In 2012, Flushing-based developer Pi Capital Partners opened their six-story Elm East project at 86-55 Broadway, on the northeastern corner of Broadway and Queens Boulevard. The project was apparently a success – they’ve got active listings for three one-bedrooms at the moment, ranging from $1,838 to $2,487, with listing prices over the past six months averaging $41 per year per square foot – because they’re going to do it again, just across Broadway.
Across the street, at 85-15 Queens Boulevard, on the northeast corner of the intersection, Pi Capital is planning to build a slightly larger project, dubbed Elm West, which they’ve revealed to YIMBY.
While Elm East has 83 apartments, Elm West will have 130, with another 50,000 square feet of retail space and a community facility use (the first building appears to have a pre-school on the second floor). The new building should, like the Raymond Chan-designed Elm East, be an upgrade on the usual brick-and-Fedders fare on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst, where development in the area is concentrated.
If there’s one fault with the new buildings being erected in Elmhurst, however, it’s that they’re too short and too few. The neighborhood is in the midst of demographic change as it emerges as Queens’s second major Chinatown after Flushing, and more construction is necessary to accommodate the rising tide of demand.
Queens Boulevard in particular could use much taller structures to balance out its extreme width (a road diet and some bike and bus lanes would also be helpful), with the current tenement-scale growth swamped by the 12-lane boulevard. Apartment towers more like those that went up across Queens in the 1960s, before the building permits filed before the 1961 zoning code ran out, would be appropriate, especially in light of the strict controls on density in the surrounding single-family neighborhoods.
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