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The Clock Tower, once a giant, now the little guy



March 30, 2015 By Michael Florio

It was once a giant—now it is about to be dwarfed.

The iconic Clock Tower, a 14-story building that was once the tallest structure in Queens, is about to be overshadowed by a 70 story tower that is expected to be built right beside it.

A rendering of the new structure was released by SLCE Architects, which is designing the building, last week. The rendering was first reported in the New York Times today.

The Clock Tower, which has looked over Queens Plaza since 1927, was the tallest building in the borough until 1990 when it was surpassed by the Citigroup building.

However, a development group has plans to top the Citigroup building with a 70-plus story tower at 27-37 41st Avenue—right next to the Clock Tower. The new tower will consist of 930 units.

The development company—which represents a partnership between Property Markets Group and the Hakim Organization—has managed to overcome zoning restriction to build the structure by buying air rights from the MTA.

The purchase of the MTA air rights was announced last week.

Additionally, the Landmarks Preservation Commission started makes steps last week toward landmarking the Clock Tower. Preservationists were concerned that the old building would face the wrecking ball.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer expects the building to be landmarked by the end of June.

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Pasty McTransplant

Wanna see where your tax dollars are getting wasted? When this tax abated monstrosity gets put up. This is where your tax dollars go. Lining the pockets of the developers and temporarily rewarding those affluent enough to move in to what will no doubt NOT be affordable housing. Jokes on them when 15 years after completion their taxes and maintenance quadruple.

Here’s a fun read for those that want to be better informed:


Must be a bunch of Mr. Potters that bought that land. And fooey on the MTA for selling the air rights. Looming giants belong in Manhattan.


The clocktower is a great building that should be preserved. But times are changing, people need a place to live and there is room in Dutch Kills and LIC. The new tower will look amazing and more business will come to an otherwise wasted area.


iconic? I grew up in queens and always thought to myself “what a waste of a building” every time i passed through to the 59th street bridge. Has that ground floor commercial space been occupied for any notable length of time in the past decade? I’m really asking.

Nick Normal

I’m really responding: The 501(c)3 non-profit organization No Longer Empty occupied the ground floor with the previous owners, from probably 2011 or 2012 until the new owners purchased the building; groups like the LIC Partnership and Holocenter held events there during that time also. That is all within the last 10 years.

Additionally, imagine if they just jacked up the Clocktower so IT was 77 stories tall:


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