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Plans Filed for 8-Story Development on Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside Center Cinemas to be Bulldozed

Plans have been filed for an 8-story development at 43-42 43rd St where Sunnyside Center Cinemas was located (GMaps)

Nov. 29, 2021 By Christian Murray

The building that housed Sunnyside Center Cinemas on Queens Boulevard will soon be bulldozed to make way for an eight-story, 99 unit apartment complex.

Plans were filed earlier this month for an apartment building at 43-42 43rd St. that will contain 99 units, ground floor retail space and 138 below-ground parking spaces.

The site is located on the northwest corner of Queens Boulevard and 43rd Street and at one time housed a Dime Bank branch, Sunnyside Center Cinemas, P.J. Horgan’s and a dental office.

The proposed building will be 79-feet-tall and will yield 73,762 square feet, with 67,098 square feet designated for residential space and 6,664 square feet for commercial space.

John Ciafone, the owner, told the Queens Post that the plan includes approximately 25 affordable housing units. He will be receiving a 421a tax abatement—which will lower his property tax bill—in return for providing the affordable units.

The property does not need to be rezoned in order for the development to take place. However, Ciafone said that he is waiting for the Dept. of Buildings to approve the plans.

He said that upon approval, he would aim to start demolishing the building within 3 months. He said that it would likely take two years to develop the project.

Sunnyside Center Cinemas closed in 2015 (Photo: Queens Post)

Ciafone, who bought the property at the end of 2012, has been subject to fierce criticism over the years.

Shortly after acquiring the building he made clear that he would not be renewing the leases of the existing tenants—which led to the closure of long-time businesses such as Sunnyside Center Cinemas and P.J. Horgan’s.

All the tenants had left by 2015 and the building has been vacant since.

“Putting up a building is not easy in New York City,” Ciafone said. “It’s a very bureaucratic process. It’s not like putting up Lego.”

Ciafone said that many people will embrace his plan, noting that there is a need for affordable housing. He said that he also aims to provide parking for area residents, saying that he has heard that there is a lack of parking in the neighborhood.

The entrance to the below-ground garage, he said, will be on 43rd Street.

“The building will be an asset to the community,” Ciafone said. “We will be providing affordable units and additional parking.”

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