By Thomas Cogan
The Queens Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Building Awards & Gala were held this year at Terrace on the Park and had an enthusiastic turnout. The audience heard much about creation and re-creation, meaning new construction and rehabilitation, with noteworthy projects the result each time. Borough President Melinda Katz came by to proclaim her own enthusiasm and a realtor and television show host had some remarks about what he saw as the improving Queens scene.
That speaker was Michael Stoller, managing director of Madison Realty Capital and host of programs running on CUNY-TV and other university, community and public access stations in four states. He said the magazine, The Real Deal selected the 10 best recent building projects in the city and Queens had four of them; not bad with Manhattan and Brooklyn as competition. He recalled talking on the radio years ago to executives from Rockrose about building in Queens and found them less than excited, though they soon got religion in Long Island City. He said the façade and the ground floor of the RKO Keith in Flushing, the old movie palace on Northern Boulevard where it meets Main Street, is being incorporated into an apartment complex that will include a beer garden and, yes, a movie theatre.
The public buildings, multiple-unit dwellings and restaurants that won Queens Chamber awards begins with the New Construction, Industrial category, where the winner is Steinway Park, the attached warehouses running from 18-22 to 18-42 42nd St. in Astoria. They are said to provide much-needed warehouse space. The owner is The L Group, architect is Gerard L. Caliendo and the builders are Sal Lucchese and Philip Loria. The New Construction, Commercial award went to 209 Northern Property, a two-story commercial building at 209-35 Northern Blvd., Bayside. The owner is Justin Kang, the architect Kyu Lee Architect PC and the builder NY Construction Work, Inc., Hyuk Keun Hwang.
Resorts World Casino, which looks over Aqueduct Race Track in South Ozone Park, is the winner of the Rehab, Public Buildings award, presented in praise of the Baccarat Club, a high-stakes part of the casino, built in an area that used to be a Chinese restaurant. “The goal,” Resorts publicity states, “was to create a Shanghai-chic casino within the larger casino.” Present at the Baccarat is a Chinese-speaking “ambassador” to cater to high-rolling members. The owner is Resorts World Casino New York City, the architect is Architects Rule PC and the builder is D’Amato Builders and Advisors LLC, whose project director, Nick D’Amato, said that his company “really focused heavily on feng shui, trying to create luck for the patron, whether it’s passing the water feature as you enter or the acrylic lights that wish them luck as they enter.”
The New Construction, Multi-Family High Rise, Four or More Stories award went to the four-story Courtyard Gardens Condominium, 85-15 120th St., Kew Gardens. Most of the apartments in the building face an interior courtyard; and a fountain and benches, bicycle rack storage and radiant heated floors in all corridors are additional amenities. The owner is Fabian Organization 11 LLC, the architect is T.F. Cusanelli & Filletti Architects PC and the builder is Fabian Construction Co. Inc.
The Rehab, Multi-Family High Rise, Four or More Stories award went to Pomonok Houses in Fresh Meadows. Installation of energy-efficient window glass on the northern section of these public houses was cited as meritorious. Crystal Window & Door of Flushing made nearly 11,000 windows of unusually thick glass that would be difficult to break. To recapture the thermal efficiency lost with thicker panes, Crystal doubled the applications of low-e coating to the window glass. Aluminum window sill covers further blocked cold air from entering apartments. The owner is New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Housing, the architect is HAKS Engineers and the builder is APS Contracting Co. “You could see the city wanted something better for the people, something that’s going to give longevity of service, look good and perform well,” said Vincent Greico of Crystal. “I was quite impressed.”
The Rehab, Mixed Use, Residential/Commercial/Industrial award went to Dinerbar Diner, 47-49 Queens Boulevard, which was converted from what was considered a dated solarium structure to a more contemporary streetscape. The owner is the Lefrak Organization, the architect is Gerard J. Caliendo and the builder is Deraffoca Corp. Caliendo is also the architect of the Bet-El Congregation Sephardic Center, 180-01 Union Turnpike, winner of the Rehab, Religious Building award. The center’s old home had become too small for the congregation, so a member purchased property on Union Turnpike and transformed the old place into a 300-seat shul. Caliendo’s use of Jerusalem stone and limestone is said to give the shul an Israeli look. The owner is Avi Dishi, who bought the property, and the builder is Impact Builders Corp.
Hoyt Plaza, an 11-story, 34-unit, market-rate high rise at 27-18 Hoyt Ave. South, the Triboro Bridge nearby, was the winner of the New Construction, Mixed Use, Residential/Commercial/Industrial award. The building stands back from a plaza, created to accommodate access to firefighters, and contains a 5,000 square foot community facility that gives it mixed-use status. The owner is Hoyt Plaza Development LLC-Vito Giannola, the architect is T.F Cusanelli & Filletti Architects PC and the builder is Apogee Construction.
Anyone traveling near Willets Point has no trouble seeing the new roof on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It allows tennis matches to be played with no worries about rainfall, yet it can be opened for play in the bright sunshine too. Four winches of 600 horsepower can open or close the roof in about seven minutes. It is the winner of the Rehab, Commercial award. The owner is the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the architect is Matthew L. Rossetti. The Interior, Commercial award goes to Nippon Cha Restaurant, 39-34 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, a former pizzeria converted to a Japanese restaurant. The conversion entailed raising the ceiling five feet to its current 13 feet. Ceramic tile floors and wooden appointments give Nippon Cha the proper Japanese look. The owner is Changqi Li, the architect is HCD Architect PC and the builder is Linden Group Construction.
The last two awards are for New Construction, Industrial/Sustainable and Rehab, Industrial/Sustainable and go to two installations in JFK Airport Park. The first is Idlewild Logistics Center, owned by Idlewild 228th Street LLC. It has built a retention tank, nearly 36,000 cubic feet in size and situated below grade, and a two-block-long dedicated storm sewer, to help protect Jamaica Bay. The center has received an Environmental Protection Administration Energy Star score of 93, said to be the highest ever awarded to such an installation. The second is the JFK Logistics Center & JFK Verizon Facility, which has a 729-kilowatt solar system on the roofs of its two buildings. By arrangement with Con Edison and Bloomberg LP, remote net metering is used on the buildings, allowing electricity generated to be distributed among many utility accounts. The buildings received Energy Star scores of 91 and 92, said also to be record scores for such industrial buildings.Both Idlewild and JFK Logistics had John Schimenti PC as architect and BAR Construction Corp. as builder. BAR Construction Vice President Anthony Coen called JFK Logistics “environmentally friendly and very efficient on the footprint.”
Source: Queens Gazette