Updates on Ozone Park’s strip mall

The new strip mall on Cross Bay Boulevard has already opened some of its shops, but more are in store.

At the moment, Empire J Nail Spa, Nadia Rima boutique and CKO Kickboxing are open for business. TruBurger has already set up shop as well, although it has yet to open its doors and displays a “coming soon” sign.

Dunkin’ Donuts, a Verizon Wireless store and a sushi restaurant are also in the works for the shopping center. David Koptiev from Platinum Realty said that when the rest of the stores open is up to the owners and how long the remaining construction takes. All tenants have keys to their respective store fronts. There is no date scheduled for completion.

As seen on Tuesday morning, construction is underway at three of the vacant stores. Three others appear untouched from the outside.

Empire J is the new location and name for Nail Tek, which had been farther down on Cross Bay Boulevard and is now closed. The same friendly faces of the Nail Tek staff work at the new nail salon and the same services are offered, according to Howard Beach resident Samantha Russo.

CKO Kickboxing offers fitness kickboxing classes. Schedules, electronic sign-up sheets and more information can be found on its website ckokickboxing.com.

Nadia Rima sells clothing, jewelry and accessories as well as various gift items. The boutique also handles events such as birthday parties and weddings. For more information, visit nadiarima.com.

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Movie theater likely to be incorporated as part of new development on Queens Blvd

A movie theater will likely be moving in to a brand new office building in Sunnyside.

Developers of the nine story building going up at 38-01 Queens Boulevard are in talks with a major movie theater chain to move in to the building, according to David Koptiev, owner of Platinum Realty, which is developing the property with Curbcut Urban Partners and RW Real Estate Group.

Koptiev said that the movie theater would likely occupy the first two floors of the building, or about 37,000 square feet. He would not specify which movie theater company is likely to occupy the space due to the confidential nature of their talks.

“There aren’t really any movie theaters in the Queens Boulevard corridor,” Koptiev said. “There’s a huge gap between Long Island City and Rego Park without a theater, so it would be a good addition to the area.”

The development of the building, called the QB38 Tower, was announced about a year ago after Curbcut Urban Partners purchased the property for $12,070,000 and partnered with Platinum.

The rest of the building will primarily hold state of the art medical offices and community facility space, Koptiev said.

The building will also have outdoor terraces and a 140-space parking garage in the building.

Koptiev said the building would tentatively be completed and open in about two years.

The announcement comes two years after Center Cinemas, which was located at 42-17 Queens Blvd, closed.

The Commercial Observer was first to break the story.

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Developer pushes shop plan, despite rejections

Even after plans to build a small shopping center in Forest Hills were shot down by city officials, the developer still aims to open the complex in six months.

David Koptiev of Gabriel Development Corp. vowed to resubmit plans for the two-story center – with six name-brand stores on the ground floor and offices above – on what is now a vacant lot at 71st and Metropolitan Aves.

“It’s only going to improve the area,” Koptiev said, predicting the Buildings Department would approve his revised plan in coming days.

Koptiev downplayed city records showing his plans had been rejected three times – twice in June and once in July – and called them misleading.

“It was rejected one time, but the building has three lots,” he said. “So they found something wrong with one of the lots, and they automatically rejected all three of them.”

The city rejected the plans because “something small” was wrong with them, Koptiev said.

The Buildings Department generally rejects applications if they do not meet building or zoning requirements, agency spokeswoman Caroline Sullivan said.

Locals wondered about the timing of the plans, which will likely be processed before the city enacts a new zoning code for southern Forest Hills.

“There’s something fishy. The little darlings might be trying to sneak something in,” said Barbara Stuchinski, president of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association, referring to the developer.

Zoning regulations now include a commercial component that would probably allow the proposed shopping center.

Though a new zoning code may soon take effect, Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said the changes would not affect the shopping center as currently planned.

There are also environmental concerns, since the proposed complex site – now surrounded by blue wooden boards – was an auto repair shop for decades.

Stuchinski said she did not see workers remediate the tainted soil, as was done before a nearby dry cleaner was converted into a 7-Eleven.

