By Bill Parry
At the LIC Partnership’s annual LIC Summit last month, one of the more interesting panel discussions was entitled “The Next Wave of Development in LIC” and it included representatives of developer Tishman Speyer, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and the shared-office-space firm WeWork. Now all three are involved in a new megaproject that will bring two 27-story towers to the Long Island City skyline, providing 1.1 million square feet of office space along Jackson Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 42nd Road.
“There is a subset of tenants who are looking for quality space but can’t afford it in Manhattan and they are looking at LIC,” Tishman Speyer’s Chris Shehadeh told the crowd at the LIC Summit.
On Monday, the NYCEDC announced the closing on the $700 million project, which will create 1,500 new construction jobs and 2,000 permanent jobs. Construction will commence in early 2017 with completion anticipated in 2019.
“This project will be a major job generator for Long Island City,” Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said. “We are focused on growing good jobs across the outer boroughs and meeting the demand for new office space. What rises on this site will not only spur our economy, but make Queens Plaza a more dynamic place to live and work.”
The two towers will be connected by a four-story base featuring a mix of retail, including restaurants, a food hall and a parking garage. WeWork has already pre-leased nearly 250,000 square feet of office space.
“WeWork is proud to be an anchor tenant of Tishman Speyer’s Long Island City development,” WeWorks Co-founder Adam Neumann said. “This will be a fantastic space for us to bring our community of creators to this thriving and dynamic neighborhood.”
Bloomingdale’s agreed to take 550,000 square feet of office space in the complex, according to published reports Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Bloomingdale’s did not respond to a request for comment
The NYCEDC said the project was the latest effort by the city to bring jobs to LIC, and to grow the community as an innovation hub anchored by the Cornell Tech campus currently rising on Roosevelt Island.
“Long Island City continues to emerge as a vibrant hub of jobs and economic activity,” NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer said. “These new towers will bring 2,000 permanent jobs to western Queens and represent a major step forward in solidifying Long Island City as a premier business district.”
Tishman Speyer purchased 1.8 million square feet of development rights from the city to build the project, according to the company, which will receive $65 million in tax breaks on the project, Real Estate Weekly said. The new construction will be across the street from Tishman Speyer’s 1,800-unit, three-tower residential complex at 28-34 Jackson Ave.
“Tishman Speyer is proud to continue our role in unlocking the area’s full potential as one of the most dynamic, live-work-play neighborhoods, not just in Queens, but in all of New York City,” Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer said.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr