Last month, the Vass Stevens Group closed on the building at 62-02 Roosevelt Avenue, right off 62nd Street, and now plans to redevelop it into a commercial hotspot. There is 12,200 square feet of rentable space, with the potential to build up to 35,000 square feet. The developers dubbed the building “The Hub” — it even has its own website. They hope to lure a retail, office, or hospital tenant and are emphasizing the development’s proximity to the 7 Train and LIRR. Steven Lysohir, representing the new owners, had this to say about the potential on Roosevelt Avenue: “The strong existing residential base, combined with infrastructure surrounding this property, proximity to major markets, and the increasing demand from various demographics results in a recipe for growth… We plan to commence the leasing effort shortly to find the right tenant for the property and trade area. Our group is committed to Woodside and will spend real dollars to upgrade the appearance and size of the asset to further enhance the curb appeal of this commercial strip.”
You can see more renderings exploring the possibilities of the building after the jump. GMAP(more…)
Every once in awhile, an ambitious plan is floated to “deck over” the Sunnyside Yards and develop right over it. Well, it looks like we’ve got another one of those plans — or at least a proposal — on our hands. Queens Courier shares that at a recent board meeting, Community Board 2 approved a motion to ask Borough President Katz for a feasibility study on decking the yards and developing on top of it. While Board Chair Joseph Conley brought the issue up for a vote, there are no specifics whatsoever about the plan — the goal is just to start a dialogue. As Queens Courier puts it, “Conley reasoned that it would be good to explore the ability to use the space, especially for affordable housing, as land prices continue to shoot upward in nearby communities such as Long Island City.”
Some board members didn’t want more housing — which requires more public services and infrastructure — for the area. Others want to explore possibilities of a hospital, affordable housing, school or public space there. Here’s a technical analysis complied by the former Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff in regards to future development.
The Big Six Towers, Queens Boulevard between 59th and 61st Streets, were developed, like Electchester in Flushing, by a trade union. In 1961 the New York Typographical Union (Local 6) completed the project in 1963 and one-third of its current tenants are active or retired union members. The AFL-CIO invested heavily in the towers in 2008 to help keep its apartments affordable for middle-class families. There are still some retired lithographers and printers among the residents.
While other large residential developments have joined the Big Six Towers on this stretch of Queens Boulevard, the small terra cotta former Childs’ restaurant outlet holds firm on the NW corner of 60th Street. The building hosts a laundromat, bodega, Irish bar and pizza parlor on the ground floor.
Last week, Community Board Two held a public hearing regarding two proposals to install Slow Zones in Sunnyside, Sunnyside Gardens and Woodside. If the zones are implemented, the DOT will bring 38 speed bumps and 50 gateways (special signs to indicate where the zone begins) to the neighborhoods. The speed limit will be reduced to 20 mph. The Times Ledger reports that the proposal “did not receive overwhelming support” with board members worried about possible gridlock and more traffic. One member called the yellow gateway signs an eyesore, although the DOT stated they cannot be altered. But CB2 Chairman Joe Conley spoke in support of the measure, saying that cars usually travel 35 to 40 mph through the residential streets.
Ultimately, CB2 almost unanimously approved the proposal by a hands-raised vote, according to the Ledger. The DOT is now going to take the community suggestions into consideration before submitting a final plan for installation.
What would become Woodside, a bustling community centered at Roosevelt Avenue and 61st Street where the #7 Flushing Line and the Long Island Rail Road come together, was originally a part of a larger colonial village, Newtown. It was largely a woodsy swamp until the mid-1860s, when developer Benjamin Hitchcock purchased the John Kelly farm and divided it into building lots located along today’s Woodside Avenue. Kelly, an early settler, was part owner of a Brooklyn newspaper and sent it dispatches from his home in the ‘sticks’ called “Letters from Woodside;” Hitchcock perpetuated the name. Woodside took off when the Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909 and the el arrived in 1917. Woodside’s strange street pattern, with some streets angling for seemingly no reason, has to do with its old railroads: the Flushing and Woodside and Flushing and Northside Railroads, as well as the Long Island Rail Road, all ran through Woodside. By the late 19th century, the railroads had either failed or had been absorbed by the LIRR. The surviving roads, absorbed into the LIRR, were elevated by 1917.
Today in Woodside you are just as likely to exit an Irish bar and enter an Indian restaurant as you are to walk out of a bodega and then past a remnant of the colonial era. Woodside has succeeded in hiding in plain sight some of its more prominent relics from the old days, too.
