New development rarely arrives in Forest Hills, Queens, thanks to restrictive zoning and a densely built landscape of co-op buildings and single-family homes. But the city upzoned a small piece of the picturesque neighborhood just south of Queens Boulevard in 2009.
Now new building applications have been filed to erect a seven-story, mixed-use building there at 109-19 72nd Road, between Queens Boulevard and Austin Street. The development will replace four large houses, all of which had been altered so businesses could occupy the ground floors.
The 70-foot-tall building will host 46 apartments divided across 44,889 square feet, for nicely sized average units measuring 975 square feet. The apartments will be stacked on top of 8,280 square feet of retail, replacing some of the commercial space that will be demolished. Each of the upper floors will have eight units, except for the top floor, where there will only be six units.
A subterranean garage will have parking for 26 cars, which is slightly more than the zoning code requires.
Paraag Sarva, of Forest Hills-based PSRS Realty Group, is the developer, and his firm has owned the four homes since 1984. Engineer Steven Schneider, of Wachtung, N.Y.-based Schneider Associates, applied for the permit.
The rest of Forest Hills was downzoned twice during Mayor Bloomberg’s years in office, effectively preventing the construction of anything besides one- and two-family homes. The suburban-style zoning seems unfortunate because Forest Hills is attractive, safe, and still relatively affordable for condo and co-op buyers. The LIRR, as well E, F, M, and R trains, run through the neighborhood, making it one of the most accessible parts of central and eastern Queens.