Development plan for 5.5- acre Flushing site approved


Municipal parking lot would be replaced with multi-building development offering market-rate and affordable housing and 1.5 acres of open space. On June 23, 2010, the City Planning Commission approved two separate but related proposals that would facilitate the redevelopment of a 5.5-acre, 1,101-space municipal parking lot bounded by 37th and 39th Avenues and Union and 138th Streets in downtown Flushing, Queens. The Commission approved the City Economic Development Corporation, Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, and TDC Development Corporation’s proposal to build a 1.89 million sq.ft. mixed-use project, known as Flushing Commons, on the parking lot. The Commission also approved the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s proposal to allow the Macedonia AME Church to build an affordable housing project, known separately as Macedonia Plaza, on a portion of the lot not set aside for the Flushing Commons project.

In 2004, the City’s Downtown Flushing Task Force targeted the 5.5- acre municipal lot for redevelopment. After a formal RFP process in June 2005, EDC selected Rockefeller and TDC to redevelop the lot. The proposal would include replacing the lot with a five-building complex, ranging in height from five to seventeen stories, surrounding 1.5 acres of publicly accessible open space. The project would provide 620 units of market rate housing, 405,000 sq.ft. of commercial space, a YMCA, and a 1,600-space underground garage.

Macedonia AME Church plans to construct a fourteen-story, 140- unit building adjacent to its existing church, which occupies a mid-block site along the Union Street side of the lot. The rental units would be affordable to residents earning up to 60 percent of area median income. Macedonia Plaza would provide 7,293 sq.ft. of ground floor retail space, 18,834 sq.ft. of open space, and space for a day care facility.

At the Commission’s hearing, residents and business groups spoke both in support of and in opposition to Flushing Commons. The developers’ representatives noted that the proposal would create 2,600 construction jobs and roughly 1,900 permanent jobs. Opponents expressed concerns about the cost and availability of proposed parking and about how the project would affect local businesses, noting potentially disruptive construction impacts. 7 CityLand 73 (June 15, 2010).

The Commission approved Flushing Commons by an 11-1-1 vote and unanimously approved Macedonia Plaza. The Commission, acknowledging the concerns of local business owners, pointed out that local Council Member Peter Koo and Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber had agreed to work with CB 7 to establish and implement a small business assistance plan. Responding to concerns about parking, the Commission noted that the area is accessible by mass transit, including buses and rail.

Chair Amanda Burden praised the redevelopment plan, calling it a “prime example” of the Bloomberg Administration’s commitment to creating sustainable economic opportunities throughout the City.

Explaining her opposition to Flushing Commons, Commissioner Karen Phillips said that the City should provide more alternate parking to replace the municipal lot and create a fund to assist businesses during the project’s construction. Phillips also said that Flushing Commons should provide at least a ten percent affordable housing component.

CPC: Flushing Commons; Macedonia Plaza (June 23, 2010).


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