Feb. 13, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez (Updated 3/07)
Long Island City could soon be home to yet another large tower, with a 45-story development planned in the heart of Court Square.
The proposed tower would rise at the southeast corner of 23rd Street and 45th Avenue, immediately adjacent to the elevated 7 line tracks and on the same block as the Court Square station entrance. The building would also rival the 50-story One Court Square across the street.
The tower, being developed by Tavros Capital Partners, would span around 308,500 square feet, and includes 200 condominium units. About one-fifth of the building would be made up of office space, with some space allotted for retail use.
The development, with a height of 524 feet, also has an L-shaped footprint that covers seven low-rise multi-family buildings currently on site. The addresses of the buildings, which will be torn down to make way for the project, extend from 23-10 to 23-16 45th Ave., and 45-03 to 45-09 23rd St.
Each of the buildings was purchased by the developer between 2016 and 2017 for prices ranging from $3.75 million to $6.8 million, according to property records. It is unclear if the buildings are now vacant.
The triangular lot where the project is proposed, additionally, features a mix of multifamily buildings, a small commercial building, and a large empty lot at the corner of 23rd Street and Jackson Avenue that was last under development for a 50-story hotel.
The proposed project, however, does not cover the corner two-story building currently at 45-01 23rd St. The developer noted in city filings for the building that attempts to purchase the property and its development rights from the owner were unsuccessful. The “viability of development” for the lot, according to the developer, would not be affected by the project on the table.
The project has been in the works for several years, and requires public review due to changes in the buildout parameters, like bulk and setback, as requested by the developer.
Despite the tower’s proposed size, Tavros Capital Partners is actually seeking to make changes to current zoning that ultimately allow for a significantly shorter building. The developer can already build an as-of-right project on site reaching a height of 70 stories, but is opting to build a 45-story development instead that features “a more flexible design and a more efficient floor plate size,” according to city documents.
Coralie Ayers, from the Department of City Planning, said at last week’s Community Board 2 meeting that without the requested changes, the tower would be “excessively large.” She further expanded on the application’s reasoning in a January board meeting.
“It’s quite a constrained lot, and it would have necessitated quite a tall building,” she said, adding that the changes move away from having a “skinny, extremely tall building” on site.
The project recently entered the first phase of its review in Feb. 11, where it was presented before the City Planning Commission, and referred simultaneously to Community Board 2 and the Queens Borough President for a 45-day period to comment.
The developer, in a separate application yet to be submitted, also plans on providing subway improvements to the adjacent Court Square station in exchange for more floor area on the building site. Negotiations are currently underway with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on what the improvements may entail, and possibly include building out a new street to platform elevator for part of the station.
The developer plans on beginning construction in 2020, and completing the project by 2022.
Update 3/07: A prior version of this article said the development would have 250 units, based on plans presented at the time. The developer has since altered plans, now eyeing 200 condominium units on site. The article has been updated to reflect the changes.