Today’s news:

Bank sues Queens Plaza hotel developer for $17M

The developer of a major boutique hotel at the Queens Plaza redevelopment is being sued for a construction loan before work has begun at the Long Island City site, court papers show.

U.S. Bank is seeking the return of $17.2 million plus interest and attorney fees from Queens Plaza Development, according to a motion filed April 24 in Manhattan State Supreme Court. The suit also seeks $4.3 million from officials from the White Plains−based YESS Property Group. The case is due in court June 29.

A spokeswoman for the attorneys representing U.S. Bank declined to comment on the matter.

Attorney Stephen Grable, listed on court documents as representing the defendants, did not return phone calls by press time Tuesday.

Records filed with the city Department of Buildings show that Queens Plaza Development filed plans in January 2008 to construct a 220−foot, 16−story hotel at 29−37 41st Ave., the former site of a 1930s−era bank building. The bank was demolished in March 2008, DOB records show, and the lot currently sits empty.

U.S. Bank made the loans on April 19, 2007, court documents show. YESS Property Group purchased the property for $7.7 million in April 2008, according to the real estate newsletter isellny.com. City Department of Finance records show the property is owned by Queens Plaza Holdings.

The Web site for construction consultant J Companies lists the property as being slated for an Aloft Hotel, whose Web site describes the planned hotel as sporting “fun−filled loft−inspired rooms just over the river from the Big Apple.” The hotel is slated to open Dec. 31, 2010, according to the site.

Construction all over the city was hit particularly hard as the finance industry collapsed. Louis Colletti, president of the Construction Trades Council, has said that many projects considered financially viable when loans were made several years ago are now being re−evaluated and deemed impractical.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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