto the platform, Santiago jumped down to help him, officials said. “He is a great man who risked his life to save someone he doesn’t even know,” said the hero’s stunned brother Edwin Santiago, 42. A Tottenville-bound train barreled into the station with both men still on the tracks. The drunk somehow avoided being hit, but Steven Santiago was taken to Staten Island University Hospital North in critical condition after the train slammed into his head, police said. Read More: Daily News

Dallas Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree sits at bedside of brother who was shot in Queens

Dallas Cowboys player Kevin Ogletree was holding vigil Sunday at his big brother’s hospital bedside in Queens — praying he would survive being shot in the head by a pair of bicycling gunmen, a relative said. Calvin Ogletree, 25, remained in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Sunday night, a day after he was shot in front of his luxury car rental shop on Linden Boulevard in St. Albans. “He’s a good kid; he has a good heart,” Calvin Ogletree’s uncle, Mark Ross, told the Daily News. Read More: Daily News

Worry on Whitestone waterfront; impending sale of 13-acre parcel sparks overdevelopment concerns 

A 13-acre property in Whitestone is up for grabs — the largest single parcel of land for sale in Queens — and it’s attracting the attention of developers but also causing concern among community leaders. The former industrial site, located at 151-45 6th Road, was re-zoned for 52 one-family homes in 2008. The waterfront property comes with an additional five acres that is submerged underwater. Local leaders worried about overdevelopment in the community said they are concerned that a new owner could build many more homes or even multi-family dwellings. Read More: Daily News

Queens Broker Is Accused of Bringing Immigrants’ Ruin

For years, a self-made real estate magnate named Edul Ahmad personified the collective dreams of Richmond Hill, which is populated by many immigrants from Guyana, in South America. Ahmad drove a yellow Lamborghini, sponsored a cricket team and held white-glove parties at a lavish banquet hall that he owned. At a prominent intersection near the border of Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, his smiling face looked down from a large billboard that promoted his real estate services. Many residents responded, taking out high-risk mortgages that they were told they could readily afford. In July, it all came crashing down. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Mr. Ahmad, charging him with masterminding a $50 million mortgage fraud that seemed to exemplify a nationwide phenomenon of celebrated immigrant brokers who were accused of preying on their own. Read More: New York Times

Straphangers Cope With Major MTA Weekend Repairs

With the Metropolitan Transportation Authority doing maintenance and construction this weekend, 17 of the city’s 22 subway lines — the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, D, E, F, G, J, N, Q, R and S lines — are experiencing some type service disruption. For many, it was confusing, annoying and downright frustrating. Some Q train riders in Downtown Brooklyn said on Saturday night that they had it with all the weekend service disruptions. “You got to get off at one particular point in Brooklyn, switch to the bus, get back on another train and it’s not the train that we need. It’s crazy,” said one rider. Read More: NY1

Fallout over failed Queens center

A longtime board member of a politically connected Queens nonprofit resigned yesterday after The Post reported that his publicly funded group owed the Port Authority $2.7 million over its stalled plan to create a new business center. The sudden resignation of Greater Jamaica Development Corp. board member Cruz Russell, whose $173,000-a-year day job is with the PA, came as the bistate agency announced an exhaustive review of its dealings with the nonprofit over the ailing JFK Corporate Square project. Read More: New York Post

New York coalition presents redisticting maps to boost Asian-American, Latino and African-American representation

A coalition of Asian-American, Latino and African-American groups has released a new set of redistricting maps it believes will give the city’s large ethnic populations a greater voice in future elections. The so-called Unity Maps are just one proposal being sent to state lawmakers as they decide how Senate, Assembly and congressional districts in the city should be redrawn to reflect changes in the 2010 Census. A state task force is slated to release its redistricting proposal in the next week or so. Read More: Daily News

Beyonce’s hospital mates baby-bumped

Pushy parents Beyoncé and Jay-Z installed bulletproof glass and burly bodyguards at the Upper East Side hospital where their diva daughter was just born — and even booted worried moms and dads out of the neonatal intensive-care unit. The fuming other parents at Lenox Hill Hospital said they were essentially put on “lockdown” so that the pampered songstress and her party could come and go as they pleased. “They just used the hospital like it was their own and nobody else mattered,” blasted new dad Neil Coulon, who said his efforts to see his premature, newborn twins in the neonatal ICU were disrupted at least four times by the arrival of Beyoncé and her tiny rap princess, Blue Ivy Carter, over the weekend. Read More: New York Post

