"Any of the three finalist proposals would propel downtown Flushing to new standards of quality and excellence, thanks to the incredible efforts made by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Bloomberg administration," said City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing)."He and other officials spoke at a news conference at the new TimeWarner building on Columbus Circle in Manhattan. "We support the TDC/Rockefeller proposals on the merits. It best brings the wider array of retail choices yearned for by the people of Flushing," Liu said. "It best accommodates the parking needs of consumers and local businesses alike, and it is the most accommodating of community needs in that their plans will create a full-service youth center in Flushing."Liu, state Assemblyman Jimmy Meng (D-Flushing) said the TDC/Rockefeller group concept "strives to address important community concerns."TDC is a development group based in downtown Flushing."One impressive feature is single phase construction, which would minimize disruption to residents, merchants and public during the building phase," Meng said."TDC also incorporates the construction of 2,000 parking spaces which is more than the other two development plans," Meng said.State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone) was in Albany and unable to appear at the news conference, where the endorsement was announced by Meng and Liu. A member of Stavisky's staff, Vincent Le Vien, represented her.Stavisky issued a statement of support for the TDC/Rockefeller "because it provides for the largest number of parking spaces at the most reasonable rates.""At community meetings, whenever I am asked about development in downtown Flushing, the most prevalent questions deal with parking," Stavisky said, adding that the TDC proposal provides the largest square footage for a youth center, is the most environmentally friendly proposal and has the most retail space.Liu said the Time Warner Center was chosen for the site of the announcement as a way of demonstrating "what this group is capable of doing."Liu, Meng and Le Vien took a tour of the building with its high-end retail establishments, prepared food and grocery level and other facilities, all housed beneath far below a grand glassed-in atrium.Liu said the winning agency for the Flushing project would be announced before the end of June. The other finalists are Silvercup Studios and Vornado Realty.The original request for proposals issued in February 2004 specified that at least 825 parking spaces be part of the replacement for the present municipal parking lot on Union Street between 37th and 39th avenues in Flushing.Liu said at the time that the number of parking spaces needed to be increased from 1,800 to 2,000. In an effort to provide incentives to businesses, Liu said the cost of parking in the new lot will have to be increased. As a result, the BIDs would get a percentage from the revenue from parking.Liu suggested parking rates from $1 per hour for the first three hours and $3 per hour for use of parking spots thereafter. Supporters of the project envision a glittering retail center with shops of all descriptions with advocates having already approached Barnes & Noble, among other companies.Liu pointed to the grocery level of the Time Warner Center, suggesting that such a retail establishment would be possible in Flushing if the project were to be carried out by TDC/Rockefeller.
©2005 Community News Group
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