But Koptiev insisted remediation was done before he bought the land.

“No bank is going to let you purchase a property if there’s contamination,” he said. “Everything’s been cleaned up.”

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Fortunes change for Austin St., Metropolitan Ave. in Queens

The fortunes of two major commercial stretches in Forest Hills appear to be going in decidedly different directions.

What’s happening to Austin St. in the north and Metropolitan Ave. in the south offers a glimpse of how once-dominant business areas can become a victim of their own success – and how lesser-known locales can take advantage of that.

Locals maintain the advantage will always rest with Austin St., which has long benefited from its desirable location near the 71st-Continental Aves. subway station.

But soaring rents and vacant storefronts are now plaguing Austin, while Metropolitan – with lower rents, easier parking and many new shops and restaurants – seems on the rise.

Austin ailing?

For years, Austin St. has been a shopping mecca nestled between busy Queens Blvd. and leafy Forest Hills Gardens.

It was once lined with family-owned shops that offered everything from clothing and jewelry to records and gourmet foods.

“It was almost like walking down Fifth Avenue,” said Karen Koslowitz, the former City Councilwoman who has lived in Forest Hills for 47 years and may run for her old seat next year.

But Austin has changed dramatically in recent years. Many specialty shops have been replaced by chains. Scores of banks dot the area. And empty storefronts are commonplace.

One reason may be soaring rents.

Tony Rincon said he was lucky to find an affordable rent when he wanted to move his Renegade hair salon to a larger spot on Austin St.

“The chain stores are able to pay high rents,” Rincon said. “What really keeps this neighborhood going is the little stores.”

One reason there may be more vacancies is that landlords are willing to wait to get the tenants and rents they want, said Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce.

A large space at Austin St. and 69th Road that once housed Annie Sez and Mandees sits vacant. And a shop on a prime stretch of 71st Ave. has turned into a boarded-up eyesore.

Brown admitted some property owners “may have a different vision” than people who live in the neighborhood.

“It would be nice to get a deli and a coffee shop and a local hardware store – even if it was high end,” Brown said.

Mighty Metro in the Making?

Less than a mile separates 71st Ave. at Austin St. – the heart of that district – from the corner of 71st Ave. and Metropolitan Ave., known locally as Metro.

There, developers David Koptiev and Sammy Aranbayev are putting the finishing touches on what many consider a symbol of Metro’s rise: a two-story shopping center for eight tenants.

A T-Mobile store and a fitness gym have already signed 10-year leases to join the developers’ realty group in the 12,000-square-foot space, and plan to open as early as Nov. 1, Koptiev said.

He also confirmed talks with a bank and a coffee chain – rumored to be Dunkin’ Donuts, not Starbucks – to move into a spot previously occupied by a run-down auto repair shop.

But that’s far from the only activity on the block.

Customers have long frequented ethnic restaurants, antique shops and – at 72nd Rd. – the Cinemart Cinemas and Eddie’s Sweet Shop, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor.

More options entered the mix in recent years: a wine bar, 7-Eleven, CVS pharmacy and new eateries serving everything from Italian to Japanese fare.

A school complex with an entrance at Selfridge St. is scheduled to open in a few years.

Just beyond the Forest Hills border, as Metro reaches the hectic intersection with Woodhaven Blvd., customers flock to a new complex with Trader Joe’s, Staples and Michaels arts and crafts.

At 72nd Ave., Dom Realty is offering a former law office for $3,000 a month. A doctor, a restaurant and a deli are vying to get in, said agent Rafael Normatoe.

And a long-vacant space near Sizzler at 70th Rd. may get a dry cleaner or nail salon, said ReMax agent Nancy Yen.

Likening Metro to a “small-town Main St.,” Forest Hills civic leader Barbara Stuchinski said these changes will strengthen the local economy while maintaining its friendly style.

“It’s a more inclusive neighborhood area – the way Austin St. used to be when I was a teenager, which is 60 years ago,” Stuchinski said.

