Monday, March 8, 2010

Flushing Commons: Meeting of CB7 - Take 2


The CB7 committee on TDC/ Rockefeller Group’s proposed development met again on Thursday, March 4th. These meetings are open to the public, but only committee members may speak. The focus for the session was Flushing Common’s basic design, and the construction logistics.

But the hot issue of the night was parking and fees. During construction the alternative spots are too few and too far away for shoppers. Local merchants will be screwed. After, there will be only 1,600 spaces for Common tenants, Macedonia AME tenants, Common retail & commercial employees, and all other Flushing visitors. The original RFP stipulated that parking fees would be capped in perpetuity, with only COLA increases. Now it’s just a 5 year cap, and then “under market rates.” The developer is deciding the number of spaces and the rates. Some committee members seemed ticked off.

Privately, people also pointed out that the property was originally obtained thru eminent domain for a public good; now it will be sold off to a politically favored developer for private use and profit, and none of the monies received will go to Flushing. Is Bloomberg once again abusing eminent domain, this time in a whole new way?

Your reporter was told that for 2 years the info flow from TDC/ Rockefeller to CB7 has been a frustrating trickle. Members were miffed. The word of the night was “transparency.”

TDC/Rockefeller’s dog-&-pony-show continued as Michael Meyer gave a slide show of pretty views of the development, as well as elevations and through-sections that clearly demonstrated the massive scale and density of the project. On the 2 block space currently occupied by the municipal parking lot there will be 5 buildings with 273,000 square feet.

But-- there will be one whole acre of green space, and another half acre of “open space” (in other words, pathways and alleys). Oh, and the buildings will be called Ash (16 stories ), Beech (17 stories), Cherry (17 stories), Dogwood (14 stories), and Elm (5 stories). Very green.

Building exteriors are extremely banal 1960’s without being retro.

The Flushing YMCA will move into Cherry. What WILL NOT be found at the Commons is the multi-plex movie theatre called for in the RFP. Meyer said that after accommodating all the needs of the YMCA, they couldn’t also accommodate those of national theatre chains. Apparently, small, local chains that might not demand stadium seating or 12 screens, were not contacted.

No book store, either. They said they have been in discussions with Barnes & Noble, but B&N doesn’t like the space options. No other book stores were mentioned as being approached.

Don’t forget that Macedonia AME Church will be building a 14 story affordable housing unit at the corner of Union Street and 37th Avenue.

It is expected that 37th Avenue will get (1) angled parking for forty 109th Precinct cars, and (2) truck access to the Commons. Plus-- during the building period, that is where the crane for the church’s project might sit (amidst the 109th cars?). The Macedonia project’s building schedule will overlap the Commons. Stay tuned for further details.

TDC/Rock said actual construction process will take only 36 months, with no blasting and no closed street. They claim to have a noise mitigation plan, and clean, green equipment, fuel and construction processes. The entire below-grade structure will be built at once, and-- wait for it!-- we’ll get artwork on the construction fences.

CB7 members had plenty of questions and pointed remarks:
1- what about the impact of this project on water usage and sewers?
2- what about the impact of this project, plus the Muss project, on schools already bursting? Between them 2,000 more students are expected;
3- other than not providing enough parking for all residents, what is so transit-friendly about the design? (They will be providing 600 bike “parking” spots throught the Common, but not investing in the Main Street station);
4- have there been discussions with the precinct/ Police Dept., which will lose much more than 40 spaces, and have they been at the policy-making level?
5- if the requirements of the YMCA precluded the much-desired movie theatre, then what is the Y giving to the community as redress?
6- what happens to the current Y property (which was purchased way back when through public subscription)? Will it be sold off? Can it become part of Flushing High (or a successor?) Or house a separate school? There must be some benefit to Flushing out of it.
7- will there be monitoring of the church to ensure no structural harm comes to it from Common’s construction?
8- since public property is being privatized, and Flushing will experience the impact, why is not one penny of the purchase monies going to Flushing? The CNY general budget gets it all.
9- so where are the workers going to park?
10- why was it decided to go for a higher density AND less parking? Why did the City change the zoning?
11- what if the developer or the bank defaulted? Could NYC get the property back?

