In past generations, apartment builders in New York tended to avoid streets with dark, noisy elevated trains, leaving the lots beneath the once ubiquitous els for cheap, small-scale housing or industry and commerce. But as the supply of buildable lots in the city has been squeezed by the zoning code and demand has skyrocketed, many of those low-slung commercial properties are starting to be seen as viable development sites.
That’s the story at 35-27 31st Street, in Long Island City. Beneath the elevated Astoria Line tracks, an application was submitted on Friday to build a seven-story, 34-unit rental building on the eastern side of the street, half a block below the 36th Avenue border with Astoria.
The developer, listed as Bessie Giannopulos, bought the mid-century single-story brick commercial building last year for $2 million. The new structure, designed by Morali Architects, will have a nearly 6,000-square foot commercial space – divided between a store on the first floor and offices on the second – with apartments starting on the third floor. The 34 units will be spread over 24,000 square foot of residential space, for an average size of just over 700 square feet.
35-27 31st Street is actually the second by this architect and developer for which we’ve seen permits filed lately. In December, an application was submitted to build another seven-story rental building with 42 apartments at 38-11 31st Street.
Nearby, also beneath the Astoria Line structure, sits a similar residential building that opened five years ago, whose rents can give us a hint of what Giannopulos might be looking for with her new 31st Street buildings. That project, opened in 2010 at No. 37-21, has one-bedrooms that rent for around $2,000 a month, and two-bedrooms for around $2,500.
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