It’s going to be a bad weekend on the 7 line for Queens residents. The Sunnyside Post sends the alert that the MTA is suspending 7 train service between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street/Roosevelt Ave from 2 am Saturday through 4:30 am Monday. The closure is part of ongoing construction that’s unfortunately expected to last until 2017.
There will be two free shuttle services for the weekend. The first is running from Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave to Queensboro Plaza, stopping at Hunters Point Ave, 45th Road/Court House Square and Queens Plaza. The other is running between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street/Broadway. It will stop at 33rd Street, 40th Street, 46th Street, 52nd Street, 61st Street/Woodside and 69th Street.
CPEX just listed a massive, block-through development site at 64-11 Queens Boulevard, between 64th and 65th Streets. (The Queens Motor Inn building.) The site, which is 19,808 square feet, is zoned for both commercial and residential development, with a residential FAR of 5. To give you an idea of the building size that would accommodate, the current Motor Inn building is only built up to a FAR of .9. A new development could be as much as 99,040 square feet.
The ask for the lot is $12,000,000, no small sum indeed. The listing tries to sells Woodside as “one of the most stable communities in Queens” with main retail corridors, great ethnic restaurants, commercial growth and reasonable rents that attract working class and young residents.
A few big streetscape proposals have popped up around Queens. The first is in Long Island City, where the Department of Transportation introduced safety proposals for Court Square and Queens Plaza streets. LIC Post reports that “the department is focusing on the area that links Queens Plaza South to 44th Drive—bordered by 28th Street on the east and Crescent Street to the west.” The DOT proposes a long list of changes: reducing the width of 28th Street by adding a center median, increasing the size of the pedestrian island at the corner of 28th Street and 42nd Road, adding a pedestrian island in the middle of 44th Drive, converting Hunter Street from a one-way to a two-way between 44th Drive and 43rd Avenue. They are also eyeing the corner of 44th Drive and Jackson Avenue, as well as Crescent Street between 43rd Avenue and 42nd Drive, for safety improvements. Check out the full plan here — Community Board 2 is expected to vote on the proposal September 4th.
Meanwhile, in Sunnyside and Woodside, the DOT has proposed two slow zones for the neighborhood. Sunnyside Post reports that each zone will cover the northern and the southern section of both neighborhoods. (Check out a map after the jump, and see the DOT’s full presentation here.) The new zones will be marked by new speed bumps and large blue signs stating the 20 mph speed limit. According to Sunnyside Post, “Community Board 2 is planning on holding a public meeting on the plans that is likely to take place within the next two weeks.” The DOT hopes to install the slow zones by the end of the year.
Community Board 2 chair Joseph Conley, along with leaders based in Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, came up with a proposal to bring more affordable housing to the borough. The Daily News reports that in a letter to the city, the group highlighted four different parcels with the potential for rezoning. Conley wants taller, denser developments with at least 30 percent of the units priced affordably. The locations in question are an area of Queens Plaza, a triangle in Woodside bound by Broadway, Northern Boulevard and the BQE, a parcel in Sunnyside near Northern Boulevard between 43rd to 48th Streets, and finally on top of the LIRR tracks on Woodside Avenue between 63rd and 65th Streets.
This proposal is inspired by Mayor de Blasio’s pledge to preserve or create 200,000 affordable units in the next ten years. Conley expressed concern over the “Gold Coast” emerging in LIC — the abundance of new-construction developments where a one bedroom rents for $2,800 to $3,200 a month. A rep from the Department of City Planning seemed open to the push for affordability: “We appreciate [the community board’s] willingness to discuss the important goals of expanding housing that will be affordable to a range of incomes. We continue to evaluate the appropriateness of areas that can meet the goals of the mayor’s housing plan,” she stated.
The 23rd Street/Ely Avenue station has increased in importance in recent years, as Greenpoint has gotten hotter — Queensicans needing access can change trains to the G line here, when the G vouchsafes to cross under the noxious and noisome Newtown Creek, which it won’t be doing for awhile. Many subway amateurs think this is the place where 23rd Street crosses Ely Avenue. This is a fallacy, as Ely Avenue is actually the former name of 23rd Street. It carried the name until the 1920s, as the then NYC Topographical Bureau decided to put Queens under one numerical street system in 1915, and the streets were numbered gradually from neighborhood to neighborhood, completing the process by 1930.
However, some anachronisms remain on subway station signs. The best-known are along the #7 line, where Rawson, Bliss, and Lowery Streets, as well as Lincoln Avenue, are still on the station signs for 33rd, 40th, 46th and 52nd Streets. Names also persist along the N/Q in Astoria, and the A in Ozone Park and the Rockaway peninsula.