June 29th, 2022

Developer of Queens' Tallest Building to Build Huge Mixed-Use Project in Flushing

Developer of Queen's Tallest Building to Build in Flushing

The developer behind the tallest building in Queens is about to shake things up in the borough again. Chris Jiashu Xu, the founder of United Construction and Development Group, recently acquired a vacant property at 131-01 39th Avenue for $103 million – slightly less than another developer paid for it just a few years ago. Xu and his team are proposing a sprawling mixed-use development for the site. The property, situated at the intersection of College Point Boulevard and 39th Avenue, will include residential, commercial, and community space.

The site formerly housed Assi Plaza, a Korean supermarket, but it has stood vacant for some time. To acquire the property, United Construction took out a $68 million loan from the Bank of China. Since no demolition permits need to be pulled, developers hope to start work sometime this year. However, a specific timeline for the development of the new project has not been released.

Xu and his firm purchased the Flushing property from the Young Nian Group. Young Nian purchased the site in 2017 from Andy Zhu's Triple Star Realty for $115 million. Two years after acquiring the property, the firm filed permits to build a 19-story, 664,000-square-foot mixed-use building with two residential towers, a hotel tower and retail and community space. However, many Chinese developers have been trying to unload US real estate holdings lately due to new leverage requirements in China. This development appears to be the reason for the property to be sold so quickly – and for a bit less than it was acquired for three years ago.

The new proposal also calls for a sprawling mixed-use development on the site, located along Flushing creek in the Flushing West Rezoning area. It will include a 245-foot-tall residential tower with 368 residences and 340,000 square feet of space. The units will more than likely be condos, but it's possible they will be apartments. According to the specs, these units will average around 920 square feet in size. The property will also include 314,000 square feet of commercial space, including retail and dining, and 11,000 square feet of community space. The site will also include 331 enclosed parking spaces.

Chris Xu and United Construction and Development, based out of Queens, are best known for developing the tallest building in that borough. The 67-story Skyline condo tower, located in the Court Square district of Long Island City, features luxury condos. The property is shooting for a $1.1 billion sellout, and it looks like it will achieve its goal.

The proposed Flushing mixed-use development is across Roosevelt Avenue from a 3.7-acre development site that Xu and his team purchased for $100 million in 2016. Thus far, specific plans for the site have not been released. However, it appears that United Construction is scooping up as much developable land in Queens as possible.

Several other major development plans are currently in the works across the Flushing area, suggesting that the neighborhood is about to explode. For example, Richard Xia's Fleet Financial Group is developing a 25-story luxury hotel and condo building in Corona, Queens. Meanwhile, Jade Century Properties is working on two 20-story buildings one block south of the 39th Avenue site. Those buildings are expected to house nearly 400 luxury condos.

Development plans for the site at 39th Avenue in Flushing still call for a hotel too. The property will have two residential towers – the north and south towers. Another tower, the east tower, will house the hotel along with a restaurant and pool.

Based on the average size of the units in the proposed mixed-use development's residential tower, they will most likely be developed as condos. However, the developer has not released clear information about the units or their layouts. Pei Architects is the team in charge of designing the new development, and planning is still in the very early stages.

Along with Long Island City, Flushing is rapidly becoming the site of a lot of development activity in the borough. With demand for housing at record highs across NYC, adding nearly 400 units to the Flushing area should help ease things a bit. However, these will likely be luxury condos – not affordable homes anyone can buy.

The new towers at 131-01 39th Avenue will be tall, but they won't be the tallest buildings in Queens. Xu and his firm are behind the development of the tallest building in the borough, the Skyline Tower, which stands 765 feet tall.

For many years, One Court Square, previously the Citigroup Building, was the tallest building in Queens. Built in 1990, it stands 673 feet tall. Since then, Skyline Tower has overtaken it. Sven, another new residential tower in Long Island City near the Clock Tower at Queens Plaza, is the second-tallest building in the borough at 755 feet.

Currently, a new building is underway that will steal the title of the tallest building in Queens from Xu's Skyline Tower. In May 2022, developers filed plans for a 69-story, 818-unit development on Jackson Avenue. Located at 42-02 Orchard Street near Queens Plaza in LIC, the proposed building will stand 794 feet tall, easily overshadowing Skyline Tower and others in the area. The site is expected to include 635,000 square feet of residential space, 11,700 square feet of commercial space and a two-story parking garage. It will stretch over an entire rectangular city block.

As for the new mixed-use development proposed in downtown Flushing, it won't come close to being the tallest in the borough. However, it will be another luxury property sure to heighten the allure of this part of Queens. With property values and rent prices soaring and vacancy rates plummeting across NYC, every new bit of housing helps. However, with construction costs nearing all-time highs, new construction is unlikely to keep pace with demand any time soon. Stay tuned to BCP Real Estate Group for ongoing updates about new commercial real estate projects in Flushing, across Queens and throughout the greater NYC area.