Forest Hills community leaders and developers broke ground on a new 166-unit mixed-use development at 69-65 Yellowstone Blvd. in Forest Hills on Wednesday, April 7, that will bring affordable housing, jobs and economic activity to support Queens and the surrounding community.
The new development, a project of Slate Property Group and Grobman-Gross Properties, will feature 50 affordable apartments and 186 parking spaces that will span 210,000 square feet, while the cellar and ground floor will include 50,000 square feet of retail space. The building will be constructed at the former site of the Key Food supermarket and is slated for completion in 2023.
The partnership between Grobman-Gross and Slate Properties was brokered by Patrick Mazza and Dan Panitz of WRC Brokerage Inc.
“We are excited to break ground on this exciting new project today and celebrate the creation of 166 new apartments and retail space in Forest Hills,” said David Schwartz, co-founder and principal of Slate Property Group. “Slate Property Group is committed to supporting our city’s recovery and tackling the housing shortage. Through mixed-use projects such as this, we are able to create new jobs, bring resources to the community and keep New York moving forward.”
Aufgang Architects was chosen to design the building, which is composed of brick and a large green vertical wall. The site will also feature a large, landscaped common outdoor recreation space on the third floor, and rooftop and multiple terraces on each floor for personal outdoor space to tenants.
According to Ari Aufgang and Schwartz, the challenge was to design a structure that both complemented the neighborhood and nearby historic structures, but at the same time, add a new take on what a mid-rise building on a major commercial corridor could look like.
Some of the features that tenants of the building will eventually enjoy are a living garden that will provide relief and an ecological aesthetic to a typically blank exterior face of a staircase and elevator core, a perforated brick pattern that provides an architectural strategy for a second floor of parking that’s a relief from metal grills, according to Aufgang.
“The project is all electric, so that really sets up for the future, where we can have a more sustainable and renewable grid and have no onsite carbon fumes,” Aufgang said. “Working with Slate is always a great experience. Very few developers put as much emphasis on affordability and efficiency. Even on the market-rate units and a mixed-unit building, we work tirelessly together to make sure that the rents are the level that families from the immediate and adjoining areas can afford to move in.”
For Ira Gross, executive vice president of Dan’s Supreme Supermarkets, the groundbreaking ceremony was an exciting day for both the Gross family and the Grobman family. According to Gross, they have been working on the project for 13 years, as the site was an old auto leasing zone, and having gone through all the hoops with the city to get the zoning done.
“It took a lot of years to find the right guy. It’s very hard to find a partner who you could live with, trust for who knows how long, and David and the Slate Group is the right fit, and they’ve proven to be the right fit for a long time,” Gross said. “Today, we finally have what we think is the right plan that’s good for everyone. This is a great moment for us, and we’re thrilled to be here, and we hope to do the right thing all the time.”
Richard Grobman, president of Dan’s Supreme Supermarkets, said the project was a long time coming, and that they’re pleased to partner with Slate to bring the building, including much needed new housing, to life.
“We are proud longtime partners of this community and excited to take on this new project to continue our support here,” Grobman said.
Additional reporting by Gabriele Holtermann.