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Queens West construction progressing: Developer

Paul Januszewski, president of the Queens West Development Corporation, laid out current plans for the ongoing development project to members of the Long Island City Business District Corporation during their monthly business breakfast last week at Long Island City's Riverview Restaurant.He said three new Queens West buildings would open this spring and that a new residential tower at Court Square would begin construction on March 1. He said the 74-acre project would create an entirely new community along Long Island City's waterfront."We're taking a formerly industrial property, remediating it and creating a new development," he said.The Queens West project is divided into four phases. The two first phases include 12 buildings, which have been developed by Avalon Communities Inc. through the state's Empire Development Corporation, while the latter phases will include affordable housing and retail space, which will be created by developer Rockrose through the city's Economic Development Corporation. The project is bounded by Newtown Creek to the south, the East River to the west, 44th Drive to the north and 2nd and 5th streets to the east. The total cost of the project, which will create an estimated 44,000 new apartment units in its four phases, is estimated at $2 billion.The project also includes new retailers in the mostly residential neighborhood, including Duane Reade and Amish Market, which will open this summer, Januszewski said. He said the creation of a 22,000-square-foot neighborhood library at Center Boulevard and 48th Street is also still in the works. Western Queens elected officials and residents have said they were upset that the library's construction has taken so long. The project been stalled due to a lack of funding and the need to remediate the polluted site, an EDC spokesman said.Januszewski said remediation of the site should be completed by fall 2009."There is a bit of a funding gap," he said. "We have $12 million [for the library] but hope to get $17 million. We hope to get to the design process soon."He said stage two of the project would likely be completed within a year to a year and a half.Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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