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Flushing awaits word on Commons project

The Flushing community has been looking for answers about when, or if, the proposed Flushing Commons project will break ground. Image courtesy CB 7
TimesLedger Newspapers

The Flushing community has grown more impatient over the years as the site where the city approved an $850 mixed-used project continues to function as a parking lot.

Flushing Commons, a mega project slated for Municipal Lot 1 downtown, was first approved in 2010. Not only has no visible work been done on the site, but any progress on funding or contracts made by the developers or the city has been done behind closed doors.

Community Board 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said he has received no recent updates from the city Economic Development Corp., which is overseeing the project.

“I’m a little displeased that they haven’t told us what’s going on,” he said. “I have no idea what to expect over there. Did they get their funding? Are they going to flip the property?”

But the city may soon shed some light onto what is going on.

Several members of the Flushing community have been told that an announcement for the stagnant project is coming in the near future, and the hints have come from both the city and the project developers themselves, TimesLedger Newspapers has learned.

What exactly the EDC has planned is not clear, but any news about the long-stalled, five-acre project would be welcomed by residents and civic leaders.

In late December, for example, Kelty approached one of the developers of the project, Michael Meyer of TDC Development, a Queens-based company working with EDC. Meyer said an announcement was coming in the next few weeks, according to Kelty, though no news followed.

Chatter has also been leaking out of City Hall, according to sources who did not want to be identified.

Both sides of the project have been telling the community to prepare, which marks a different approach compared to the last two years.

TDC and another company, Rockefeller Development Group, did not have the funds to break ground in 2010. The special permit that allows the companies to build on the property will expire in 2014 unless they take action.

Nearly a year ago, TimesLedger Newspapers reported that Meyer and a representative from Rockefeller had been on a fund-raising trip to Asia, according to e-mails obtained through the Freedom of Information Law.

Meyer had attended meetings in Beijing and Hong Kong last March, and told EDC in what was called a biweekly Flushing Commons update, that he was optimistic about what transpired.

On another parcel of the parking lot, Macedonia AME Church has already started building a 14-story affordable housing complex.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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