Revealed: 158-15 Union Turnpike, Hillcrest, Queens

158-15 Union Turnpike, rendering by Angelo & Anthony Ng's Architects Studio158-15 Union Turnpike, rendering by Angelo & Anthony Ng's Architects Studio

Two years ago, the city upzoned a big vacant lot at 158-15 Union Turnpike, in the Hillcrest section of eastern Queens. Now a four-story, mixed-use rental building is under construction on the property between Parsons Boulevard and 160th Street, and YIMBY has renderings of the project.

Although the building will only reach 40 feet into the air, it will fill nearly half of the 90,000-square-foot development site. Its 51 apartments will be stacked on top of 8,500 square feet of retail. And the apartments will be spread across 44,772 square feet of residential space, creating nicely sized units averaging 877 square feet.

The first floor will be devoted to retail and a 35-car garage (which is required by the lower density zoning here). Then each of the upper floors will hold 17 units.

This car-dependent part of Queens is mostly zoned to allow one- and two-family homes. When the City Council voted to rezone the Union Turnpike site, they bumped the zoning up to R5D, a district that allows four-story residential buildings with plenty of parking. However, most of the surrounding neighborhoods – including wealthy Jamaica Estates – were downzoned to ward off new development in 2006.

Angelo and Anthony Ng of Architects Studio are designing the development. The developer is Shalom Zirkiev, doing business as a Flushing-based LLC.

The renderings show a fairly unassuming, grey and tan brick facade. But the new apartments will be much nicer than the most of the neighborhood’s aging housing stock, offering large windows and glassy balconies in some units. They’ll likely cater to students at nearby St. John’s University, and possibly to the area’s growing Mexican, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino immigrant communities.

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