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Starbucks perks along with plans for 5th shop in Forest Hills

As high rents and food vendors encroach upon Forest Hills, another Manhattan ubiquity may not be far behind.

A developer has stirred up plans with Starbucks for a fifth shop in the zip code – and 19th in Queens – as part of a two-story complex opening next spring at 71st and Metropolitan Aves.

Barring a negotiation breakdown, the coffee giant would join a well-known bank and a real estate office on the 12,000-square-foot piece of land, formerly occupied by an auto repair shop, said developer David Koptiev.

“If we didn’t think it would do well, we wouldn’t buy the property,” Koptiev said. “It’s much easier to build in other areas.

“Here, I just wanted to see esthetic changes to the community, something that will help out.”

Koptiev expects to sign leases with Starbucks and the bank in the next three months.

They would open in March or April, below the offices of Koptiev’s Gabriel Development Group, he said.

Starbucks officials were mum about the deal but were upbeat about expanding the company’s reach into the borough.

Company spokesman Dan Lewis confirmed that another Starbucks is set to open this year in Forest Hills at Queens Blvd. and Union Turnpike.

There are now 228 Starbucks stores in the five boroughs.

Plans for the Metropolitan Ave. complex call for a small number of parking spaces in front. It also could grow to include a fourth tenant, depending on the bank’s desired size, Koptiev said.

But some residents are concerned the center would draw too much traffic to a busy stretch of Metropolitan Ave. that will soon include a Trader Joe’s and, in 2010, a campus for 1,900 students.

“That whole area is going to be inundated with traffic,” said Frank Gulluscio, district manager of Community Board 6.

Others wondered why Koptiev never presented his plan at public meetings.

“It’s just a question of everyone blending into the community and getting along,” said Lynn Schulman, 49, of Forest Hills.

Despite the community outcry, Koptiev faces few obstacles.

Kate Lindquist, a spokeswoman for the Buildings Department, said there are no active stop-work orders for the site.

Workers are clearing dirt as they prepare to lay the foundation, Koptiev said.

Asked about residents’ concerns, Koptiev politely replied: “Maybe we should make a poll. What would you rather see – a nice shopping center or an empty hole?”

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Curbcut Urban Partners to build office tower in Long Island City

A development partnership led by Curbcut Urban Partners will construct a new, nine-story, 146,000 s/f mixed-use office, retail and community facility property at 38-01 Queens Blvd. in Long Island City.

Aaron Malinsky, president and CEO of Curbcut Urban Partners, said the new development, to be called QB38 Tower, is designed specifically for medical, community-based services and non-profit uses.

Non-profit brokerage veteran David Lebenstein, executive managing director of Cushman & Wakefield, is heading up an exclusive leasing agency team that includes Robair Reichenstein, Debra Wollens and Michael Blanchard of Cushman & Wakefield.

“This represents the first new development of modern, efficient office and community space in the area in more than a decade, and is specifically designed with the needs of community facility, medical and cultural non-profit users in mind,” said Malinsky.

“This development draws on our long experience in identifying sites and creating properties that support the economic growth and well-being of local communities.”
According to Malinsky, the property fills a void in the Sunnyside/Long Island City neighborhood for new, high-quality and efficient commercial space specifically geared toward medical and non-profit users that want modern space, great transportation and cost-effective solutions.
The glass and steel property will offer flexible, high-ceiling space for lease or for commercial condominium purchase. Located less than a minute’s walk from the subway, it provides a 15-minute commute to Grand Central Terminal.
Typical floor plates will be 18,500 s/f and dedicated ground floor entrances are available for large tenants. Scheduled for a Spring 2018 delivery, the project offers a 25-year ICAP real estate tax abatement and features rooftop amenity space and outdoor terraces, as well as indoor, on-site parking and bicycle storage.

“Many non-profit and community service oriented tenants have been squeezed out of prime Manhattan markets due to soaring rents,ˮ sai9d Lebenstein.