And note this: the public hearing, the one where the public CAN speak, is scheduled for March 22 (at the Union Nursing Home). It is the ONLY opportunity the public will have to discuss the proposed development and loss of public property. The only one.


Anonymous said...

Look out Tower Poeple in LIC. You will NOT be able to get on the 7 train.

Anonymous said...

Flushing, New York



Anonymous said...

"Flushing, New York




Anonymous said...

What happens if they discover bones under the property from a former cemetery? It could happen. Will the project then have a ghost of a chance of being successful?

historian said...

According to the environmental impact study's statement...and confirmed by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission...THERE ARE "HUMAN REMAINS"...most likely from the Macedonia African Methodist Episcopal Church's old churchyard most of which was probably paved over in the 1950s!

Shades of "Poltergeist"...

Are you following this you international investors?

Once this gets around to China & Taiwan...AND IT'S BOUND TO...fright makes money take flight!

Anonymous said...

Then those "Tower People" will take the other transit lines from LIC.

It won't really impact them much but it will definitely screw Flushingites...especially those living in the "Towers" condos located on 37th Avenue right across the street!

Anonymous said...

Will you look at that smarmy unctuous little Terrence Park...the perennial candidate...standing alone like a statue of Napoleon!

(Although he forgot to thrust his hand inside his sport jacket a la Bonaparte).

Park was constantly interrupting the meeting...I guess to focus attention upon himself.

What an ego!

Flushing Friend said...

It's not like there is an abundance of condos in the Flushing area. Oh wait. That ship has sailed. Looks to me like Granny Shulman is looking for a second income stream. Maybe she knows that the Wallets Point project is facing imminent doom (not eminent domain).

Jerry Rotondi said...

Although logistics require CB7 to conduct several committee meetings undisturbed by public participation to be able to get all the details of the project on the table for examination, I'm deeply disturbed that there will be only one meeting where the public is allowed to speak.

This runs contrary to a fully transparent democratic process.

I sincerely hope they decide to expand the public's participation to include at least two meetings.

This is a major transit hub project and should not be rushed into until all the dust has cleared.

A mistake made now cannot be easily erased and Flushing residents, businesses, etc. will have to live with that error for a very long time.

Anonymous said...

So we drop the "L" and gain an "R" and Flushing now becomes Oriental colony.

A TDC/Rock Group finger in the

Those Rockefellers sure smell all that overseas Chinese money and want in on it!

What's that pimp Wellington Chen's share of the take?

Granny Shulman skims her's off the doubt.

Maybe the "little duke" of Wellington gets the bottom sediment.

The Flushing Phantom said...

It's all going according to Wellington Chen's and Granny Shulman's (Manes' before her) plan.

Word has it that Bitterman is very tight with Chen. This "apostle" can do no wrong in her eyes.

Is there any truth to the buzz that Chen bestowing perks and favors all around the town to grease this boondoggle through?

Anonymous said...

Look at that vibrant and diverse crowd.

ConcernedQNZ said...

There goes the neighborhood....


Lets get all the news network's "help me howard" types involved.. draw some attention to this

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, the public will turn out for the sole public hearings. Torches and pitchforks should send the message.

The Flushing phantom said...

Yeah...and don't forget to bring the tar and feathers for CB#7.

And the clippers to shave that quisling Chuck Apelian's rug!

They'll sell out the town to Wellington Chen and the Rockefellers
(TDC/Rock Group).

They won't nix this project because the original lease they signed for their headquarters was with Wellington's group TDC.

Chen's boys are their landlord!

Anonymous said...

(LOL) No matter how Community Barf #7 votes on this project it's purely advisory and a done deal.

