The construction of brownstones and other handsome pre-war townhouses in the outer boroughs ended with World War II, but the development of similar single- and two-family homes in more modern styles did not. More austere red brick homes instead replaced the elaborate old brownstones, with construction continuing for a few decades.
New York City’s old development patterns would have meant that many of these low-slung homes would make attractive development sites today, but the advent of the 1961 zoning code ruled out rebuilding for the most part, with allowed densities not high enough to justify razing income-producing structures.
But on Austin Street in Queens, near the border between Forest Hills and Rego Park, we’ve found the exception that proves the rule. There, at 67-17 and 67-19 Austin Street, just north of the Long Island Rail Road tracks, a pair of two-story multifamily brick homes, built around 1960, have been demolished. A new seven-story building is planned for the site, according to a new building permit application submitted today.
The new project will have 21 apartments spread over nearly 16,000 square feet of residential space, for an average unit size of 750 square feet, with three apartments per floor.
Despite the high residential densities in this part of Forest Hills south of Queens Boulevard and retail allowed a few blocks to the east on Austin Street, no retail is allowed here. Parking is neither required nor included.
While many other parts of New York City built out with 1960s two-family homes would benefit from such densification – East Williamsburg, Bushwick, northern Bed-Stuy, and East New York come to mind in Brooklyn, with too many neighborhoods to count in Queens – zoned densities are rarely high enough to warrant redevelopment. (On these sites on Austin Street, the zoning allows for floor-area ratios of up to four, with R7-1 zoning.)
The architect is listed as Kyu Ho Lee’s Myles Architecture. The developer, Gavriel Aminov with LAG Real Estate Development, bought the properties in 2005 for $1.27 million.
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