QLIC, the Perkins Eastman-designed project at 41-42 24th Street in Long Island City, is virtually complete as construction wraps up its final stage. Some of its 421 apartments are already occupied, and the rest are waiting for their tenants.
Scaffolding is already gone at the 24th Street side, and there is no sign of construction anywhere near the fully functioning residential lobby.
The street is still a patchwork of barricades and equipment, but that is because two more residential projects are under construction next door and across the street.
Construction is still evident at the building’s south side and portions of the east and west street fronts, where scaffolding still hugs the structure.
Facing Queens Plaza to the south, the future storefront windows are still enclosed in blue fencing, where the standard construction project board shares wall space with tenant-oriented posters that promote the fine dining facilities within.
The site is becoming visibly more complete each day: the sidewalk is cleaned and nearly ready for use where, just last week, a dozen dumpsters with construction waste were awaiting removal.
Though the curb is still fenced off with plastic road blocks and scaffolds line part of the facade, we can expect both to be gone in the immediate future. The 8,707 square feet of retail will go a long way towards activating this currently desolate corner of Queens Plaza. As far as the high-rise structure is concerned, there is still work to be done on the north facing balconies.
The 21-story complex is the largest residential project in the area north of the Plaza. Though its 228 feet are enough to make it the second tallest structure north of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge approach (after the LIC Marriott and Residential Tower at the other end of the Plaza), QLIC makes its presence felt mostly through its sheer girth and scale. The building’s 319,000 square feet take up half of the city block, with its hulking beige and white mass, accented with red detailing, wrapping around a central courtyard.
In spite of its size, the structure does not overpower the immediate surroundings. The 10-story wings to the north and west are in concert with the recent crop of residential projects, matching not only the established average height but also the common street wall. The main tower faces the bridge approach, across from which much larger and taller projects are rising at 42-12 28th Street and 23-01 42nd Road. Lastly, the massive bridge approach itself asserts itself in such a powerful manner that QLIC comes off as a supporting character even from its bulkiest angle.
The bridge is a key player in the local landscape, and affects the living experience at QLIC in a profound manner. The 7 and N trains rumble along the double-stacked, elevated tracks that ride above the multiple levels of vehicular traffic going onto the bridge.
While there is certain romanticism to the urban intensity that this layering generates, noise pollution will be an issue to anyone that ventures out onto the south facing balconies. On the plus side, the bridge offers unparalleled access to Manhattan whether by train, car, or bike, given that a Citi Bike station sits directly across the street. The bike station is located directly at the bridge’s pedestrian entrance, meaning that the residents of QLIC have a closer walk to Manhattan than just about anyone else out of the borough’s 2.3 million people.
At the moment, the building is at the northwestern frontier of the Long Island City real estate boom. The blocks to the north, east, and south will remain active construction zones for the next few years. Fenced off lots and grimy commercial buildings lie to the west, beyond which lie the Queensbridge housing projects.
The neighborhood’s currently lackluster offerings are compensated by the building’s own amenities. The developer, Westside LIC, outfitted their project with a media lounge, a game room, a gym, and a roof deck with an open-air theater, barbecue, and a landscaped courtyard with a fire pit.
Once the surrounding construction wraps up and the empty lots to the west are developed, the neighborhood will truly take shape, yet this will almost certainly come at the cost of westbound views. Until that happens, the residents have at least several years to soak in breathtaking sunset vistas of the Midtown Manhattan skyline from the rooftop pool.