THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
It was a big deal when JetBlue decided to move to Long Island City two years ago. The air carrier founded here would not be splitting town, and it would even be boosting a nascent business district that has never done much beyond the Citi back offices despite the one-stop subway ride to Midtown. But it turns out there might also be implications for the skyline.
No, JetBlue is not building a big new tower, it is still moving into an eight-story loft building beside the Queensborough Bridge. But there are plans for a big blue sign on the roof, a 40-footer. That is bigger than the GE sign atop Rockefeller Center, and that is kind of the point. “When complete, it will be easily seen from the east side of Manhattan across the river,” the airline writes on its corporate blog, BlueTales.
With three dozen projects underway in Long Island City, the brothers behind Rockrose Development—two of whom split to form TF Cornerstone in 2009—are poised to compete against one another for prize renters and retailers in what is rapidly becoming Queens’s answer to Williamsburg and Dumbo. TF Cornerstone chairman Thomas Elghanayan spoke to The Commercial Observer about the EastCoast, his firm’s waterfront rental complex, the infamous Rockrose Development coin toss, and his tense relationship with brother Henry Elghanayan, chief executive of Rockrose Development.
In 2009, the brothers behind the Rockrose Development Corporation—Henry, Thomas and Frederick Elghanayan—divided their four-decade business partnership in half, with Frederick and Thomas spinning off to form TF Cornerstone, and Henry staying put at Rockrose with his son, Justin Elghanayan, 33. Since that relatively amicable split, in which the company’s $3 billion empire was divided in half, Henry Elghanayan has rebuilt the portfolio and elevated his son, who has taken the reins as the project manager of Linc LIC, a development in Long Island City, Queens, scheduled to include two residential towers and a retail complex that, when finished in 2013, could breathe new life into the long-simmering neighborhood. Last week, Justin Elghanayan spoke to The Commercial Observer about his family’s recent split, the future of Rockrose and his Long Island City project, which includes what could be the tallest building in Queens.
The general manager of M. Wells, perhaps one of the best-reviewed new restaurants of the year, didn’t want to talk about the sexual harassment scandal.
“The only people that know what transpired would be the server’s butt and the hand,” said Deven DeMarco.
The Observer sweated out the 7 train to Long Read More
Condo sales might be super sluggish in Long Island City, but maybe the first indoor cycling studio will get things moving.
Crank Cycling Studio will occupy 800 square feet for 10 years at “The View” at 4630 Center Boulevard, which is distinguished from every other new building in the neighborhood only by Read More
Housing for All
One of the largest development sites left in the city has attracted some serious interest from some serious players. The Journal is reporting that seven bids have been made for the first phase of Hunters Point South, a planned 6,000-unit housing complex in Queens that was originally to be the site of Read More
The Commercial Observer: Congrats on the JetBlue deal. How did you first get involved?
Mr. Brause: Back in 2001 we net-leased the entire building, the Brewster building—400,000 square feet—to MetLife Insurance Company. Two years later, they exercised an option for us to build out another 300,000 square feet in the rear parcel Read More
As the friendly locals will happily explain, Long Island City isn’t actually in the middle of nowhere. It just feels that way.
It’s only one subway stop coming from Manhattan into Queens. But the first major grocery store opened less than two years ago, which is a bit rustic for city dwellers who expect instant Read More
Both the Foundry and L Haus, two Long Island City condo developments marketed by Prudential Douglas Elliman, seemed to be presenting themselves as urban oases—nooks of green in Queens. They offered outdoor space aplenty, plant-oriented décor in their sales offices, enormous bathtubs, green literature and logos, and, in the case of L Haus, a lime Read More