Turn a corner in Queens, and you never know what ethic group you’ll run into, especially in the Elmhurst-Jackson Heights-Flushing axis, home to dozens of nationalities, especially from South America and Asia. I had never known that Elmhurst was a gathering place for expatriate Sherpa, whose homeland is in the shadow of the Himalaya Mountains in eastern Nepal.
If you’re in the market for a very affordable three-bedroom co-op in Queens, this unit at 57-10 Junction Boulevard is worth checking out. There are three bedrooms — the listing says it could be converted to four bedrooms, although the photos don’t suggest how — a living room, dining room, and one-and-a-half bathrooms. The asking price is $349,000, way less than you’ll pay for a three bedroom in Jackson Heights or anywhere else these days. But the apartment is definitely going to need some work. There’s nothing particularly fancy or unique about the space, but it certainly is not a wreck. It’s also just a few blocks from the Woodhaven Boulevard M/R train.
The site of Elmhurst Park at Grand Avenue and 79th Street was once the location of two KeySpan Newtown gas holders, a highway landmark popularly known as the “Elmhurst gas tanks.” With the support of the community, the site was sold by KeySpan (which is now Brooklyn Grid) to the City of New York for $1 and was cleaned up and returned to the public as open space.
The tanks were built by KeySpan’s predecessor, Brooklyn Union Gas, in 1910 and 1920 to store natural gas used for heating, cooling and manufacturing, and were engineered to expand and contract based on the volume of gas contained within, using a system of telescoping cylinders set in a steel truss frame. The tanks sat on a 17-million gallon underground basin of water that acted as a sealant: until the 1960s, inspections were carried out by a worker who crawled through the gas main to the water basin, where he would use a rowboat to examine the tanks for leaks.
In the mid-20th century the tanks became well-known in radio traffic reports, since they were close to the Queens-Midtown Expressway (the road that becomes the Horace Harding, or Long Island, Expressway east of Queens Boulevard) since the helicopter-based announcers would use them as landmarks while relating to listeners the state of traffic on “the world’s longest parking lot.” (more…)
After hitting the market in October, the renovated co-op units at Elmhurst’s Continental Park are nearly sold out. More than 90 percent of the units officially sold, while all remaining have contracts out and closings have begun. Myles Horn, ABC Properties and Fisher Associates purchased 79 of the 153 co-op units and initially listed 61 for sale. The interiors were totally renovated (check out a building tour here) as well as the building common areas. There are also added amenities like a new playground, fitness center, and residents’ lounge.
The first weekend the sales center opened, around 1,000 people came to tour the units, and by December over 60 percent of the apartments sold. Units were entering contract at ask, with studios starting from $185,000, one bedrooms from $229,500, two bedrooms from $347,500 and three bedrooms from $509,500. “Apartments flew off the shelves,” said Yael Goldman, sales director for The Continental Park. “The interest, from start to finish, has been remarkable. There aren’t enough homes for interested buyers.”
I had gone past Claremont Terrace thousands of times — literally – without giving it a second thought about what it was. It’s an alley that is hidden along another dead end in the heart of Elmhurst, one of Queens’ busiest, most populated and diverse neighborhoods — it’s buzzing with energy day and evening. I would pass it, though, on the Long Island Rail Road on my way from Flushing to Penn Station, since its last remaining mansion, in a decayed, ravaged condition, was visible along the tracks. Claremont Terrace’s origins lie in American immigration, and a young businessman who made his name in the United States in the pre-Civil War era, beginning an enterprise that exists and flourishes today.
Samuel Lord (1803-1889) was a British foundry worker from Yorkshire who came to the USA with dreams of entrepreneurship, opening a drapery-dry goods shop on Catherine Street in what is now the Lower East Side in 1824, and after struggling for over a decade, he sent for his wife and children to join him in the USA. At about the same time his brother-in-law, George Washington Taylor, joined him as a partner and investor. (more…)
The 90-year-old Elks Lodge building on Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, is in desperate need of upkeep. The structure, which is a city landmark, has deteriorated over the years and now has missing and cracked bricks, water damage and stained concrete. But Queens Chronicle reports that there may be hope for a makeover. In December, the city approved an application for a matching grant up to $500,000 for the landmark. Here’s the catch, from the Chronicle: “The state agency will shell out the money only if New Life CDC, which operates youth programs and a health center in the building among other services, is able to raise $500,000 by the end of 2015.” New Life CDC can only fund about $250,000, so they are asking for donations to reach their goal.
New Life may start an online fundraising page and also reached out to Council Member Danny Dromm for help. In the meantime, you can donate through newlifecdc.us by clicking on the donate tab and specifying what your donation is for. If you’re curious about the history of this building, its architecture and when the Elks actually occupied it, go here.
The large commercial property at the corner of Broadway and 75th Street, which recently sold for $5,850,000, is getting a makeover. DNAinfo found a rendering of the new, glass-front commercial building that is located right outside of the 74th Street-Roosevelt transit hub. According to this marketing brochure, there’s 7,000-square-feet of divisible space and frontage on both Broadway and 75th Street. We heard that rents are expected to double post renovation, but there’s no word on what kind of tenants the new owners are courting. The building was delivered to them mostly vacant.
Coming later this year to the Queens Center Mall: an Apple store! This will be the first Apple outlet for Queens, and will likely open before Brooklyn’s first store planned for Williamsburg. 9to5Mac reports that the Queens Center Mall location, already under construction, is expected to open on the 2nd floor on an unspecified date later in 2015. It’s supposed to be a biggie, too: “One source says this store will be the largest Apple retail outlet located in a New York mall to date, and Apple is expecting revenues for this store to even beat out some of its flagship counterparts located elsewhere in the state.” The store, located along Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, plans to cater to the nearby Chinese community in Flushing.
Over on Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, you’ll notice the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown at the corner of 54th Avenue. It’s the Gothic structure which is incongruous with its surroundings, which are mainly retail shops, a diner, and a medium sized shopping mall. The First Presbyterian Church of Newtown is one of the oldest congregations in the entire city, and certainly the oldest in Queens. Pictured above is the latest building to serve the organization, erected in 1895, the first iteration having been built in 1652.
The exterior shots in this post are from a couple of weeks ago, from when the missus and I went couch shopping. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to set up a tripod inside the church, so there are lots of interior shots after the jump.
Last week, we told you that the nine-unit commercial property at 75-08 Broadway, right off 75th Street and the Jackson Heights subway station, sold for $5,850,000. While zoning would accommodate a new residential development, it looks like the buyers are keeping it commercial. A rep from Marcus & Millichap, the brokerage firm that represented both the buyer and seller, tell us that the 7,940-square-foot property will be redeveloped and filled with new tenants. The seller delivered the property mostly vacant, “with a clear path to becoming vacant in a short period of time.” Rents are expected to double post renovation. It’s still unclear if the new owner plans to expand upon the existing building, as zoning would allow for a building twice the size of what stands now.
Apparently bidding was fierce for the property, with a number of offers. Ultimately, Marcus & Millichap sold $150,000 above the original asking price.