“Others are looking to capitalize on the Manhattan sales market and sell older buildings in favor of brand new space just minutes away by subway. This project is unique in the welcoming approach taken by the developers to respond to tenant needs through custom design and deal structure.”
Space is available for lease or sale.

The building will include 40,000 s/f of retail space being marketed by David Koptiev of Platinum Realty, one of the development partners for the project.

“A variety of community related retail uses are being considered for the space that will be geared to fill the service and shopping needs of both office users and the surrounding residential communities in Sunnyside and greater Woodside,” said Koptiev.

Curbcut Urban Partners is a private, family owned New York-based real estate acquisition and development company with more than 40 years of success in building visionary and cutting-edge properties.

Recent projects include the City Point development in downtown Brooklyn, Throggs Neck Shopping Center, River Plaza and Fordham Place in The Bronx, a mixed-use development on the site of the old Sears Building on Fordham Road in the Bronx that includes retail, a new office tower and middle school.

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Engineers Labor Union Sheds Queens HQ for $3.7M

Commercial Observer reported last November that a Queens-based chapter of an engineers union was looking to sell its long-time New York home in the Richmond Hill area of Queens. CO has learned that the property, at 115-06 Myrtle Avenue, has sold for $3.7 million.

SEE ALSO: Last Mile Shipping Company Takes Queens Warehouse Space
Forest Hills-based retail and offices property developer Platinum Realty bought the vacant four-parcel property from International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30 yesterday, said Suzuki Capital‘s Colby Swartz, who represented the union along with colleagues Dino Mouzakitis and Thomas Li. David Koptiev, a partner of Platinum Realty confirmed the purchase and the price.

“They were not represented on the transaction,” Swartz said via email.

The site consists of four parcels at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 115th Street, formerly known as the Richmond Hill Post Office.

They “were bought from 1982 thru 1993 to assemble the current development opportunity,” Mr. Swartz previously told CO.

The union moved out in the last week of December 2015 to 16-16 Whitestone Expressway.

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Queens Blvd Property Sells For $12 Million, Development Likely

A Queens Boulevard property was purchased by a developer for a little over $12 million late last month.

The property, located at 38-01 Queens Blvd., was bought for $12,070,000 by Curbcut Queens Blvd, a company linked to the Forest Hills-based Platinum Realty.

The property is currently zoned for light manufacturing (M1-4), although retail, office and hotels are permitted to be built on the site.

David Koptiev, the owner of Platinum, confirmed the purchase of the site. He was not willing to disclose what his plans are for the property. However, his company is known for developing old manufacturing sites and converting them into retail and office space.

“I love the neighborhood,” Koptiev said. “Give me a couple of months and I will tell you what we will be doing.”

Platinum has not filed building plans with the Department of Buildings at this time.

The site is adjacent to 38-15 Queens Blvd., which is occupied by a car wash. The owner of that property reached out to Community Board 2 last March to discuss possible development plans on that site. Where those discussions went are not known at press time. CB 2 Chair Pat O’Brien was not immediately available for comment. Nevertheless, the property owner has not filed any plans with the DOB.

The acquisition of the 38-01 Queens Blvd. property comes at a time when demolition is about to start at 39-11 to 39-19 Queens Blvd. Workers were at that site today putting up a fence in preparation for that building’s demise. The owner Jerry Kahen has yet to file building plans. However, workers said ground floor retail and apartment units are planned.

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Havurat Yisrael has a new home

For one Jewish congregation, the new mixed-use building at 106-20 70 Road in Forest Hills marks a long return home.

Residents are moving into the 24 condos, all with balconies. There are studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and retail space for rent on the first floor, said Benjamin Koptiev, of Platinum Realty Associates, which is responsible for sales and rentals.

And a nearly 200-seat synagogue has been built with an outdoor patio, sky roof and plans for stained-glass windows.

It’s the new home for Havurat Yisrael, whose synagogue was irrevocably damaged by a construction accident in August 1998 involving a neighboring building. None of today’s adjacent structures were responsible.

