Eight years after floating plans for a huge residential/retail project, and just weeks before a deadline for breaking ground, the developers of the $850 million Flushing Commons project in Queens filed for their first permit to actually begin the work.
The city Department of Buildings is currently reviewing the application filed by TDC Development International and The Rockefeller Group. The duo is seeking approval to spend $3.5 million to modify a portion of Municipal Lot 1, the 5.5-acre parking lot in the bustling neighborhood. That initial job will begin to lay the groundwork for the project's first phase, which includes construction of about 160 residential units and 350,000 square feet of retail or commercial space. It will also include a YMCA and park. Another 450 residential units and 150,000 square feet of retail or commercial space are slated for the second phase of the project, for which no starting date has been set.
Under their agreement with the city, the developers' first priority has to be rearranging the parking spaces in the downtown area to maintain the same parking capacity currently provided by lot, which will be demolished over time to make way for the new buildings. According to sources familiar with the project, the initial work under the permit will allow the developers to move some of the lots entrances and exits to clear the way to excavate for a new garage.
Under the contract signed between the developers and Economic Development Corp., which shepherded the project through the approval process, TDC and Rockefeller were required to break ground by Oct. 31.