Developer to build elevator at Queensboro Plaza at no charge to MTA or city

Queensboro elevator
Real estate developer bring major accessibility improvements to the Queensboro Plaza subway station. (Renderings courtesy of CPC)

The city has reached a deal with a real estate developer to bring major accessibility improvements to the Queensboro Plaza subway station as part of an agreement to build a 26-story residential tower on Queens Plaza North.

The MTA and the Department of City Planning (DCP) brokered the deal with Grubb Properties to install a street-level elevator and a new, fully accessible entrance to the Queensboro Plaza 7-N-W station at no cost to the MTA or the city.

“New York depends on mass transit, and mass transit needs to be available and accessible to all New Yorkers,” MTA Chair and CEO Jann Lieber said. “The improvements at Queensboro Plaza demonstrate how the MTA is using every possible strategy to make the entire subway system ADA accessible.”

The much-needed upgrade is the second transit improvement approved by the CPC under Zoning for Accessibility (ZFA), which enables developers to improve access to public transit in the busiest areas of the city in exchange for an increase in their building’s density. Grubb Properties got the green light to increase the building’s height from its original 16-stories under the agreement.

“This is a huge victory for transit riders, and further proof that Zoning for Accessibility will continue to deliver results for New Yorkers,” said CPC Director and Chair Dan Garodnick.

“In partnership with the MTA, the City Planning Commission has approved a project that will deliver not only a new elevator and new entryway for transit riders, which is paid for by private developers, but also 400 new homes — 120 of them affordable — across the street. This is the first time these zoning rules have been applied outside Manhattan, and we expect more to come.”

The street elevator will complement ongoing MTA capital work at the southside of the station that includes the installation of two elevators — they will connect the street to the mezzanine and another lift from the mezzanine level to the platforms above.

“Riders with disabilities, customers with children in strollers, visitors with luggage, and many others will benefit from this new elevator, which will provide a second accessible street entrance to this important Queens transfer point serving fast-growing Long Island City,” said MTA Chief Accessibility Officer Quemuel Arroyo. “Celebrating the second privately-funded ZFA project in less than a year speaks to the importance and potential of this program, and we hope to see many more ZFA projects helping us reach a fully accessible system as quickly as possible.”

Grubb Properties will build its 311-foot-tall tower with 417 residential units at 25-01 Queens Plaza North.

“New York has been behind the world on transit accessibility, and I am glad major stations like Queensboro Plaza, and Court Square are finally being upgraded,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris. “ For New York to thrive, it must have an MTA for All, where everyone can access the subway system to get to work, school, and around our city.”

Councilwoman Julie Won said the accessibility improvements at Queensboro Plaza will improve the quality of life.

“Accessible public transportation is essential to the bloodline of New York City, connecting us from borough to borough,” Won said. “Every new elevator the MTA installs is another mom, like me, being able to bring her child and a stroller onto the 7 train, as well as our seniors and neighbors with disabilities having universal access to fast and cheap transportation. Queensboro Plaza is the gateway to Queens and the MTA’s upcoming elevators will benefit thousands and thousands of subway riders throughout Queens and our city.”