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A massive, mixed-use development that will bring retail and office space as well as condominium units and open public areas to downtown Flushing broke ground today. Elected officials and community leaders joined project managers and business leaders to celebrate the first construction phase of Flushing Commons, a sprawling development on a five-acre site located near 39th Avenue, Union Street and 138th Street. The proposed $850 million project includes a 1.5-acre town square consisting of an open space with a fountain and plaza that will be large enough to support community-sponsored cultural events and performances; 1,600 parking spaces with short-term parking at below-market rates; a 62,000-square-foot state-of-the-art YMCA featuring a swimming pool, basketball courts, a running track, an exercise room and daycare; 36,000 square feet of community space; 235,000 square feet of retail space; 185,000 square feet of office space; and roughly 600 residential condominium units. Sounds like there is something here for everyone. The project is expected to be completed by 2020. More images and a rendering of the final project after the jump.

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After a very long haul, construction has finally begun at Flushing Commons. Queens Crap posted a group of photos showing construction workers out and some demolition work underway. This March, the developers announced that they took out a $300,000,000 loan to begin on the first phase of construction.

The first phase of this mega-development includes 150,000 square feet of office space, 56,000 square feet of retail, 150,000 square feet of residential condos and a 982 space parking garage. That’s scheduled to wrap in the spring of 2017. The second phase will bring mixed-use space, a YMCA, an outdoor public plaza, and more housing and parking to the neighborhood.

Flushing Commons Construction Begins [Queens Crap]
All Flushing Commons coverage [Q’Stoner]

Photo via Queens Crap

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Borough President Katz set up a Flushing Task Force to help businesses though the $850,000,000 construction project at Flushing Commons. As the Times Ledger reports, there are still lingering questions for the neighborhood as construction starts up. The city does plan to establish a $2,250,000 program called the Flushing Small Business Assistance Program to help businesses during construction, but some business owners didn’t think the city offered enough details as to how the money would be spent. And business owners still worry that the massive construction project will deter people from nearby stores and restaurants. The Task Force plans to meet regularly to tackle these issues; the next meeting is scheduled for May.

The article also offered a handy construction timeline for the Flushing Commons project. Right now the developers are working on electrical work, changes to ramps and other internal updates necessary for excavation. Construction should start in late May or early June and this first phase will last until 2017. The entire project includes housing, commercial space, parking, a public park and a YMCA.

Katz Starts Flushing Task Force [Times Ledger]
All Flushing Commons coverage [Q’Stoner]

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The Flushing Commons development gains more traction: Crain’s reports that the developers took out a $300,000,000 loan to begin the first phase of construction. According to Crain’s, “The partnership between Flushing-based TDC Development and Construction Corporation, AECOM Capital, the Rockefeller Group and Mount Kellett Capital Management is getting ready to close a roughly $225 million loan from Starwood Property Trust and a $75 million equity investment from the developers… Both deals are expected to close at the end of the month.” Construction is expected to begin this April.

The first phase includes 150,000 square feet of office condos, 56,000 square feet of retail space, 150,000 square feet of residential condos and a 982 space parking garage — the developers are required to finish construction on this portion by April 2017, under an agreement with the EDC. Construction on the second phase, which includes mixed-use space, a YMCA, an outdoor public plaza, and more housing and parking, is scheduled to begin in 2018.

Flushing Commons Developers to Close $300M Financing Brokered by HFF [Commercial Observer]
All Flushing Commons coverage [Q’Stoner]

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Here it is, the future design of the long-in-the-works Flushing Commons development. New York YIMBY snagged these renderings of the master plan — four new buildings and 1.5 acres of open space — from the project architect Perkins Eastman. The developers closed on the the 5.5-acre municipal parking lot where the complex will be constructed December 31st and construction on the first phase should start up soon. Phase One includes 150 units of housing, a 1,000-space parking lot and 220,000 square feet of commercial space. Phase Two then includes 450 residential units, more commercial space, 15,000 square feet of community space, a YMCA and a 1.5-acre public park.

After a number of setbacks there is finally a concrete ETA on this development — Phase 1 should finish by April 2017 and Phase 2 will break ground in 2018. The whole shebang should wrap in the early 2020s and cost a grand total of $850,000,000.

Check out lots more renderings after the jump!