It took 17 years to build the congregation’s new home due to “the lawsuit that was indeterminably long, the insurance that was insufficient, plans for construction and a succession of disappointments with developers and purchasers,” said Rabbi David Algaze.

The congregation decided to sell the site to a developer that then erected the new building with the synagogue inside.

Havurat Yisrael, an Orthodox congregation, was started by Algaze, a former assistant rabbi at the Forest Hills Jewish Center, and about 60 families in 1981. It had about 300 families at the time of the construction accident.

During the 17 years without its own building, the congregation held services throughout Forest Hills: at the former Dov Revel High School Yeshiva on 113th Street; at the Agudas Achim synagogue on 69th Road; at a house on 70th Road; at the Central Queens Y on 108th Street; and finally in a storefront on Austin Street near the 112th Precinct.

The rabbi was offered other positions, some very prominent that paid more, and some in the New York area, but he did not want to abandon his congregation.

The rabbi credits the congregation’s survival to its diversity, adaptability and support for new people coming into the synagogue.

He noted how the class in Spanish grew from four to 30 people this past Sunday. “There is a lot of interest by people who are from Spanish-speaking countries,” said the rabbi, who himself is from Argentina.

Down the road, Algaze would like the new site to house not just a synagogue but a “center for Jewish life” with cafÈ mornings outside on the patio’s informal setting.

People could browse Jewish books, ask questions, have speakers and use computers available for Judaic research, with volunteers from Jewish schools guiding people obtaining information. Hebrew and adult education classes are planned for weekdays.

The congregants will walk their Torah scrolls, containing the Old Testament, down Austin Street with police escort, into their new home this Sunday, starting at 10 a.m.

Festive Sabbath services and a catered meal are planned for Saturday.

The synagogue’s policy is to not turn away people without tickets for the High Holidays but reservations are suggested to ensure a seat.

“This is not only a celebration for Havurat Yisrael but for Forest Hills. We’re not going down, we’re going up,” Algaze said. “It should give all of us encouragement and hope.”

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38-01 Queens Blvd Reveal

As property values in Long Island City skyrocket, developers are starting to look a little further afield for places to build office space. A pair of developers are taking a chance on an industrially zoned strip in Sunnyside, just across the rail yards from Long Island City. They just filed plans for an eight-story office and medical building there at 38-01 Queens Boulevard, on the corner of 38th Street.

The 136-foot-tall development would replace a two-story factory formerly occupied by the Liberty Brass Turning Company, which manufactures machine parts. The firm relocated out to Long Island and sold their sizable warehouse for $12,070,000 in December 2015. Curbcut Urban Partners LLC and Platinum Realty Associates scooped up the 22,500-square-foot plot and revealed their office plans to the Wall Street Journal in May.

The new building would hold 40,357 square feet of commercial space and 89,540 square feet of medical offices. The project is about twice as large as it would be if it only held commercial or industrial space, because the medical offices function like a zoning bonus on top of the allowed commercial space. This area is zoned M1-4 for low-density factories and warehouses, but all kinds of commercial development are allowed.

SBLM Architects are handling the design.

To view full article on New York Yimby: Click Here

Curbcut, Platinum Realty Partners

As property values in Long Island City skyrocket, developers are starting to look a little further afield for places to build office space. A pair of developers are taking a chance on an industrially zoned strip in Sunnyside, just across the rail yards from Long Island City. They just filed plans for an eight-story office and medical building there at 38-01 Queens Boulevard, on the corner of 38th Street.

The 136-foot-tall development would replace a two-story factory formerly occupied by the Liberty Brass Turning Company, which manufactures machine parts. The firm relocated out to Long Island and sold their sizable warehouse for $12,070,000 in December 2015. Curbcut Urban Partners LLC and Platinum Realty Associates scooped up the 22,500-square-foot plot and revealed their office plans to the Wall Street Journal in May.

The new building would hold 40,357 square feet of commercial space and 89,540 square feet of medical offices. The project is about twice as large as it would be if it only held commercial or industrial space, because the medical offices function like a zoning bonus on top of the allowed commercial space. This area is zoned M1-4 for low-density factories and warehouses, but all kinds of commercial development are allowed.

