Work on Flushing Commons, the large mixed-use development, has not only affected area businesses but the historic church next door as well.
The house of worship, located at 37-22 Union St., is on one side of the $1 billion project that is also bounded by 138th Street and 37th and 39th avenues. So while construction work — which began officially in June — continues through 2021, the 203-year-old congregation will have to put up with noise, dirt and a definite hemmed-in feeling.
Although 1,144 parking spaces remain during construction, using them is no longer free at certain times. The site previously served as a municipal parking lot and parking was free on Sunday and for some evening hours.
The remaining piece of the former municipal lot is being developed by the church. It has constructed a 14-story, 142-unit affordable housing structure located adjacent to the house of worship.
It was completed months ago, but the city is taking its time in making inspections before giving the project a certificate of occupancy.
More than 40,000 applications were received by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Prior to the start of Flushing Commons construction, Korean stores on Union Street feared a loss of business due to the work.
The city, however, has set up a $2.5 million small business assistance fund for all Flushing merchants that is being administered by Asian Americans for Equality and the city.
But Ikhwan Rim, president of the Union Street Small Business Merchants Association, said on Monday that businesses are closing down. “I’m okay, hanging on, but it’s not too good for business,” the jewelry store owner said.
He blamed the drop-off in commerce to lack of parking, the cost of what remains and additional traffic due to construction. “The developers need to work harder for us,” Rim said.