Completion appears imminent at 136-68 Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing. The nine-story, 67,115-square-foot building would add 26,415 square feet of commercial space to the vibrant retail corridor, as well as a 16,877-square-foot ambulatory center and 122 parking spaces within several underground levels. Raymond Chan Architect PC is behind the distinctive, angular design. Mandarin Enterprises II is the developer.
The 9,073-square-foot lot previously housed an unremarkable, single-story retail structure, with a rear yard facing the Long Island Rail Road corridor that bisects the block. The first comprehensive permit for the new structure dates to July 2010. The demolition permit was issued in July 2011, and the site was cleared shortly thereafter. Foundation work commenced by 2013, and the steel frame rose above street level the following year. The structure was mostly complete by late 2016, with ground-level work taking place in recent months. The recent removal of the project board indicates that construction fencing could be coming down soon.
136-68 Roosevelt Avenue sits next to the Flushing-Main Street terminus of the 7 train, which anchors the city’s largest Chinese community. Roosevelt Avenue sees heavy pedestrian traffic throughout the day, and the 12-foot-deep front yard would provide a much-needed expansion for the crowded sidewalk. The space would serve as the landing for a mid-block crosswalk, which leads to the block-long Lippmann Plaza pedestrian arcade across the street. The arcade connects to Flushing Commons, a large project under construction a block north, where a network of public spaces would unify the mixed-use complex.
Raymond Chan Architect has projects throughout Queens, with some of the firm’s largest works in progress within Long Island City’s burgeoning Court Square District. 136-68 Roosevelt Avenue, a block south of the architect’s 39th Avenue office, is a bit closer to home. The architect’s signature light-colored metal panels clad the building’s base and will eventually host a vibrant array of advertisements.
The 42-foot-high podium matches the cornices of its neighbors. Small-scale retail establishments take up the townhouse row to the east. Ornamented pre-war facades, combined with colorful signage, create a lively street presence and contrast with the long, windowless department store wall to the west. Despite its prominent height, 136-68 Roosevelt Avenue does not overwhelm its neighbors, as its narrow, 50-foot-wide street frontage, glass-fronted retail and proposed signage would positively contribute to the street.
The light green glass of the upper floors undulates in gentle slopes and terraces. Permits list the building height at 123 feet, which is high enough to allow for panoramas of the surrounding area from the upper floors. The rooftop bulkhead, the height of which is typically excluded from permits, may boost the figure further.
The south façade sports floor-to-ceiling windows set within white mullions. It opens upon the single-story rear podium, which takes up the rest of the 180-foot-long property. Its 50-foot-long terrace counts as a “rear yard equivalent” under the zoning code.
Small-footprint, high-density, mixed-use projects that engage the neighborhood with ground-level retail create pedestrian-friendly commercial districts. 136-68 Roosevelt Avenue is no exception, making it a a welcome addition to the city’s fourth-largest central business district.