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Queens Plaza Rezoning Proposal Leads Discussion at Land Use Hearing

23-10 Queens Plaza South (GMaps)

Jan. 16, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

The Queens Borough President’s Office conducted a public land use hearing Thursday morning, Jan. 12, to discuss multiple zoning applications for the property at 23-10 Queens Plaza South in Long Island City.

The main focus of the Queens Plaza rezoning concerns the old Eagle Electric building found there. The first proposed action is for a zoning map amendment from a M1-5/R9 manufacturing district to a M1-6/R9. The second proposal is for a zoning text amendment to establish the area as a designated Mandatory Inclusionary Housing area. The third and final application related to this area calls for a special permit to make changes to the distance between building requirements as well as street wall locations in order to facilitate a 22-story enlargement of the existing 4-story building.

It was emphasized that the site would be rezoned solely for the purpose of commercial use. There would not be any residential units proposed, nor would they be allowed.

The rezoning would span the entire block, which covers 42,143 square feet. However, the one building on the block that would be affected by the zoning change is an old Eagle Electric building, which is 104,849 square feet. The proposed enlargement of 216,600 square feet would bring the total up to 321,449 square feet. Under the proposal, the ground floor would be used for local retail as well as an Eagle Electric exhibit. The balance of the floor area would be office space. In total, this change would be expected to bring 1,500-1,600 jobs on site.

Photo courtesy of SLCE Architects

The proposed building height would be just under 390 feet. The building would feature parking stations for e-bikes and outlet stations for e-scooters. Prior to the public land use hearing, Community Board 2 unanimously voted to approve of the project. There would also be an accessory gym and basketball court available exclusively for the office tenants of the building.

SLCE Architects, which will be working on the building, noted a lot of work will need to be done on the existing portions as well as the additions. This includes repair, resealing and restoration work. The fifth floor of the building is expected to include a restaurant as well as possibly a glass-enclosed roof area.

There are multiple methods under consideration for promoting the public access to the roof. One such method is including public access signage. Another method could be working with BID and the Long Island City partnership to make the public aware of the space. Another method is working to get the word out with assistance from the community board.

“As much as these public plazas are really beneficial to the community, it is important to make it as welcoming as possible and to let people know that it is open to them,” Queens Borough Director of Planning and Development Vicky Garvey said.

When Garvey asked about the capacity for the community space meeting occupancy, a representative for SLCE Architects said they will be looking into the matter. They intend to do a layout of the seating in order to determine the number.

Another consideration being considered was expanding the use of the gym and basketball courts. The possibility of allowing for youth events to occur there during the weekends is being considered.

A representative for Long Island City Partnership President LIC BID Executive Director Laura Rothrock made a statement saying she and the organization were strongly in favor of the rezoning.

“The mission of the partnership is to advocate for economic development in LIC that benefits the neighborhood’s diverse business sectors as well as the fast-growing residential population here,” Rothrock’s representative said. “In keeping with our mission, our partnership supports the 23-10 rezoning and looks forward to how the development will reinforce and add to the neighborhood strength by delivering much-needed benefit to the community, including a designated community facility space, gainful union construction jobs, permanent office jobs and a much-anticipated rooftop outdoor public space.”

Rothrock is hopeful the borough president’s office will approve of the rezoning proposals so the area can get a new life. She believes the enhanced lighting and new space for local retailers can help enliven the streetscape.

Another rezoning application, submitted by Tire Heaven LLC at 245-06 South Conduit Ave. in Rosedale, was also discussed at the Jan. 12 hearing.

The rezoning application by Tire Heaven LLC calls for the rezoning of six lots in the area of 245-06 South Conduit Ave. from a R3-2/C1-3 zoning district into a R3-2/C2-3 zoning district. This would allow for the establishment to legally continue its operation.

Prior to being purchased by the current owner, the site was used as a commercial space. According to the owner, they have a company hired to remove the waste and recycled tires upon request. This usually occurs once or twice a week.

This story first appeared on QNS

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