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First new store opens at Sky View Park complex

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Flushing and Muss Development celebrated a milestone Saturday morning as BJ’s Wholesale Club became the first business to open at the massive Sky View Parc development.

Some of the store’s 350 workers joined executives and elected officials at a grand opening celebration inside the brand-new, 121,000-square-foot store.

“We are thrilled to be here and we will work hard to be good neighbors,” said Jay Breslin, the company’s zone vice president.

To underscore Breslin’s point, the store made donations to the Boys Club of New York’s Marion McMahon Abbe Clubhouse, a community outreach group, and PS 20, both in Flushing.

The area’s elected officials welcomed the new store, which is only a few miles down the road from the BJ’s in the College Point shopping center.

“More people will come to Flushing,” City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing) said. “BJ’s always draws a lot of business here.”

“I think it’s something Flushing and Queens needs in terms of job revitalization, job growth and I hope that they will continue to be good community partners,” said state Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing), but she is worried about the store’s plan to charge for parking in its garage structure.

“If they’re charging for parking, it isn’t going to work,” she said. “The 20th Avenue one is not that far away.”

Melva Miller, director of economic development for Borough President Helen Marshall, hailed the store for its collaboration with the Bland Houses, a public housing complex located across College Point Boulevard.

“She worked with the developers, Muss Development, to introduce our program to their tenants,” she said, noting 40 residents were interviewed and about one-third got jobs at the wholesaler. “We were pretty happy.”

The store’s opening also caused a stir among the locals, 50 of whom lined up at the store’s entrance awaiting the 9 a.m. opening. Among them was Flushing resident Joseph McDonnell, who said he was excited because this BJ’s is closer to his home.

“I work at a school so I get school supplies, things of that nature,” he said. “It’s a good spot. I don’t like the idea I have to pay for parking, but it’s a good spot.”

The store sells to its members items ranging from electronics to family-sized boxes of cereal.

This is the third BJ’s to open in Queens. The other location is in Middle Village. It is also the first store to open in Sky View Parc, a $1 billion project that began when Muss Development purchased the property along the Flushing River in 1983.

Sky View Parc will ultimately have six residential towers featuring 1,100 housing units atop a large retail shopping center. The first phase, consisting of 448 condos and the retail center, was finished recently.

Other stores destined for the spot include a Target and an Applebee’s restaurant.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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