Falchi Building becoming ‘it’ spot

By Bill Parry

The Falchi Building in Long Island City has made great strides since signing its first major tenant in October.

Artisanal Cheese made a deal to move its headquarters into the Falchi Building with retail space on the first floor. In April Juice Press followed suit by moving its headquarter to Falchi, including a, “superstore” combining retail and production space.

“We waited patiently for the right space in the Falchi Building and refused to make a move until Juice Press could be precisely in this building,” founder Marcus Antebi said. “It has the location and infrastructure needed to do a retail store and production without interruption.”

The company is moving into its 18,000-square-foot space.

“We made a capital investment in a new facade and lobby area with seating and free Wi-Fi,” manager Paul Kelterborn said. “We’re at 65 percent occupancy now and we’re looking to create a Chelsea Market with a concourse full of retail and more office tenants upstairs.”

Jamestown Properties, owners of the popular Chelsea Market, bought the block-long warehouse, at 31-00 47th Ave., for $80 million in 2012. They gave the former Gimbels department store distribution facility a multimillion-dollar makeover and are starting to create a buzz.

“We’re drawing a young demographic here of the fringe of LIC,” Kelterborn said. “It’s an arts and techy young type that’s gravitating to us and that will grow thanks to our other major tenant, the Coalition for Queens. When the Cornell Tech campus gets to Roosevelt Island, this place is going to explode.”

The tech campus is expected to open in 2017 and Coalition for Queens, a non-profit tech support group, is busy laying the groundwork to help start-up companies create a tech hub in Long Island City from its headquarters at Falchi.

“We just moved in a couple of months ago and we’re seeing the potential with this building,” founder Jukay Hsu said. “Jamestown is creating a real community here that will help us create the hub for tech start-ups, and I’m sure some may actually want space in the building, too.”

The Coalition for Queens uses its space for classes and events like the Big Apps NYC Competition scheduled for June 21 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“It’s a hack-a-thon for developers and it’s the first time we’re hosting one in Queens,” he said.

The Falchi Building is reaching out to the arts community as well. It hosted several events during the LIC Arts Open last month and opened the venue to Local Project, a youthful artist-collective that lost its space at 5Pointz in January.

“We just finished a project at Falchi that lasted for two months,” said Director Carolina Pinafiel. “It was great because we were busy moving into our new property and couldn’t host shows. They let us do it there and it helped them get started making the connections with other artists.”

Another popular feature at Falchi is the 2,000-square-foot Food Box, where five vendors open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays.

“All the cooking is done off-site, they bring it in and serve it up,” Kelterborn said. “It’s hugely popular, especially with the crowd from LaGuardia Community College across the street.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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