HABITAT

LONG ISLAND CITY

Five of the nation’s ten neighborhoods with the most new apartments are in New York City.

It doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue, but at least it will be very tall – the tallest building in all of Queens.

Court Square City View Tower, 79 stories with 774 apartments and 20,000 square feet of retail space, will rise 964 feet into the skies above Long Island City, making it the borough’s tallest building by about 50 feet.

The plans were filed last Saturday, the same day a developer filed plans to turn a nearby taxi garage into an 11-story condo building, the Real Deal reports. Court Square City View Tower is being developed by the Flushing-based developer Chris Xu, who, along with his brother George Xu, paid Citigroup $143 million for the property at 23-15 44th Drive.

The tower is being designed by the architectural firm of Goldstein, Hill & West.

Adam America filed plans over the weekend to replace a gritty Long Island City taxi garage with a glittery 11-story, 175-unit condo building with nearly 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. It’s the third major development on an industrial block near Court Square and MoMA PS1.

The plans for the 170,000-square-foot building at 22-12 Jackson Avenue – on a piece of land that fetched $43.5 million last summer – include a pool on the first floor, a gym and children’s playroom, and storage space for 91 bicycles, the Real Deal reports. 

Isaac & Stern Architects is designing the building, which will also include a rooftop “recreation area.”

No sooner does foundation work get underway at 25-19 43rd Avenue, in Long Island City, for a new nine-story, 86-unit condo building than New York YIMBY announces two new condo buildings heading to 51st Avenue. Condos do seem to proliferate like bunny rabbits, don't they? According to New York YIMBY, property owner Shahram Nassi filed applications for two five-story, three-unit residential buildings at the vacant lots of 5-18–5-20 51st Avenue, in Hunts Point, Long Island City. It speculates that the units will probably be condos since the buildings will measure nearly 5,000 square feet, with each unit averaging 1,665 square feet. "One duplex unit will share the first floor with the lobby and then take up the entire second floor. Another will occupy the third floor, and the last duplex will span the fourth and fifth floors." No word yet on ticket price, but while we don't expect them to be exactly cheap, they are sure to be a bargain compared to the condos for sale on Billionaires' Row.

While it would be nice to score a luxury condo on Billionaires' Row, not everyone can afford it. The Upper East Side is more expensive than all of The Bronx. Tribeca has some of the priciest zip codes in Manhattan. And Brooklyn is getting so expensive that people are getting priced out of it and having to move… to Manhattan. Ah, the topsy-turvy world of New York City real estate. So where to for those who still want their condo and live in it, too? How about Long Island City? According to New York YIMBY, Ekstein Development began excavation at 25-19 43rd Avenue, in Long Island City, where a nine-story, 86-unit residential building is planned. The 86 condominiums will spread across 68,145 square feet of residential space, working out to an average unit of just 792 square feet." You'll have to wait a bit, though: "Foundation work is currently underway, per TCSB, and completion is slated for January 2017." 

Rendering of 25-19 43rd Avenue in Long Island City from teaser site 

An inevitable consequence of all these new apartment towers rising across the Five Boroughs is that some neighborhood icons become collateral damage. Locals in Long Island City worried that the Queens Clock Tower was doomed, especially as "Queens Plaza undergoes rapid development — including a plan to build a 70-story apartment tower, the borough's tallest, right next door" to the beloved structure, DNAinfo reported. Today, their efforts to preserve the building paid off: "The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission [LPC] voted unanimously to landmark the former Bank of Manhattan building in Queens Plaza." The clock tower has been part of Long Island City's landscape and skyline for nearly a century. Built in 1927, the former bank building at 29-27 41st Avenue was "known at the time as 'the first skyscraper in Queens' and was honored by the Queens Chamber of Commerce as the borough’s best business building, according to the LPC." Sometimes the good guys really do win.

Photo by Jim.henderson (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes a superintendent's office is just a superintendent's office. And other times, a superintendent's office is a storage room that doesn't belong to the condominium, except one document says it does and another document says it doesn't. This is why we have document shredders. Just kidding. But it is why we have courtrooms — which is where a Long Island City, Queens, condo board and the building's sponsor recently met to have the case of the conflicting official papers sorted out. Also, to determine who gets custody of the room's toilet, which makes it all the more a shame this isn't happening in Flushing.

From solar panels to cleaner boilers, green efforts seem to be cropping up everywhere. But are wind turbines going to be New York’s (energy-)saving grace? Two new installations – one on top of Pearson Court Square in Long island City and one in Brooklyn at 388 Bridge Street – are hoping so. The New York Times  reports that while the turbines can only power small portions of the building (for example, the common areas of Pearson Court Square), the manufacturer of the turbines is in talks with five other developers and just completed an additional installation at a Whole Foods in Gowanus.

Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, there's no bigger news for boards than of the legislative mess in Albany that will send co-op and condo property taxes sky-high unless Gov. Cuomo and company take action. On the Upper East Side, a co-op board sues a sponsor that won't let go even after 24 years, a doorman charges a management company with allowing racist rants, there's power from the sun in Sunset Park and much more.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday announced a report recommending broad changes affecting co-ops, condos and all other New York City buildings that face the expected floods, destructive wind, blackouts and other extreme-weather results of climate change.

Among the proposals, which the mayor and speaker said they would pursue immediately, are Building Code upgrades, zoning changes and having buildings prepare emergency plans that include backup power and water. Earlier this week, the mayor additionally proposed a City registry of the most vulnerable citizens to better coordinate assistance and rescue.

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