Revealed: Flushing Commons [New York YIMBY]
All Flushing Commons Coverage [Q’Stoner]

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Over the weekend the New York Daily News tallied up all the mega developments slated for Queens. These planned high rises will dramatically change the Queens skyline over the next 20 years. Here’s the breakdown of what’s to come:

  • Rockrose Development’s plans for the tallest residential building in Queens will rise 500 feet high. 43-25 Hunter Street, dubbed “Citibank’s girlfriend,” is expected to open in 2016.
  • The Wolkoff family is bringing a pair of 41- and 48-story towers to the 5Pointz site. There will be roughly 1,000 housing units.
  • The Willets Point project (rendered above) is expected to bring buildings as tall as 20 stories. The site will someday house 2,500 housing units, although a mega mall is coming first.
  • When the Hunters Point South project wraps on the waterfront, it’ll rise as high as 41 stories. It will hold 5,000 apartments, 60 percent of which are affordable.
  • The Hallets Point project includes 2,400 apartment units across seven towers. It will rise up to 31 stories, and the project should wrap in 2022.
  • Arriving in 2015, the Astoria Cove project (located right near the Hallets Point development) includes five towers (as tall as 30 stories) and 2,400 units.
  • The long-in-the-works Flushing Commons development is now underway, it will bring 600 luxury condos, a YMCA and a retail complex to a former Flushing parking lot. ETA: 2021.

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The Flushing Commons project is finally, finally! moving to action. Crain’s reports that the developers closed December 30 on the 5.5-acre municipal parking lot where the complex will be constructed. The developers paid $20,000,000 for, as Crain’s puts it, “the last development project to be sewn up during the Bloomberg administration.” They expect to break ground this month, pushed back from initial plans to break ground last October.

The developers also have a new timeline to build: the public amenities promised in the project will come in a later phase of development and the construction timeframe has been shortened. Phase One now includes 150 units of housing, a 1,000-space parking lot and 220,000 square feet of commercial space. Phase Two includes 450 residential units, more commercial space, 15,000 square feet of community space, a YMCA and a 1.5-acre public park. Initially, the developers had until 2027 to begin second phase construction, now they have until 2018. This new timeline is because “the residential and commercial components of the project had to be front-loaded in order to secure both debt and equity financing.”

Local Flushing businesses expressed opposition to the development and how its construction will affect nearby commerce. The city promised merchants a business assistance package totaling $2,250,000, which will help fund advertising and promotional campaigns.

Big Queens Project to Break Ground [Crain’s]
Flushing Commons Developers Actually Not Breaking Ground in October [Q’Stoner]

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Just last week TDC Development International and The Rockefeller Group filed permits to finally start work on the $850 million Flushing Commons project before the city’s deadline of October 31th. Well, it turns out they won’t actually hit their deadline this month. Crain’s reports that the city pushed back the deadline until the end of the year — the developers still need to close on a $20,000,000 property, which is a city-owned parking lot. City Council approved development plans back in 2010. It’s a two phase project that includes apartments, retail space, a YMCA and a park over a 5.5-acre parcel in downtown Flushing. The developer’s first step will be to excavate at the city parking lot for a new garage.

Huge Flushing Commons Project Delayed, Again [Crain’s]
Permits Filed for $850 Million Flushing Commons Project [Q’Stoner]

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The Department of Buildings is currently reviewing plans proposed by TDC Development International and The Rockefeller Group to start on the $850 million Flushing Commons project, which is about to hit a city deadline for breaking ground. As Crain’s reports, “The duo is seeking approval to spend $3.5 million to modify a portion of Municipal Lot 1, the 5.5-acre parking lot in the bustling neighborhood.” This is only the first step of a much more ambitious plan, which includes 160 residential units, 350,000 square feet of retail or commercial space, a YMCA and a park. The second phase of the project includes 450 more residential units and 150,000 square feet of retail or commercial space. But right now, the permits will mainly allow the developers to clear the way at Municipal Lot 1 to excavate for a new garage. (Under an agreement with the city, the developers must replace the parking spaces in Municipal Lot 1, which will eventually be totally demolished.) The Economic Development Corporation first selected the developers of this project in 2005, and the City Council approved their plans in 2010. Under the contract signed between all parties, the developers have until October 31st to break ground.

Huge Flushing Project Finally Nears Start Line [Crain’s]

Rendering via NYCEDC