A Chinese colony is in the works which will ultimately span the area from downtown Flushing thru Corona.'s close to the airport for conducting "international" business (whatever kind that might or illegal)!

They would have preferred being in Jamaica which is closer to Kennedy Airport but there is too large a "Black" population there and it's very well know that Asians are notorious bigots when it comes to those uppity "darkies"!

Anonymous said...

What's Myra Baird Hearse's role in all of Flushing's pall bearers?

That old bitch's red (dye#3) hair could stop a truck and her overtightened face a clock's!

Anonymous said...

Aren't one of CB#7's "meetings" scheduled during a Jewish holiday?


At least we won't have to look at Linda Spielman's sour

We guess that Marilyn Bitterman will be attending since she is the DM despite the holidays.

If so what a shanda...tsk, tsk, tsk!

Anonymous said...


recent resident selling his condo said...

At least they've got the name right, "Flushing Commons" and how very common it looks indeed!

I love the part where TDC/Rock's Group Michael Meyer keeps on comparing it to Rockefeller Center.

Get some new contact lenses Mike!

You or your "architect" must be joking. This is strictly bottom line design with a few bells a whistles added to inject some "klass".

It's dedicated to squeezing in the most that can be shoehorned into the least space available.

And, in case you forgot, Rock Center is located in Manhattan's glamorous tourist nexus while Flushing is still a low class dump at the terminus of the #7 line that won't be uplifted by any project!

Oops...I forgot...this is supposed to be a "destination of choice"...ha, ha, ha!

Not for civilized folks who require air to breathe and uncrowded sidewalks. to traverse the town.

Better go back to the drawing board you Wellington's lads.

Bette Davis said...


family man said...

A movie theater?

Those college Point cinemas ain't doing so well.

With the proliferation of big home screen TVs...theaters are about to become history.

Anyway, I ain't payin' $14 bucks for a movie I can get from "Netflix" for peanuts.

The last time I took my family to that College Point theater you just mentioned it ran me $85 with refreshments!

Lucky my car wasn't stolen or we were hijacked.

That parking lot there is notorious for robberies etc.

Anonymous said...

My bad and my apologies to everyone...wrong calander.


(Not that I'm a great fan of this CB but fair is fair and I stand by my word).

Anonymous said...

My bad and my full apologies to all...wrong calender in front of me.


(Not that I'm a great fan of this CB but fair is fair and I stand by my word)

ghost said...

Just look at "F&T Group's" web site...the parent company of TDC Development, Top 8 Construction and Fultonex Management, etc.

Sonny Chiu, the vice president of TDC Development who is bringing the Flushing Commons fiasco in conjunction with the Rockefeller Group began working at the "Great Eastern Bank" in 1986.

Does the name of that bank sound familiar?

It should, because that was the institution where Joseph Liu (Comptroller John Liu's father) was convicted on federal bank fraud charges!

It is also purported that this bank is connected to Tommy Huang's family.

Incidentally, it was that same year that Chiu began working at the bank that Huang bought the RKO Keith's Flushing theater and Manes commits suicide...or did he?

Funny how Manes' name does not appear on the social Security death index!

Could our boy be in the witness protection program?
H-m-m-m...stranger things than that have happened before.

There are too many coincidences to be just coincidences we think!

Anonymous said...

Municipal Lot #1 needs to be developed, as it is clearly underutilized. Personally, I would have rather liked to see an underground lot, with a park above it similar to certain parking facilities in Boston or San Fransisco.

However, the developers refusal to honor the originally promised number of parking spaces and refusal to cap parking rates is just too much.

We are giving up over 5 acres of land to get what in return? More condos and commercial space.

The YMCA space is not free, it will be purchased by the Y.

The open spaces were spaces most likely required by zoning anyway.

So what are we getting back for giving up the lot? A short term infusion of cash to the City (which does not have to be reinvested in Flushing), 500 more parking spaces, but 600 more residents and 2,000 more employees, not including store customers, hotel guests and YMCA members???