Much of upper Harlem is populated by aging apartment buildings, historic row houses, and huge public housing projects. But a few large development sites still exist in the neighborhood—usually car washes, gas stations, and other remnants of our more car-dependent past. Over the weekend, plans were filed to build a sizable apartment building at 2600 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (a.k.a. Seventh Avenue), a former car wash that sits a block from the Harlem River and close to the border with Washington Heights.
Property owner Spencer Wong, doing business as an anonymous Little Italy-based LLC, is currently transforming the former two-building, 300-key LaGuardia Airport Hotel — located at 100-33 Ditmars Boulevard, in East Elmhurst — into a nine-story, 93-key IBIS Styles Hotel and a seven-story, 148-key Aloft Hotel. Interstate Hotels & Resorts will manage the IBIS, DNAinfo reported. The nine-story IBIS will measure roughly 49,000 square feet while the seven-story Aloft will measure about 89,000 square feet. The latest building permits show that guest amenities at the IBIS will include a breakfast dining area, a luggage room, and storage for four bikes. Filings haven’t yet been filed for the seven-story building getting the Aloft. Peter Poon’s SoHo-based architectural firm is the architect of record. The property was acquired for $20.5 million in February of 2014. Completion is expected in 2017.
Purchase, N.Y.-based Zinrock Resources LP has recently received approval from the Planning Board of New Rochelle to construct nine eight-unit residential buildings, plus a clubhouse and gatehouse, at 700 Davenport Avenue, located on the southern tip of the city’s Davenport Neck section. That’s in southern Westchester County. The buildings can be as high as 60 feet (plus five feet if in a flood zone), the equivalent five stories, Westfair reported. All of the residential units will be three-bedroom condominiums ranging from 3,000 to 3,500 square feet apiece. The site is currently home to the roughly 500-member beach club Beckwith Pointe, which the developer is expected to begin demolishing next year. Zinrock payed the city $720,000 to privatize the club’s beachfront, but is still required to retain open space elsewhere.
The cores of dense cities work best when they mix a variety of functions, such as residential, commercial, or office. This mixing allows for a round-the-clock pedestrian presence, ensuring that the streets do not empty out at any point of the day. The concept is taken literally to the next level when two independent functions are stacked one on top of another within the same building, like roommates sharing a bunk bed. This effectively puts two buildings on the same plot without resorting to narrow towers with small floorplates. Although generally rare, mixed-use skyscrapers have made their mark upon Manhattan, starting with the famed Waldorf-Astoria, which combined hotel rooms at the bottom with apartments on top in 1931. Now, the city’s first major mixed-use tower has risen outside of Manhattan. The 31-story, glass-and-concrete slab at 29-11 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, has seen construction virtually wrapped up at the time of this writing. Its lower 15 floors house the Marriott Courtyard Long Island City hotel, with the 135-unit residential complex called the Aurora sitting on the floors above.
Elmhurst-based A Realty Group has filed applications for a three-story, two-unit residential building at 73-08 Ditmars Boulevard, on the western end of East Elmhurst. It will measure 3,001 square feet and boast 2,529 square feet of residential square-footage. The ground floor will host a single apartment, followed by the second apartment across the second and third floors. Frank J. Quatela’s Flushing-based architectural firm is the architect of record. The 30-foot-wide, 3,000-square-foot property is currently occupied by a singe-story house. Demolition permits haven’t been filed. The Grand Central Parkway is located a block to the south.