As Queens’ burgeoning Hispanic and East Asian immigrant communities grow beyond their traditional neighborhood boundaries, Elmhurst has seen a minor construction boom. Developers are scooping up cheap properties in the central Queens neighborhood and building hotels, office space, and of course housing.
Yesterday’s filings brought plans for two four-story apartment buildings at 40-47 and 40-49 77th Street, between 41st and Roosevelt Avenues and next to the Elmhurst Hospital. The twin developments would each hold five apartments divided across 3,984 square feet of residential space, producing an average, rental-sized unit of 796 square feet.
The first three floors would have just one unit a piece, and the fourth floor would include two units. And the first floor apartment in both buildings would be a duplex, with a half bath and storage space in the cellar.
The pair of buildings will squeeze onto one property, but the developer has decided to separate them into two new tax lots.
The 4,000-square-foot lot is currently home to a brick two-family house built in the 1920s. Cornish Management LLC bought it for $1,750,000 in March, shelling out a fairly high $218 per buildable square foot.
Future renters will have easy access to several train lines, with the 7, E, F, M, and R only a few blocks west at the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Broadway.
Over the last decade, thousands of new immigrants have flocked to Elmhurst, tracing their origins to Ecuador, China, the Philippines, Mexico, and Bangladesh. Broadway and Roosevelt Avenues, the two nearby commercial drags, could both accommodate much larger buildings. Contextual zoning along Broadway is particularly limiting, because it caps new construction at 50 or 80 feet, depending on the block.
Higher density zoning would allow small and medium-sized developers to build more reasonably priced housing for new arrivals, and it would encourage new construction in a part of Queens that’s well-served by the subway.