March 27, 2015 By Michael Florio
When a developer put forward the ambitious proposal to build a 70 story apartment tower in Queens Plaza earlier this month, many pundits said it could not be done—since the site was zoned for just 38 stories.
However, those doubts quickly subsided Wednesday when the MTA entered into an air rights deal with the developer that would allow the company to build a 77 story tower—which would be the tallest building in Queens.
The MTA board agreed to sell the development rights on its Northern Blvd/40th Road property for $56 million to Queens Plaza Park Development LLC, a real estate partnership, which is looking to build the 70-plus story tower.
The proposed tower would be located at 29-37 41st Avenue in the heart of Queens Plaza.
Queens Plaza Park Development, which represents the interests of Property Markets Group and The Hakim Organization, filed an application with the Department of Buildings on March 11 to construct a 70-story building featuring 930 units.
With the MTA rights, the company is able to build an additional 490 apartments.
The deal is expected to close within the next two months.
The MTA did not require the developer to include any affordable housing, according to a MTA spokesman.
However, following this agreement, the MTA Board said that it was looking into developing a policy that would determine whether the MTA should require developers benefiting from such a transfer to include a percentage of affordable units in future transactions.
An MTA spokesperson said that the policy might go into effect even if it means a reduction in the price paid for those rights.
The $56 million will go toward the 2010-2014 Capital Program, which is used to fund the MTA network.
The proposed development will be located next to the iconic LIC Clock Tower, which Property Markets Group also owns.
The Clock Tower is most likely going to be landmarked by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
PMG and The Hakim Organization did not respond to calls for comment.
It beats the hell outta housing projects
The entire concept of “air rights” seems absurd and simply a scam so developers can do whatever the hell they want.
Actually, quite the opposite. Air rights prevent a neighborhood from becoming a forest of ultra high buildings. Going above the maximum height for one building by buying air rights assures that the neighboring buildings will be built to heights below the neighborhood maximum, balancing the over average height. Air rights ensure that the net height of buildings in an area is managed to be consistent with the overall city plan.
I guess all the original residents have been bought off or beaten down. No one in LIC cares?