Not much development happens in East Elmhurst, a sleepy little neighborhood in Queens sandwiched in between LaGuardia Airport, Willets Point, and Flushing Bay. The working class area doesn’t have any subway lines, unless residents want to take a long walk or a bus to the 7 train at Roosevelt Avenue.
But the zoning along Northern Boulevard encourages medium-sized residential buildings, and developers are finally starting to take advantage of it. Asian Americans for Equality, a Chinatown-based non-profit that develops affordable housing in Asian communities, has filed new building applications for a six-story apartment building at 32-60 106th Street, on the corner of Northern Boulevard.
The 70-foot-tall building will have 21 apartments spread across 19,140 square feet of residential space. Average units will measure a relatively spacious 957 square feet. We anticipate family-sized apartments, probably two- and three-bedrooms.
A 1,900-square-foot retail space will fill the ground floor, followed by four units on the second floor and five units each on the third through fifth floors. Two large apartments will divide the top floor.
There will also be parking for 11 cars—a covered garage with five spots and an open lot with six more. That’s just enough to satisfy zoning requirements.
This development was made possible by the North Corona rezoning in 2003. The city upzoned Northern Boulevard and downzoned the side streets, ensuring that most of the neighborhood would remain one- and two-family homes.
The developer listed on the permits is Siu-Kwan Chan, managing director of AAFE’s community development fund, and Sunset Park-based Vincent Martineau Architect will handle the design. The property is currently a car repair shop, and it last changed hands in 2001, when it was transferred to a community development fund in the Lower East Side.
AAFE has developed and preserved more than 700 units of affordable housing in the past 20 years, and we expect that this project will be partially, if not fully, below-market. Back in 1986, the group became the first developers in New York City to use the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. They spent $5.2 million renovating two apartment buildings on Eldridge Street into what would be called Equality Houses, a 60-unit, income-restricted rental for low-income tenants.