In 2007, the Brooklyn Museum donated a colonial relic to the Greater Astoria Historical Society — a door that was part of the historic Blackwell Mansion in Ravenswood, Queens, likely built in 1730 by patriarch Jacob Blackwell (1692-1744).
After the Battle of Brooklyn (aka the battle of Long Island) in August 1776, the British and Hessians swept into Queens from the south and east. Upon their arrival in Astoria (not yet named as such), in September 1776, Colonel Jacob Blackwell had to flee. The British hacked the “Arrow of Confiscation” (seen clearly on the left in the above photo) into his front door, making it the property of the crown. This arrow marking still exists in the door’s exterior. Jacob Blackwell returned to the house and lived there through the worst of the British occupation, and died there in October 1780, still a British subject in a land not yet the independent United States.
In today’s edition of “the rent is too damn high,” here’s a 550-square-foot rental in Astoria asking $1,800 a month. It’s located at 21-24 Newtown Avenue, a few blocks west from the heart of the neighborhood. The unit’s got an alcove kitchen, which is nice, and the finishes and appliances look new. The living space is exactly what you would expect from a studio apartment. It’s also rent stabilized, so at least the rent can’t go too much higher, and the building has a common roof deck and laundry room. So, what do you think?
Not long after the Durst Organization paid over $100,000,000 for a 90 percent stake in the Hallets Point development (and has apparently taken care of some legal issues), a construction timeline is now in sight. DNAinfo reports that the developers plan to break ground this October, with construction lasting for the next six years.
The development, which is right next door to the Astoria Cove mega development, will span seven acres of the peninsula and include seven residential buildings with 2,200 units. 20 percent of the units are designated as affordable, and two of those building will be on adjacent NYCHA property. On top of the residential development, there will be a public school, supermarket and waterfront esplanade.
Astoria, are you ready for some (more) major housing development? There’s a biggie coming to 31-51 31st Street, right off of Broadway. The parcel, which is a massive 26,000 square feet, has long been a parking lot. Its sale recently hit public records — “Astoria 31st Street Developers LLC” picked it up for $17,350,000. That led us to check Department of Buildings records, which show that there’s already a development in the pipeline here. And as you may have guessed, it’s gonna be big.
This building application proposes a seven-story, 114-unit building that spans 102,060 square feet. There will be 78,144 square feet of residential space, 19,761 square feet of commercial space, and 4,155 square feet for a community facility. The DOB is reviewing the application and has not issued new building permits yet. The only permit issued so far is for the demolition of the parking attendant booth. The architect of record is SLCE, who designed the MOMA Tower, 339 Bridge Street in Brooklyn, and 45-56 Pearson Street in LIC. We’ve reached out to them for a rendering and more details, so stay tuned… GMAP
Later this month, the Greater Astoria Historical Society is hosting a round table discussion moderated by Walking Queens author Adrienne Onofri. (We interviewed Adrienne about her book last year.) The topic of conversation is “Where Do We Go From Here? Behind the Hype About Astoria and LIC.” Community leaders with restaurant, arts, real estate, political, and community preservation backgrounds will discuss these two buzzed-about neighborhoods and what’s in store for the future. After the discussion, Adrienne will hold a book signing for Walking Queens.
The event is totally free and is happening on Saturday, January 31st, 1 pm at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. All the event details live here.
It’s not everyday we spot a three-bedroom co-op on the market in Astoria, but here’s one for sale at 33-68 21st Street. The interior, to be blunt, is going to need work. The kitchen is truly a sight for sore eyes, and we spot about four different types of flooring (none of them appealing) throughout the apartment. What you’re going to get here is space. There’s a total of 1,100 square feet and an interesting layout that has potential, but you’re going to have to put the work in. So do you think the ask of $449,000 makes sense?
Big time New York developer Jared Kushner made his first major investment in Queens, purchasing four apartment buildings in Astoria. The Real Deal reports that his company, Kushner Companies, paid $51,000,000 for 143 residential units and 11 commercial units at 21-80 38th Street (pictured), 21-81 38th Street, 23-05 30th Avenue and 23-15 30th Avenue. All the buildings are fully occupied, and apartments bring in an average of $1,750 a month. The seller, RockFarmer Capital, bought the buildings two years ago for $32,000,000, renovated them and changed up some of the units.
John Petras, the co-principal of RockFarmer, had this to say about Kushner’s investment in the nabe: “It bodes well for where Astoria is going.”
Holy cow: check out this three family in Astoria that’s up for sale. First off, let’s get the asking price out of the way, which is $2,700,000. It’s a 3,000-square-foot building that’s gotten a complete gut reno, and now looks totally modern. Some things look good, like the high ceilings and the wood floors, but we’re not crazy about random touches like the wooden ceiling beams and exposed brick. It’s also carved into three apartments, so the owner won’t get the full 3,000 square feet of space. (The open kitchen in one of the units looks especially small.)
It’s also worth adding that this home is being sold along with its next door neighbor, a two family at 30-69 47th Street. According to the listing. “Dual purchase offers the possibility to create a multi home complex inclusive of garage and recreation feature.” The combined price comes to a total of — get ready for it — $4,500,000.
Next Thursday, Janurary 15th, the Department of Homeless Services is holding a public hearing in regards to making the Westway Motor Inn a permanent homeless shelter for 121 families. Over the summer, the DHS received a six-month contract to use the hotel as a shelter, angering pols and residents who were not previously notified or consulted about the decision. Now, Astoria Post reports, the city needs to “approve the Westway ‘contract’ before it becomes a permanent facility,” meaning that a public hearing is in order.
The shelter is located at 71-11 Astoria Boulevard, on the border of Astoria and East Elmhurst. The public hearing will actually be held in Manhattan, at 125 Worth Street at 10 am. (Following the hearing, the Comptroller will review the contract and make a final decision.) A public hearing back in July raised concerns over community safety, school overcrowding, increase in property taxes and crime.