Two three-story buildings in the heart of Queens Plaza North are expected to be put on the market this week with an asking price of $18.1 million.
The two brick buildings—located at 41-21 and 41-23 29th Street– are tucked between two sites that are being developed into glitzy hotels. A Hilton Garden Inn is being constructed at 29-21 Queens Plaza North, while a Marriott Hotel is going up at 29-07 Queens Plaza North.
The two modest brick buildings are owned by Indian immigrant Lachman Rattu, who bought them in the late 1990s, after owning a deli in the Queens Plaza area for years. He got his start in the United States working as a delivery boy for a Greek restaurant in Queens Plaza in 1984.
Rattu had been running an employment agency called LIC Staffing Services outof one of the buildings–and an Indian restaurant, called Rocky’s Food, out of the other. He closed both businesses last year.
But Rattu has been the big beneficiary of the upswing in Long Island City neighborhood—as well as the massive zoning changes.
When he bought the two buildings for less than $1 million (with a combined site area of 2,727), the zoning on the sites permitted a floor area ratio of 5.0.
However, the area continued to get up-zoned and became part of the Long Island City special district, according to Tom Winter, of Tom Winter Architect, who is working on behalf of Rattu. “The FAR is now 12, and he is able to build a zoning floor area of 32,724 sqf—up from 13,635 sqf. [when he bought it].”
“We believe the property is best suited for a hotel developer,” said Steven Christmann, a real estate broker with Sotheby’s International, who is selling the property. ”We are in an area where there are several international hotels and next to the Hilton and Marriott developments,” he said.
Christmann said that the area has fast become a hotel district. “There are several subway lines here and it is a quick cab ride across the Queensboro Bridge to the city,” he said.
The new Hilton Garden Inn at 29-21 Queens Plaza North is now rising. That building will eventually stand 16 floors, and hold 163 hotel rooms. Meanwhile, next to Rattu’s site, a new 31-story Marriott at 29-07 Queens Plaza North is under construction.
Winter said a developer could build a 17 or 18 story 80- room hotel on Rattu’s property. He based this on his own designs and zoning research he conducted on behalf of Rattu.
“While someone might want to buy the property for rentals or condos, we think it is best suited for an international hotel,” Christmann said.