As the permit filings pile up for new budget hotels in Ravenswood, a Queens neighborhood on the East River, we’re starting to wonder: is the area destined to become the borough’s hotel district?
The neighborhood barely has a name of its own; most would probably call it Long Island City, though YIMBY has revived the old “Ravenswood” moniker to describe the industrially-zoned land along the East River between L.I.C. proper and Astoria. But now, it’s in the early stages of acquiring a new identity as fertile territory for those seeking to erect budget lodgings.
Just two stops away from Manhattan on the F train, the land bounded by two major New York City Housing Authority projects is zoned only for commercial and industrial use. Given that office and manufacturing rents aren’t generally high enough to justify new construction (though some new warehouses do occasionally pop up), and residential development – nowadays the highest and best use in pretty much every corner of the five boroughs – is not allowed, hotel developers have the run of the neighborhood.
The latest new building application comes from 38-43 12th Street, where Saeed Jewel’s LI City Hospitality LLC is seeking to erect a 78-room hotel. The building would be nearly 26,000 square feet, with 11 stories. The lot is only 52 feet wide, with the generous floor area ratio allowance of five enabling its relatively large size.
The land had been passed around at a rapid pace, beginning around the time of the downturn, with no fewer than four different sales recorded between March 2007 (went it went for $807,500) and November 2009 ($525,000). It finally sold to the current developers for a whopping $1.4 million, or $56 per buildable square foot.
Gerald Caliendo, whose basic, traditional designs can be found in every corner of Queens, is listed as the architect.
For any questions, comments, or feedback, email [email protected]