It’s been a long haul for the Ridgewood Theater. The 34,000-square-foot property at 55-27 Myrtle Avenue first came on the market in May 2008 just two months after the lights went up on the last showing at the five-screen moviehouse. By 2010, the year that the facade was landmarked, the price was down to $3.9 million, according to Queens Crap. CPEX has had the Thomas White Lamb-designed property listed for $8.5 million in recent months, and an article in yesterday’s Queens Courier noted that the property is now in contract for $7 million. Based upon current zoning, a developer could add another 19,000 square feet for a total of more than 53,000 square feet. The identity of the Brooklyn-based buyers is unknown as are their plans for the place, but the seller has been marketing a rendering that shows a multi-level retail concept fronting on the Cypress Avenue side; many in the community are holding out hope that the site will remain devoted to entertainment purposes.
Click through below to see it along with a photo of the rundown but still quite beautiful interior. For more old photos go to Afterthefinalcurtain.net. Seems to us that the right price is probably somewhere between $6 and $7 million. GMAP (more…)
Queens Community Board 1 has approved a sprawling 2,000-unit apartment plan at Hallets Point in Astoria, DNAinfo reported. New Jersey-based developer Lincoln Equities Group’s plan calls for 11 buildings ranging from 11 to 31 floors, with 20% affordable housing. The project would also include a new supermarket, K-8 public school and waterfront esplanade. Most residents were supportive of the plan, but sought space for a community center. The Community Board’s non-binding recommendation will be followed by a recommendation by the Queens borough president and votes from City Planning and the City Council in around six months.
Rendering from James Corner Field Operations
The Department of City Planning approved on Wednesday the U.S. Tennis Association’s contentious plan to expand its stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, DNAinfo reported. The approval comes in the wake of the Association’s concession to return 1.56 acres of parkland to the public in return for development rights for a 0.68 acre parcel, a move that didn’t satisfy some community activists. City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said at the vote that there would be “no loss of public parkland in order to accomplish the proposed upgrade to the tennis center,” according to DNAinfo. Corona Park may soon be the site of another land battle if the new Major League Soccer team seeks to build a stadium there.
Fresh Pond Road, one of the central arteries of Ridgewood, will be getting a new five-story residential development. In addition to 28 units of housing, the 20,000-square-foot project at 63-34 Fresh Pond Road will also have a small amount of office space. We wonder if it will be a glassy affair like so many new buildings these days. GMAP
For those who aren’t familiar with my work on Brownstoner.com, I’m Suzanne Spellen, and I write under the pen name “Montrose Morris.” Mr. Morris was an important late 19th century architect who worked almost entirely in Brooklyn. He was especially prolific in Central Brooklyn – in Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights, where I lived for close to twenty-five years. I took his name as a log-in name well before I started writing for the blog, and it just stuck. I write about architectural history, neighborhood history, and the people who lived, worked and walked in our streets. I’ll be doing the same here, and I hope to do Queens proud.
I have a Queens connection as well as a Brooklyn connection; I spent the first five years of my life in Queens. Not impressive street cred, but it’s what I’ve got. My family lived in St. Albans until I was six, when we moved to upstate New York. I went to pre-school in a park in St. Albans, and went to kindergarten at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, on Riverton Street, near Farmers and Baisley Boulevards. I still have very vivid memories of the school, and the house I lived in, even though it wasn’t for all that long, and was long ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the streets.
I was asked to write about Queens and its history and buildings, so I thought I would start with an area that is not on the radar for hip and happening colonization anytime soon, thankfully. This first post about Queens is going to be personal, and hopefully informational. As many have said, and will continue to say, Queens is a multi-cultural melting pot, with more cultures and ethnicities than any other part of New York City. Queens is so much more than just Long Island City, Forest Hills, Astoria and Ridgewood. Today, the first Queenswalk is going to look at my old hometown of St. Albans.
