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See The Future of Long Island City's Changing Skyline

By Jeanmarie Evelly | August 21, 2015 7:33am | Updated on August 21, 2015 4:19pm
 A number of high-rise projects are transforming the look of the neighborhood.
The Tallest Buildings in Long Island City
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QUEENS — The Citigroup Building at One Court Square once stood out as the most visible structure in Long Island City, towering over the rest of the neighborhood.

But in recent years, the office tower — which stands 49 stories and 673 feet tall, according to city records — has been joined by a number of other high-rise buildings, and even more are in the pipeline, including one project that's expected to surpass it in height.

From the Hunters Point waterfront to Queens Plaza, Long Island City is getting taller.

"It's an enormous change," said Pat O'Brien, the chair of Community Board 2. For many of the 63 years he's lived in the neighborhood, the 11-story former Bank of Manhattan building in Queens Plaza, known as the Clock Tower, was the tallest property around.

"What's happened in the last five years is literally a proliferation," he said. "It's astounding."

Here's a rundown of some of the projects that have changed the look of the neighborhood, or are set to.

TF Cornerstone's East Coast Project
The developer is responsible for six luxury residential properties that have largely transformed the look of the Hunters Point waterfront that's visible from Manhattan. Its tallest is the 41-story, 400-foot-high 4615 Center Blvd., built in 2012. Another notable building is 4610 Center Blvd., a 25-story, 258-foot-tall rental that was built directly behind the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign.

Derek Marcus, Director of Acquisitions and Development at TF Cornerstone, said Long Island City has transformed since the company started building there more than a decade ago, when it was an "isolated, industrial neighborhood that no one would think of living."

"It took a lot of work to bring it where it is today," he said.

TF Cornerstone is not finished with the area yet: It's been tapped to build the next two towers in the city's Hunters Point South affordable housing project, developing the parcel of waterfront between Borden and 54th avenues.

28-30 Jackson Ave.
Tishman Speyer is building this 590-foot, 53-story building, which is set to hold 658 apartments, Department of Building (DOB) records show. The same developer is also constructing a 44-story, 504-foot building two blocks away, at 28-02 Jackson Ave., according to a representative for the company. Both projects are expected to finish in 2018.

42-12 28th St.
Heatherwood is building a 477-unit apartment building, to be called 28 on 28th and will stand at a towering 596 feet and 58 stories. It's located around the block from one of Heatherwood's existing — but much shorter, at 288 feet — luxury rental buildings, 27 on 27th, at 27-03 42nd Rd. The company did not immediately return a call about when the building would be finished.

43-22 Queens St.
This building, from developer Rockrose, will be slightly smaller than Heatherwood's project at 54 stories and 580-feet tall. The site is the home of the former Eagle Electric Factory, and a representative for Rockrose previously told DNAinfo that the developer will be renovating the old building and putting the apartment tower above it.

Rockrose has other high-rise plans for the neighborhood, too. Its project at 43-25 Hunter Street will reach up to 50 stories, or 509 feet tall. The developer also owns Linc LIC, a 42-story, 428-foot high rental building that opened at 43-10 Crescent St. in 2013, boasting amenities including a movie-screening room and squash courts.

29-27 41st Ave.
The Queens Plaza Park project is being planned by Property Markets Group and The Hakim Organization and is poised to become the tallest building in Queens, surpassing the height of the Citigroup building by almost 100 feet.

The plans so far call for the tower to stand 70 stories, or 772 feet tall, according to DOB records — though the developer paid nearly $56 million this spring to buy unused air rights from the MTA that would allow it to build as tall as 77 stories.

The building will be located right next to the iconic Clock Tower building, which was recently declared a city landmark. The site will have 930 apartments, retail space, a parking garage with 100 spaces and amenities including a health club and swimming pool, according to DOB records.

In addition to these, there's more in store that's expected to change Long Island City's landscape. More buildings will be built as part of the Hunters Point South project, developing the southern tip of the Hunters Point waterfront — including an addition to Hunters Point South Park that will include a large scenic platform overlooking the river.

The city is also studying parts of Queens Plaza and Court Square for a possible rezoning, one that aims to identify opportunities for more affordable housing.

With the development comes concerns from residents and community leaders alike who worry that the neighborhood's infrastructure — like schools, medical facilities and transportation options — may not keep up with the explosion of new buildings and the new people who come with them.

"The services that are needed to support it all are not there," said Community Board 2 Chair O'Brien, who said the board aims to advocate for "responsible development" but has little say in projects that are developed as-of-right.

"You can talk to the developers, and they all want to be good neighbors, and many of them are good neighbors, but developers are going to develop," he said.