Mayor Bloomberg Announces Selection of Developer For Downtown Flushing Site
$500 Million Project Will Become the Heart of Revitalized Flushing and Create More than 4,000 Jobs.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was joined today by Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilmember John Liu to announce the selection of Flushing Commons LLC to redevelop Municipal Parking Lot 1, a five-acre, City-owned site in Downtown Flushing in Queens. The privately-funded, $500 million project calls for the creation of a new town square, approximately 500 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail space, a business-class hotel, a community center, recreational facilities and new parking. The project is expected to create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs. Flushing Commons is a joint venture of The Rockefeller Development Corporation of Manhattan and TDC Development and Construction Corporation, a local Flushing developer. State Senator Toby Stavisky, Assemblymember Jimmy Meng, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff, NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Andrew M. Alper and New York City Central Labor Council President Brian McLaughlin also attended the announcement held at the Flushing Town Hall.
“Improving and investing in neighborhoods in all five boroughs is at the core of our Administration’s economic development strategy, and the high quality of the responses we received for Municipal Lot 1 is evidence of the excellent development potential of Downtown Flushing,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The Flushing Commons proposal features dynamic retail choices, reasonable parking solutions, and much-needed community amenities that will benefit the entire neighborhood and attract visitors. It also provides an attractive town square area that will become the center of community activity, a critical element in the development framework for Downtown Flushing that was created last year. ”
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a decision process that involved the community, elected officials and the City administration in a combined effort to provide reasonable and responsible development in Downtown Flushing,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “This comprehensive plan will provide for everything from parking to apartments to retail space and, at the same time, generate thousands of jobs. Exciting plans are afoot for Downtown Flushing, Willets Point and Shea Stadium. We look forward to cutting the ribbon to open this development and look forward to working together again to plan for the future needs of our communities.”
“This effort is not just about Municipal Lot 1,” said Councilmember Liu. “It’s about transforming Downtown Flushing into a destination of choice in our region. This project will set the tone and direction for Flushing for years to come. The community will benefit from the many new public amenities created and from the positive effects from this project rippling throughout the entire area.”
The proposed project, called Flushing Commons, includes:
- A one-acre town square of open space with a fountain plaza to be maintained by the developer.
- Parking for 2,000 cars at below market rates in response to community requests.
- A 50,000-square-foot recreational center featuring amenities such as a swimming pool, basketball courts and an exercise room with memberships available to community residents.
- A business-class hotel with meeting rooms and banquet facilities.
- About 500 residential units, with 20% marketed to seniors.
- 350,000 square feet of retail space including local and national retailers, restaurants and a multi-screen cinema.
- 20,000 square feet of space for community or cultural tenants.
- 15,000 square feet of space for small professional businesses.
The project will incorporate low impact development techniques and green building technologies. The developer is also committed to hiring from the local community and will create a comprehensive strategy to identify local businesses and residents to work on the project during and after construction.
“This site has been part of my daily life for the past two decades,” said TDC Development and Construction Corporation Chairman & CEO Michael Lee. “For years we have prepared blueprints for Flushing’s improvement. Today, the team at TDC is honored to have the opportunity to devote our local and global experience to make the best of a site that is so familiar and dear to me. TDC will ensure that our on-going and future projects in the area have a strong synergy with our Flushing Commons development, addressing expanded retail and entertainment as well as housing needs. With our partner, The Rockefeller Group, and major investor, Apollo Real Estate Advisors, we are committed to creating a civic heart that responds to community needs today, while contemplating those of future generations.”
“We are honored and excited by our selection, and we intend to make Flushing Commons a landmark to be proud of,” said Rockefeller Group President and CEO Jonathan D. Green. “We believe that our proposal represents a way to realize many of the City’s goals for the development of Downtown Flushing: to renew downtown and to enhance the community feeling and the quality of life by creating a new residential community surrounded by lively retail. With our partners at TDC, we hope to create a destination that captures the vibrant mix of cultures and ethnicities that make up the borough.”
“This exciting project will be a catalyst for other projects that will help us revitalize Downtown Flushing, invigorate the Flushing River waterfront and connect to a redeveloped Willets Point, making the entire area a regional destination,” said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff. “I commend the local elected officials, members of Community Board 7, President Alper and the staff at EDC for their commitment and contribution to selecting the proposal that contained the best components to bring new life and excitement to Downtown Flushing. I also want to thank the developer, Flushing Commons, for its sensitivity to the needs and desires of the residents and local businesses.”
The Development Framework for Downtown Flushing is a result of an extensive collaboration among City and State agencies, local elected officials, advocacy groups, community members and local business leaders. It regards Downtown Flushing, the Flushing River waterfront and Willets Point as a coherent whole and outlines a land use planning strategy for strengthening the entire area as a regional center. EDC also met with local elected officials and members of Community Board 7 to solicit feedback on elements of the 13 proposals received for Municipal Lot 1.
In addition to the development of Municipal Lot 1, the City and Borough President Marshall worked with the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church, located on the eastern edge of the site, to acquire a half-acre parcel north of the Church where it plans to build more than 100 units of affordable housing and street level retail. To ensure that these two projects complement each other, Flushing Commons agreed to collaborate with the Church on development plans.
A number of other projects are underway in the Flushing area. The City is undertaking an $11 million Downtown Flushing pedestrian project to provide enhanced streetscape and pedestrian improvements. In addition, EDC issued a Request for Expressions of Interest to develop Willets Point, which produced 13 exciting and innovative proposals that are currently under review. These initiatives have not gone unnoticed by the private sector. Muss Development Company recently announced the development of a $600 million, 3.2 million-square-foot retail and residential center, called Flushing Town Center, on 14 acres of former industrial property in western Flushing.