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, was thwarted in its quest to lease at Related Companies’ retail center in East New York, Brooklyn. But sources tell the Observer that the company is looking at some vacant land that would support a 300,000-square-foot store near the Queens-Brooklyn border. One possibility: Ridgewood, near the rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, according to Douglas Elliman broker Faith Hope Consolo. Meanwhile, a Wal-Mart spokesman told the salmon paper that there’s “nothing new regarding Walmart in NYC,” but said that New Yorkers want to shop at the store and travel to suburban locations to do so. The company’s most recent quarterly earnings missed estimates.
More zoning changes are in store for flood-prone areas that may include Howard Beach and the Rockaways. The City wants to change building rules to conform to the latest federal standards for flood resistant construction, and the public review process started Monday, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said. New rules would affect building heights, the location of mechanicals and off-street parking, the placement of stairs and ramps, activities on ground level, and the quality of the streetscape. But raising the ground floor above the flood line can make for some really ugly buildings, so the rules would allow gradual grading, stair turns, porches and plantings to “prevent unnecessarily stark landscapes with blank walls, and promote ‘eyes on the street’ to foster street-level vitality,” as a City press release put it. Burden, a Bloomberg appointee, has already rezoned a staggering 36 percent of the City, according to Crain’s, including areas like Jamaica and Flushing.
TF Cornerstone’s newest Long Island City rental tower, 4545 Center Boulevard, has begun leasing, the developer said Monday. Rents will start at $2,300 per month for the building’s 820 units, which include studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
Arquitectonica designed the building’s exterior, and the Rockwell Group designed the lobby. Leasing will be done in-house, a TF Cornerstone rep tells Brownstoner. The development has a resort-like amenity package that includes a sand volleyball court, two tennis courts and a reflecting pool. To cater to the family crowd, the building has a children’s playroom and playground.
It’s TF Cornerstone’s fifth building along the Long Island City waterfront. The developer’s sixth project, 4610 Center Boulevard, is under construction. When completed, TF Cornerstone will have a total of 2,615 rental units and 184 condos in the area.
A rendering of the amenity spaces after the jump. (more…)
The Times spoke with a couple over the weekend, Marni and Chaz King, preparing for twins and being squeezed out of their Murray Hill apartment. They were looking for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment for $3,500, a difficult get in Manhattan. The Upper East Side was “retro in a bad way” and another unit in Murray Hill only offered a one-year lease.
In a chance encounter at a physical therapy office, Chaz King heard gushing about a foreign land known as Long Island City. They checked it out and found a 900-square-foot listing at the Karl Fischer-designed Crescent Club at 41-17 Crescent Street, represented by Justin Martinez of Christie Property Group. The couple was wary of the 7-train and the neighborhood’s rough edges, but eventually signed on for $3,775 a month, 26-month lease with two months free; their actual rent is just shy of $3,500. (And they’re not the only ones–we reported back in February when the project signed its 100th lease.)
They’re still concerned about the lack of family necessities, commenting that the “strip-club-to-supermarket ratio is not in favor of the grocery stores,” but the simple reality of more space appears to have won them over, at least for now. The twins are due next month. “Chaz says he can’t imagine trying to squeeze into the old apartment. I’m, like, ‘Another box from diapers.com got delivered.’ We would have had no place for any of that stuff, and the kids aren’t even here yet,” Marni King tells the Times. Maybe it’s time to rent some temporary storage? GMAP
Landscape architecture firm Starr Whitehouse has posted renderings of the outdoor space at Hunter’s Point South. The firm was hired by the Related Companies, who are building out the first phase of the project. Phase one includes a 37-story building 619 housing units and a 32-story building with 306 units. Construction began earlier this year, and the project is expected to be completed in 2015.
A nearby waterfront park will include 11 acres of waterfront open space and will open in July. That project was designed by architects Weiss/Manfredi and landscape architect Thomas Baisley. Meanwhile, the city has issued a request for proposals for another 5 million square feet of housing in “Parcel C.” Additional renderings below… (more…)