Jun. 15, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
After several years of rumors, the redevelopment of the Whitestone Lanes bowling alley into mixed-affordability housing appears to be closed after filings were submitted to the Department of City Planning. One of the last remaining bowling alleys in Queens, Whitestone Lanes has been a staple for the Whitestone and Flushing community since the 1960s, going through three generations of family ownership.
According to the rezoning application, the longtime family business’ current owner, Marco Macaluso, is seeking to have it redeveloped into a nine-floor residential building. Under the proposal, there would be a total of 415 dwelling units. The application also states that 113 of these units would be Mandatory Inclusionary Housing units. There would also be 200 basement parking spaces.
Additionally, the proposed project would comprise around 14,000 square feet of public open space that would contain trees, a community garden and ping-pong tables.
The Environmental Assessment Statement noted that the proposed new development would be more expensive to rent. According to projections, tenants of the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing units would need to be earning 120% of the median local income, or $58,515 a year as opposed to the $48,619 common for the surrounding area. Tenants of the market rate units would need to earn 452% of the median local income, or $220,162 rather than $48,619. Between the cost of Mandatory Inclusionary Housing units and regular units, the average annual income of each household occupying the building would be $179,750.
With the filings submitted, the next step in the process will be a formal months-long land use review process. If there aren’t any issues found throughout this process, then construction for the new property would likely be approved in this area, which is largely zoned for light industrial uses as well as auto body shops. Assuming Macaluso’s application is approved, the documents note that construction could begin as early as the final quarter of 2023 and be completed in 2026. The application review process is expected to occur later this summer.
If the residential rezoning of the bowling alley is not approved, it would still be razed to create space for four one-story retail buildings.
“The bowling alley has reached the end of its useful lifespan,” the application read.
In addition to providing 48 lanes for bowling, the bowling alley also houses a mini-arcade, bar and pro shop. The pro shop sells equipment and also provides ball repairs. Before the COVID-19 pandemic led to a scaling back of hours of operation, the bowling alley would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Macaluso’s family was inspired to open their own bowling alley due to the deep love they had for the sport. For around 50 years, Whitestone Lanes, located at 3005 Whitestone Expwy., has been a go-to location for bowling enthusiasts or people just looking for a fun time.
When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Community Board 7 said they cannot provide any thoughts on the matter until they decide upon whether or not to certify the application.
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Sandra Ung, who represents that district, declined to offer comment until Community Board 7 is done reviewing the application.