CPC Approves New Mixed-Use Building in Flushing

Proposed eleven-story building will offer hotel, residential, commercial, and community space. On March 4, 2015 the City Planning Commission approved an application from CG & J Realty for a zoning map amendment to facilitate construction of an eleven-story mixed-use building at 137-61 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens. The proposed building will consist of eleven stories with a basement and cellar, and contain 10,000 square feet of commercial retail, 97,000 square feet of hotel space, 7,000 square feet of community facility space, and 37,000 square feet of residential space. The second through eighth floors would house the hotel space, while the residential units would be on the ninth through eleventh floors. The ground floor would contain the retail space, hotel restaurant and lobby, and 155 parking spaces would be located belowground.

On December 15, 2014 Queens Community Board 7 voted 24-9 to recommend approval of the project, on condition that changes were made to the traffic flow at the hotel drop-off site and safety measures installed at the entrance and exit of the underground parking garage. On January 21, 2015 Queens Borough President Melinda Katz issued a recommendation of approval, on the condition that the applicant conform to CB 7’s suggested modifications.

On February 4, 2015 the City Planning Commission held a public hearing on the application. Eric Palatnik, counsel for the applicant, testified the amendment was required because the area’s existing R6/C2-2 zoning district would not permit the proposed hotel use, while the requested rezoning to C4-3 would. Mr. Palatnik stated after numerous discussions with representatives of adjacent Flushing Town Hall, modifications were made to the project design including a thirty-foot setback from the Hall’s side of the development site and offering free use of the community space in the proposed building to both the Hall and CB 7. Mr. Palatnik testified about changes made to improve traffic impact, specifically moving access points to the underground garage to Leavitt Street and away from the heavily-trafficked Northern Boulevard. Raymond Chan of Raymond Chan Architects testified on energy-saving aspects of the building design, including solar panels, tankless water heating, water-conserving bathroom fixtures, and LED lighting.

On March 4, 2015 the City Planning Commission voted to approve the map amendment. In its final report, the Commission noted there is a growing trend towards mixed-use developments at the northern edge of downtown Flushing. The Commission further wrote the proposal recognizes the potential for expansion of mixed-use facilities in a vital business center and major regional hub.
CPC: 137-61 Northern Boulevard (120403-ZMQ) (Mar. 4, 2015).

By: Michael Twomey (Michael is the CityLaw Fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2014).

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