SBLM Architects are handling the design.

To view full article on New York Yimby: Click Here

Shopping Center Coming to Coney Island Ave at Avenue H

The corner of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue H, which most recently had an auto repair business, will soon be turned into a shopping center. David Koptiev from Platinum Realty Associates, which is developing the site, tells us that they haven’t rented any of the stores yet, and that they hope to start construction in the next few months.

The developers are known for converting old gas stations into retail areas, typically featuring major national chains. They recently took over a site that had previously faced controversy in Queens, where locals believed the construction would lead to a hot-sheets motel. As the new owner, Koptiev insisted it would be a regular, bustling commercial corridor.

Permits have been filed for full demolition of the buildings on the premises, and it looks like they plan to subdivide the lot into three new zoning areas. We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

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Ozone Park Shopping Center

A new shopping plaza in Ozone Park will have a wide variety of retailers and restaurants, including national brands, according to a representative for Queens-based Platinum Realty Associates, which owns the center.

Dunkin’ Donuts and Domino’s Pizza have already signed on as tenants, as well as a “high-class Japanese restaurant” and a phone carrier, said David Koptiev, vice president of Platinum.

Koptiev added that they are also wrapping up negotiations with a medical office for a spot in the building, which is located where Cross Bay Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue meet.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be very, very nice,” Koptiev said. “It’s more jobs, it’s more stores, it’s bringing a lot to the community.”

The one-story building should be completed by the end of the year, and retailers and tenants will begin moving in by early next year.

Koptiev said they are looking to add three or four more retailers to the mix, but only tenants that “aren’t going to hurt the community or compete with businesses that are already there.”

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Victory over unwanted hotel

Community members claimed victory last week after a long fight to stop construction of a “hot-sheet motel” near Springfield Gardens High School reached a conclusion they said was much more appropriate for the neighborhood.

City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) called the gathering after his office had learned the night before that a new developer was to begin construction of a strip mall at the corner of Springfield Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue, putting an end to the struggle.

“For six years this community has stood tall and it has said we don’t want a hot-sheet motel 70 feet from our local high school,” he said, “a hotel that would have some of the sleaziest customers in all of Queens right across from where we send our children to school.”

David Koptiev, the developer, said he planned to finish construction on the building, which would house about five tenants, in about a year.

The future of the site, where a partial foundation has already been laid, had been in question since 2011, when the city Department of Buildings revoked the hotel’s construction permit.

Community members learned that motel developer Saliesh Ghandi had built and owned several pay-by-the-hour, no-tell hotels in Brooklyn and feared the impact one in Springfield Gardens would have, especially in such close proximity to a school.

“Honestly, we knew that it was stopped from last year after we took him to court and we forced the Buildings Department to retract the permit they gave to him,” said community activist Michael Duncan. “But what was to come we wanted to find out. What would be placed here?”

The roadways near John F. Kennedy International Airport are dotted with hotels, but when excavation of a lot more than 2 miles from the airport began for a proposed three-story, 65-room hotel in 2005, neighbors feared the lodge would attract an unwanted clientele.

The neighbors believed they had found their savior in 2008, when a rezoning prohibited the construction of a hotel on the lot and the DOB yanked its construction permit.

Ghandi’s lawyer, however, argued that the developer had already made significant progress on the foundation and the city Board of Standards and Appeals gave the thumbs-up to let the project continue.

Duncan filed a lawsuit he said delayed the project, and in 2011 the Buildings Department pulled the permit, saying Ghandi had not completed construction in enough time.

He quietly sold the property in August, and the community was relieved when construction fences went up last week to learn that a new developer planned to build a strip mall.

William McDonald, president of Advocates for Change, said the victory was an encouraging shot in the arm for a community fighting other fights, such as a plan to extend a runway at JFK.

“We did take up this fight six years ago,” he said. “It shows that change is happening in our community. We are on top of it and we’re going to continue to stay on top of it.”

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