From the Times Ledger:
Ground is to be broken by March on a tall glass building to be used as a medical center and residential complex in downtown Flushing, according to a designer working on the project, but several elected officials said they had not heard of it until this week.
The Eastern Mirage project is on track to be built with the help of $17 million in tax-exempt stimulus bonds on three plots at 42-31 Union St. between Franklin and Sanford avenues, a fact that is drawing the ire of area politicians and experts who say they were not notified about the plans by city officials or the project’s developer, Flushing-based mortgage broker Fleet Financial Group, Inc.
North Queens Medical Center is a proposed 80,000-square-foot commercial diagnosis and treatment facility that will occupy one portion of the site. The Eastern Mirage Tower portion is slated to have 62 market-rate apartments, 100 apartment hotel rooms, 200 underground parking spaces and nearly 20,000 square feet of community facility space for amenities such as a restaurant and pool, according to Fleet Financial documents.
Janel Patterson, a city Economic Development Corp.spokeswoman, said the residential tower will not benefit from the stimulus money.
The project is controversial in large part because the developer is awaiting $17 million of triple tax-exempt bonds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The EDC’s Capital Resource Corp. will hold a public hearing on the bond issuance Dec. 9.
“It’s a private development, private health care facility, and meanwhile Flushing Hospital and New York Hospital Queens are both struggling for their lives to stay afloat,” said Paul Graziano, a Flushing planning and zoning consultant. “So where’s the $17 million for those?”