BY NATHAN DUKE
Queens reached for the sky in 2017 as numerous large-scale developments were announced for the borough. Also, one of Queens’ airports broke ground on a renovation, while another long-term project remained in limbo.
Queens was a hotbed for new development in 2017. The Crossing—a 26-story mixed-use apartment building being constructed at Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue in Jamaica—broke ground in April. The $407 million project marks the largest investment in Downtown Jamaica for decades. It will feature two buildings with a total of 669 units as well as 45,000 square feet of community and retail space and a garage with 187 parking spaces.
Early in the year, a mixed-use apartment building at 164th Street and Jamaica Avenue broke ground. Funded by First Presbyterian Church, the $74 million, 12-story building will add 174 units to the neighborhood.
At 88-45 163rd St., a seven-story mixed-use building will house transitional services for the mentally ill as well as affordable housing. And Omni New York filed plans with the city’s Department of Buildings to develop a long-empty lot, located at 92-23 168th St. in Jamaica. Founded and operated by former Mets player Mo Vaugh, Omni plans to develop a 23-floor mixed-use apartment building.
Alphapointe—a nonprofit that aids the education, advocacy and employment of legally blind people—announced in October that it had purchased a property in Richmond Hill, where it intended to move from its Brooklyn locale. The complete cost for the new offices, located on 123rd St., is approximately $21 million.
As New York City attempted to lure Amazon to locate its second headquarters—known as Amazon HQ2—in the five boroughs, Sunnyside Yard was listed in September as one of several spots being eyed. And in December, the New York Islanders won a bid to create an 18,000-seat hockey arena and concert venue at Belmont Park in Elmont, Long Island.
LaGuardia Airport broke ground in August on Delta Airlines’ new $4 billion facility, which will provide travelers with state-of-the-art amenities and an AirTrain. With Delta’s investment, the eastern half of the airport officially broke ground and is expected to be ready by the time the new airport debuts in 2021.
Finally, the long-gestating project to redevelop the blighted neighborhood of Willets Point remained in limbo, although community activists celebrated after judges on the New York State Court of Appeals ruled in June against the Willets West plan that aimed to construct a shopping mall at a spot in Willets Point that had long been designated as parkland. The ruling was made in response to a 2014 lawsuit filed by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and community groups.
Meanwhile, community groups continued to rally for affordable housing at Willets Point, Community Board 7 blasted the city after being left out of a meeting to discuss the future of the region and business owners in the neighborhood called on the city to repave its roads.