Liu kicked in arrears

Embattled Comptroller John Liu, the city’s chief fiscal officer, is an accused deadbeat. Con Edison and the state Tax Department have taken separate legal action against his campaign committee, People for John Liu, for allegedly failing to pay nearly $1,500 in outstanding bills and taxes, The Post has learned. Con Ed is suing in Brooklyn Civil Court for about $500 in unpaid electric bills and has sicced a collection agency on him. The delinquency covers energy usage from a campaign office that Liu rented at 1424 Fulton Street in 2008 and 2009 when he was running for his current job, records show. Con Ed filed its initial suit October 14, 2009. A second suit was filed June 25, 2010, after the bills remained unpaid. Read More: New York Post

Changes coming to Atlas Park?


| brennison@queenscourier.com

A name change, among other modifications, may be in store for the struggling Shops at Atlas Park.

Macerich, Atlas’ owner, is still in the process of reviewing the mall and considering alterations, which may include a renaming.

“Whenever we redevelop, there is a whole list of possibilities, and a name change is one of them,” said Tim Steffan, senior vice president of property management at Macerich. “This is part of the normal process.  It takes time to get arms around the entire project and property.”

The shops were originally named after the former occupants of the property, Atlas Terminal. There is no definitive timetable for a decision on whether the mall will undergo a name change.

Macerich purchased the 21-acre open-air shopping and entertainment center for approximately $54 million at a January 2011 foreclosure auction after its former owners defaulted on a $128 million loan to two French banks in 2009.

The Santa Monica headquartered company also owns and operates Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst which sits just two miles away from Atlas Park.

Steffan said that though the mall is just down the road, in an incredibly dense market, Queens Center has no effect on Atlas.

Glendale’s Atlas Park was unveiled in 2006 as an outdoor “lifestyle center,” but its mix of restaurants and boutiques slumped through recent years. Shoppers have complained about a lack of “anchor” stores.

“It’s lovely, but it is usually a second thought when I think about shopping,” said Middle Village resident Cathy Rose.

Steffan said that any mall needs an anchor or destination as a draw. The company will also look into expanding entertainment in the center.

“There is no one store attraction that shoppers come for,” said Michelle Herrera, who said she frequents the restaurants in the mall. “Most people seem to come to eat or watch a movie.”

The mall currently features California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, Manor Oktoberfest, Shiro of Japan, Simply Fondue and Venezia Ristorante.

“Nothing is off the table right now.  We are looking at everything from a 360-degree perspective — parking, access, merchandise,” Steffan said of a potential reinvention of the site.  “Simply put, we are a patient group.  We acquired [Atlas Park] because we believe in the community. We want to make it better, something of value to the community.”

Queens Center tree lighting kicks off Christmas season


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Nargas Karimi.

Three . . . two. . . one. . . holiday lights!

To kick off the holiday season, nearly 250 people of all ages gathered for the tree lighting ceremony at Queens Center Mall on November 19.

“This is the 8th annual tree lighting event. It doesn’t take too long to plan this event, but each year we try to create a fresh approach to make it more interesting and exciting,” said Dawn Simon, senior marketing manager at Queens Center Mall.

Guests who made an appearance were Senator Jose Peralta, Councilmember Daniel Dromm, Melva Miller, director of Economic Development from the borough president’s office, and of course, Santa Claus.

Throughout the event, both children and adults were dancing to the DJ’s music.

“In order to put the event together, we make sure that every ‘I’ is dotted. We want our retailers and people in the community to have an awesome experience,” said Simon.

Santa Claus helped the guests countdown from 10 to light up the 40-foot-tall tree.

“This is my first time attending the event. I randomly came to the mall to do some shopping, but I have to say it’s pretty nice; I like the music,” said local shopper Mariam Faqiri.

Another shopper, Sarah Ghafoori from Whitestone, said, “I look forward to the holiday season because everyone gets together and just enjoys each other’s company.”