Just before the ball droppedon December 30a coalition of developers finally sealed the deal on a site in Flushing that will be home to Bloomberg's last legacy megaproject, paying $20 million for a municipal parking lot. The complex was approved back in 2010, so there's been a heck of a lot of delays and false starts and backtracking and community beefs... and some financing troubles. But the mixed-use developmentwhich will include offices, housing, shopping, parking, a hotel, and community spaceis set to break ground in March. The $850 million potential poster child for unarrested development, a.k.a. Flushing Commons, has also tweaked its phases: the first one will include 150 condos, a 1,000-space parking lot, and 220,000 square feet of offices. That'll apparently be done in 2017.
What is getting pushed back to the second phase is a 62,000-square-foot YMCA, a 1.5-acre public open space, and about 130,000 square feet of offices. Already planned for Part 2 was 450 apartments, another 150,000 square feet of offices, and 15,000 square feet of community space. According to Crain's, phase two must begin by 2018 (to be finished by 2021) or else developers will face millions of dollars in penalties. A speedier timeline, because they used to have until 2027 to tackle that swath. The complex will also have a 1,600-spot parking garage.
So now nearby store owners are speaking out, worried about their customers' ability to park 'n' shop, which is in jeopardy because the 1,100-spot lot is getting this giant project plopped on top of it. Oddly enough, coalition of 300 merchants is also worried about increased traffic. An EDC spokeswoman assures that there will be "ample parking" and developers have promised to keep all eleven hundred spots open during construction. (Ah, #QueensProblems.) By contrast, these pro-development job-seekers are probably really excited, though.
Now for the backers. The project is being spearheaded by an alphabet soup of developers: TDC Development International, the Rockefeller Group, AECOM Capital and Mount Kellett Capital Management with financing from Starwood Property Trust. Chalk up another project to watch in 2014.
· Flushing Commons [NYEDC]
· Big Queens project to break ground [Crain's]
· Local merchants fear Flushing Commons could put them out of business [NYDN]
· All Flushing Commons coverage [Curbed]