Commons developers to pay $20M for lot

Commons developers to pay $20M for lot
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Joe Anuta

The developers constructing Flushing Commons will pay $20 million for Municipal Lot 1 and must finish constructing the public park space by March 2018, a contract with the city shows.

Rockefeller Group Development Corp. and TDC Development, part of a firm called F&T Group, inked a contract with the city Economic Development Corp. Jan. 18, which laid out the purchase price and construction schedule for the $850 million project in the footprint of Municipal Lot 1.

The lot currently is home to more than 1,000 parking spaces and lies between 37th and 39th avenues along Unions Street.

The mixed-use project was initially approved in 2010, but ran into financing trouble and a shovel never made it into the ground.

Earlier this spring, the city announced it was splitting it into two phases. The first phase includes a parking garage, 160 residential units and about 350,000 square feet of retail. It also has provisions for a 1.5-acre park space and a new YMCA facility.

The second phase, which TDC has pledged to build but is not contractually required, will include 450 residential units and about 150,000 square feet of commercial space, along with space for a community facility.

TDC will shell out $20 million for the 211,000-square-foot parking lot this summer, according to the contract, which was obtained by TimesLedger Newspapers through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The contract also stipulates when each of the individual buildings should be completed.

First, TDC is required to begin excavation on the project on or before Oct. 31, under the terms of the contract.

Then, the developer is contractually required to have the first parking garage completed by the end of 2015 and then a 13-story office or hotel on the corner of 39th Avenue and Union Street ready for occupancy by July 31, 2016.

Five months later, the developers are required to have a 17-story, mixed-use building along 39th Avenue completed to the point where it can be given a document called a temporary certificate of occupancy, which dictates what the building can be used for and its maximum capacity. The structure will feature three stories of retail and a residential tower above, the contract states.

Lastly, a five-to-six-story office building on the southwest corner of the property should be essentially complete by Sept. 30, 2017. These structures, along with the 1.5-acre open space, are the minimum amount TDC is required to build and roughly constitutes Phase 1.

However, TDC also has nine years from the end of Phase 1, or until March 2027, to begin building the second phase, which includes two 17-story structures, according to EDC. If the developers miss the deadline, the property reverts back to the city, according to the city.

According to EDC, the Flushing developers plan to build both phases of the project once they close on the property.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.