If you remember the recent topping out of 23-10 Queens Plaza South as the second tallest building in Queens, hearing of another contender usurping its place so quickly might give you a sense of déjà vu. In a testament to Long Island City’s dizzying pace of development, the title passes to Tower 28, previously known as 28 on 28th.
42-12 28th Street will rise 647 feet and 58 stories to become the city’s tallest residential tower outside of Manhattan. Upon completion, its 477 luxury rental units will place it among the largest apartment buildings in the Court Square district, second only to the 709-unit Linc LIC two blocks southwest.
In mere months, Tower 28 has already made its presence felt across the borough and beyond. The building rose rather fast, averaging more than seven floors per month. It passed the ten-story mark by July 2015 and climbed above the halfway point in September. As we mentioned earlier this week, concrete pours for the highest mechanical levels are almost finished, with only a couple dozen feet of rooftop bulkhead left to go.
The 658-foot-tall One Court Square four blocks southwest was the city’s tallest skyscraper outside of Manhattan starting in 1990. It stood as the uncontested king of Queens until just a few years ago, when a mid-rise skyline between Queens Plaza and Court Square rose to compete with the Hunters Point waterfront. Tower 28 is the first to stand in the same league as the old record holder. While the reigning champ will maintain a slight height advantage, the new tower by Queens Plaza holds eight more floors.
The two mark the focal points of central Long Island City, anchoring the rapidly rising skyline. They will maintain their dominance for at least several years, though taller buildings are already planned for the vicinity.
The project’s design came from Goldstein, Hill & West. The architecture firm is reshaping the Court Square skyline with other projects as well, such as the three-tower, 1,789-unit development underway at 23-15 44th Drive four blocks to the southwest. If constructed as planned, the building will become the borough’s tallest at 963 feet.
The 398,702-square-foot Tower 28 project straddles a 200-foot-long, through-block site between 27th and 28th streets, just 70 feet south of Queens Plaza. In the past, the site was occupied by a parking lot on 27th and an unremarkable, two-story, red brick commercial building on 28th. Most of the 17,500-square-foot lot sits on 28th, where the main tower spans a 125-foot front. On 27th Street, a nearly 100-foot-tall, rectangular wing will house a secondary entrance and garage access. The resulting “courtyard” atop the two-story base in between will be sheltered from three sides. When weather permits, its landscaped deck will open to the third floor pool via operable glass walls.
The skyscraper soars straight from the sidewalk as a sleek glass surface. Its shape is stacked as two rectangular sections. The smaller segment stretches to the sundeck situated at the 44th story on the south side. The second setback sits at the 58th story, supplying spectacular skyline scenes from one of the highest open air spaces in the city. Although glass facades are something of a standard for Long Island City skyscrapers, the structure’s slender, single setback silhouette is surprisingly singular. The turquoise façade is accented with a distinguishing staggered pattern.
The building’s floor-to-ceiling windows and upper level terraces and balconies offer some of the most breathtaking vistas in all of New York. A virtually complete lack of obstruction offers 360-degree views of the skyline from Lower Manhattan to Midtown to the Hudson River Palisades to the vast expanses of the boroughs to the north, east, and south. Even incoming competition will, for the most part, stand far enough to ensure minimal obstruction. However, the building already stands within the densest skyscraper cluster in Queens, and in a few years its lower floors will face other tall buildings in nearly all directions.
Before proceeding with the erstwhile 28 on 28th, Heatherwood Communities LLC developed a slender, 27-story luxury rental tower on an adjacent lot to the west, at the intersection of 27th Street and 42nd Road.
Since the floors above will feature mostly unobstructed, northwest-bound Manhattan views, the architects placed the core along the southeast façade, where it faces the 21-story, 325-foot Two Gotham Center across 28th Street. The sleek but bulky office tower, which was Court Square’s second tallest upon its 2011 completion, rises almost exactly half as high as its new neighbor. While northbound views across Queens Plaza are largely open, further obstruction will come in the form of 41-20 27th Street (15 stories), 41-21 28th Street (16 stories), and the LIC Marriott and Residential Tower (31 stories). On the plus side, this setting makes for an intensely urban, cosmopolitan vibe that is scarce elsewhere in the borough.
According to the Queens Tribune, one-bedroom apartments will comprise around 60 percent of the units, with studios, two-bedroom flats, and a few three-bedroom homes making up the rest. Rent is expected to be no less than that at 27 on 27th, meaning that the cheapest offerings would start at least at $3,200 or higher. For this price, future tenants would have access to the aforementioned swimming pool, bike storage, fitness center, screening room, children’s playroom, gaming lounge, and a sky lounge on the 56th floor. Though the LIC Special Zoning District has no minimum parking requirements, a 50-car garage will be provided. Ground level retail will ensure the project’s interaction with the neighborhood.
Despite the project’s family-friendly amenities, Heatherwood co-owner Doughas Patrick sees Tower 28 as a prime destination for career-oriented renters. The adjacent Queens Plaza is a source of pedestrian activity and unparalleled transit access, though these benefits go hand-in-hand with noise and congestion. Both the Queens Plaza and Queensboro Plaza subway stations are within a one block radius and offer access to the E, M, N, Q, R, and 7 trains. The Brooklyn-bound G train’s Court Square station sits 1,500 feet southwest. Although the block’s bus traffic makes it a light version of an outdoor terminal, its three stops form one of the key bus hubs in Queens, offering access to the Q32, Q39, Q60, Q66, Q69, Q100, Q101, and Q102 lines.
The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge bridge puts Midtown Manhattan only a few minutes away by driving, biking, or even walking. A commercial strip on Queens Plaza South offers small scale retail and budget dining.
The blocks to the south are considerably quieter, where dense residential developments are steadily replacing the commerce and industry of yesteryear. Aside from the Queens Plaza retail, the neighborhood currently offers few retail and dining options, but this will change in the coming years. The dozens of ongoing projects across the neighborhood tend to feature ground floor retail. Upon completion, they will bring hundreds of thousands of square feet worth of shopping and services to the currently desolate district. The planned conversion at 27-35 Jackson Avenue is particularly notable since it will bring 46,500 square feet of commercial space just one block south of the project.
Until now, sky-high residences have been rising almost exclusively on Manhattan and Brooklyn’s turf. When its doors open in 2017, Tower 28 will re-introduce Queens as a major player in the luxury real estate game.