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View of Tishman's Queens Plaza towers as of last weekend; CityRealty View of Tishman's Queens Plaza towers as of last weekend; CityRealty
In Long Island City’s Queens Plaza section, an ambitious master plan by Tishman Speyer Properties and H&R Real Estate Investment Trust is finally coming together. The first phase of the project was conceived during the waning days of the Giuliani Administration, where a partnership between the Louis Dreyfus Property Group and the Arete Group was chosen to develop a 4.2-million-square-foot commercial endeavor called 'Midtown East Queens'. A trifecta of crystalline-shaped towers designed by Fox & Fowle Architects was planned to straddle a large lot at the southwest corner of Jackson Avenue and Queens Plaza South —replacing the Queens Plaza flea market and a 1,150-square-foot space Queens Plaza Municipal Garage. After September 11, the partnership between Arete and Louis Dreyfus unraveled and the $1.4 billion scheme was shelved.
Midtown East Queens Midtown East Queens initial concept by Fox & Fowle Architects
In 2004, the New York City Economic Development Corporation signed a deal with the legendary development firm, Tishman Speyer, to retain a 99-year lease on the city-owned property. Under the agreement, Tishman would have to build on the site by no later than 2015. Then, in 2008, the city’s Department of Health signed a deal to anchor Tishman’s first office building, known as 2 Gotham Center, for $316 million. The office building features a gracefully curving curtain wall, designed by MdeAS, opened in 2011, rises to 21-stories and totals 670,000 square feet in size.
Tishman Speyer Properties Tishman Speyer / H&R's early concept for a mostly commercial plan for both parcels; Tishman Speyer Properties
Tishman Speyer Properties GOtham Center; Tishman Speyer Properties
In 2014, Tishman entered a partnership with Toronto-based H&R Real Estate Investment Trust to develop three rental towers on the large site across from Gotham Center. The buildings would contain roughly 3,000 square feet of retail space, as well as 1,789 rental units oriented to take full advantage of Manhattan's skyline views. According to Crain’s New York, the triple-tower development will cost $875 million to build —cost of land included.
Building permits filed that same year revealed that the tower at 28-34 Jackson Avenue would rise 53 stories/ 590 feet, and hold 658 apartments; 28-10 Jackson Avenue would rise 44 stories/ 504 feet and host 683 rental units and 3,000 square feet of retail; and 30-02 Queens Boulevard would rise 33 stories/ 374 feet with 448 apartments and 6,500 square feet of retail at its base. Amenities are to include laundry rooms, bike parking, children's playrooms and rooftop terraces.
Tishman Speyer Properties Rendering showing new residential towers (left) and pair of office towers at 1 and 3 Gotham Center (right), 2 Gotham Center (far right); Tishman Speyer Properties
NYC DOB Trio of residential towers rising on the eastern parcel; NYC DOB
NYC DOB Site Plan of residential towers; NYC DOB
Hill West are handling the design of the slab-shaped buildings and will sheathe them in reflective blue glass. Some elevations will feature randomly placed darker panes, giving the facades a pixelated appearance, and a private park, positioned in the center of the three buildings, will sprawl over 2.5 acres.
Construction began in earnest in 2015 so the mega-development could qualify for a $200 million 421a tax abatement without having to build any low-cost units, however, the abatement expired later that summer. Despite this, the first building, 28-10 Jackson Avenue, has finally reached its 504-foot pinnacle and on the municipal garage property, across Jackson Avenue, Tishman is beginning construction on 1 and 3 Gotham Center. The pair of commercial towers will rise to 30- and 29-stories apiece and hold more than one million square feet of office space. Since construction failed to begin by 2011, the developers have been paying an annual $1 million penalty to the city, according to The New York Times.
Viewed from Queens Plaza
CityRealty From Jackson Avenue; CityRealty
CityRealty Viewed from 42nd Road;CityRealty
28-10 Jackson Avenue has reached its full 504-foot height; CityRealty
CityRealty From Queens Plaza South; CityRealty
Long Island City has experienced a commercial awakening and is often seen as the antidote to Manhattan tenants resorting to cheaper New Jersey digs. The two office buildings will be directly adjacent to 2 Gotham Center and also designed by MdeAS Architects. WeWork has already inked a 258,000-square-foot deal in the northern building, and Macy’s Inc. signed a 550,000-square-foot deal in the other. The residential complex is anticipated to finish by 2018, while the commercial towers are expected to wrap up by 2019.
Tishman Speyer Properties Renderings of the residential rentals; Tishman Speyer Properties
TIshman Speyer Properties-2 Future view looking south down Jackson Avenue; TIshman Speyer Properties

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