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New bank building joins skyline in LIC

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The credit union occupies the first seven floors of the $65 million building, located at 24-01 44th Rd. John Lewis, vice president and general counsel for the credit union, said the building, which features 270,000 square feet of space, will be occupied by an estimated 750 people.Construction was finished last fall and 245 Manhattan-based employees moved into the building in mid-December, Lewis said. "We are very pregnant with possibilities here in Queens," Borough President Helen Marshall said. "(The credit union) adds to the financial vitality of the borough."The building is the tallest to open in the neighborhood since Citigroup opened its 50-story tower, the largest in the borough, at Court Square One in 1989.United Nations credit union officials said the tower was completed under budget in about one year and no workers were injured during construction. Elected officials praised the credit union for locating the building in rapidly growing Long Island City and said the tower is one of the most prominent of the 39 projects in the process of being constructed in the neighborhood."We can see a real skyline starting to take shape in Queens, which is becoming a dynamic business hub," U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) said. "This area is humming with new life."Lewis said the space not occupied by the U.N. group would probably be filled by financial institutions, law firms, accounting firms or Manhattan companies looking for expansion space.Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff predicted businesses and corporations would continue to relocate to the neighborhood because the cost to rent space in Manhattan is often more than $80 per square foot, while the cost for Long Island City is closer to $25 per square foot."We expect to see a flood of new tenants to Long Island City," he said.There are currently more than 20 new housing developments being constructed in Long Island City as well as a number of high-profile projects, such as Silvercup Studios's $1 billion expansion. Citigroup celebrated the completion of its second tower in the neighborhood in October with a topping off ceremony and in 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg designated the area as the city's fourth business district after Midtown, downtown Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn.The credit union also presented one of its neighbors, The Floating Hospital, with a $15,000 contribution. The hospital, which was founded in 1866 and traveled to the five boroughs by water, recently opened its first land-based community clinic on 27th Street in Long Island City.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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