Developer Looks to Turn LIC's Court Square into 'Nightlife Hub'

By Jeanmarie Evelly on February 27, 2013 3:29pm 

ASTORIA — A new beer hall and a music venue might be on tap for Court Square — part of a plan to turn the booming neighborhood into a nightlife hub.

Rockrose Development Corp. is building thousands of luxury residential apartment units in the industrial Long Island City neighborhood, but retail amenities are still sparse.

The company's president, Justin Elghanayan wants to change that.

Rockrose has plans to draw retail tenants to the neighborhood — with hopes for a beer hall, music venue and high-end restaurants — with the anticipation that Court Square will be one of the city's next nightlife and cultural destinations.

"I think that it has the potential to become the place where people come to hang out," Elghanayan said, pointing the area's convenient proximity to a handful of subway lines. "It can actually become a nightlife hub."

Rockrose's plans include several buildings on Jackson Avenue between 44th Drive and 43rd Avenue, where the company owns all but two of the properties on the block. The buildings sit behind one of its planned residential projects, a 975-unit building planned for 43-25 Hunter St.

Elghanayan says the vacant properties total 18,000-square feet, and he plans to convert them into "funky retail spaces" by knocking out the second and third floors.

"So you'll have these kind of exposed walls and beams and high ceilings," he said.

Tenants so far include arts group See.Me (formerly Artists Wanted), at 26-19 Jackson Ave., but the five remaining buildings available to be leased.

"It is very likely that 26-15 Jackson Avenue will have a music venue," Elghanayan said, referring to an empty storefront that used to house a car service company.

"It has high ceilings. It’s the right sort of proportions," he said. "Walking in there, it almost feels like a music venue right now.

"In terms of the other spaces, it's going to evolve organically depending on what the market place brings to us."

Rockrose's other retail developments in the area include plans for a high-end 15,000-square-foot supermarket, to be built on the first floor of planned 42-story residential tower called Linc LIC at 43-10 Crescent St.

The company is also leasing out a garage at 43-15 Crescent St. to famed eatery M. Wells, which is planning to open a steakhouse there.

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