Today’s news:

Two new condo developments will add to red hot LIC market

A Manhattan developer just razed the former Rolex Plastics warehouse at 5-15 49th Ave. to make way for a five-story, 50-unit tower that is slated for occupancy in March 2006. "Hopefully, everyone will be excited about having this project here besides a vacant warehouse," said Bruce McLean, a partner with the Milestone Group, the company that now owns the property. "We've been looking to buy in Long Island City for a couple of years. With the new rezoning and all the activity it's just a very attractive place to live because of the proximity (to Manhattan)."Milestone bought the site at 49th Avenue for $5.8 million in November. Expect a mix of one- to three-bedrooms ranging in size from 800- to 1,800-square-feet each, McLean said. Amenities will include a gym, balconies and door service. The design by Manhattan-based GKV Architects calls for a chapel stone and steel facade and 28 above-ground parking spaces. Douglas Elliman will handle the sales. McLean would not give an estimated price, but local real estate agent Valerie Dominguez with the Corcoran Group estimated the units would fetch between $600 to $800-a-square-foot given the demand in the western Queens neighborhood. Those prices are a good guess "if the market continues to be as hot as it is right now for condos," she said. The area has been in the midst of shedding its industrial roots since the city rezoned 43 blocks of manufacturing space for more housing last August. Dominguez said she is flooded with inquiries about the area each day and that more than a dozen housing projects are slated to be built over the next two years. "It's just really starting to look like Williamsburg, which is very good," she said. Even with the development boom, the area is still more affordable than Manhattan, said Alex Silverman, chief investment officer with the Andalex Group, the developer behind a $75 million conversion of the former Eagle Electric building at 45-31 Court Square near the Queens Court House and CitiBank building. Andalex bought the property in January for $52.5 million to convert it into 238 luxury apartments and 17 artist studios. "It's almost like it was calling out for a residential conversion with the high ceilings, the tremendous views of Manhattan," Silverman said. "I really see this as giving people a chance to have home ownership and still get the same quality that they'd like to get." Construction should wrap up late next year and the units will go on sale through the Sunshine Group in the fall, Silverman said. The eight-story, Flat-Iron style building will have 65 studios, 31 one-bedroom units, 130 two-bedrooms, nine three-bedrooms and three four-bedrooms, Silverman said. Some will have balconies and home offices.Reach reporter Matt Monks at news@timesledger.com or 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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