40-47 22nd Street, a ten-story hotel in northern Long Island City, is nearing exterior completion. While the narrow, south elevation still awaits cladding, the green and black panels on the west façade are being revealed as protection film is peeled from the surface.
The building permit lists the structure at 102 feet in height. Its 74 rooms are to be spread over 25,048 square feet. Considering that the lot occupies 5,011 square feet, the building comes staggeringly close to maximizing its floor-to-area ratio (FAR) of 5.0, with only seven square feet to spare. Though the plaza in the front of the building results in a broken street wall, it is a lesser transgression given the building’s location at an intersection. Corner plazas are almost universally more successful than their mid-block counterparts.
Michael Kang is listed as the architect. Ratan Realty Three LLC is the developer. Although the LLC is based at a Howard Johnson hotel, it is unclear whether the building at 40-47 22nd will belong to the same chain. If it will be, it would accompany its sibling, Howard Johnson LIC, two blocks north on 12th Street on the long block between 38th and 40th Avenues.
The building stands at the intersection of 22nd Street and 41st avenue, at the northwest edge of Long Island City’s rapidly developing central district. The site sits just north of the Long Island City Core, a forty-odd block zone that was rezoned in 2001, where several dozen projects are simultaneously under construction. Its immediate area is the current frontier of gentrification. While three multi-story residential projects are under construction just a block away to the east and south, the rest of the surroundings are composed of parking lots, midcentury commercial facilities, and an appealing, although rundown, collection of pre-war industrial lofts across the street and up the block to the north.
The famous – and notorious – Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing complex in North America, sits a block west.
Although northern Long Island City has seen significant hotel construction over the past decade, 40-47 22nd is perhaps more conveniently located than the rest. Despite a current lack of neighborhood amenities, the hotel stands only a block away from the F train’s 21 Street-Queensbridge station, putting it within a five- to ten-minute ride to Manhattan. The downside is that the neighborhood used to be quite unsafe in recent past, and though things have improved significantly in recent years, there are still reasons to exercise caution late at night.
This state of affairs is likely to change in the near future, as incoming residents and visitors will change the currently desolate area into a round-the-clock community. Aside from the three aforementioned projects a block east, change arrived at the block last year, when the four-story building to the east was redeveloped by Stalingrad Ventures LLC. The new design is kitchy, but whimsical and surprisingly attractive. Red brick, large windows, ornamentation, and a clock at the rooftop parapet are a positive improvement for the former eyesore with garish paint and tiny, misaligned windows. The hotel is set back from 41st Avenue, giving its quirky neighbor extra exposure.
The hotel sits within a manufacturing district (zoned M1-3), which falls in line with the decade-long trend of hotel construction within industrial zones. The practice became so pervasive that, as YIMBY reported, part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s manufacturing district preservation strategy is restricting hotel construction within their boundaries. On the other hand, the same administration is proposing another sweeping rezoning of Long Island City, which includes the hotel and the surrounding blocks.
Regardless of whichever zoning factors ultimately come into play, we expect new projects to rise across the street sooner rather than later. If given the opportunity, developers are likely to convert the industrial structures into financially lucrative lofts. For better or worse, the block is likely to lose its grimy industrial character in the near future as unrelenting development marches west.