A six-story, mixed-use building at 29-10 Broadway, one of the largest ongoing developments in Astoria, approaches topping-out. Ground floor retail would add 15,940 square feet of space to the busy commercial strip. The 64 rental units span 44,060 square feet and range in size from 517 to 983 square feet, with an average of 688 square feet per apartment. Jestam Realty is developing the project, with Aufgang Architects behind the design and GAC Builders Ltd. providing contracting services.
A C-Town supermarket previously stood at the 20,000-square foot site, which takes up an entire block between 29th and 30th streets and stretches 100 feet deep. The single-story structure took up the western half of the property. The garish, bright red building, adjacent to a fenced-off parking lot, had a suburban vibe that clashed with the neighborhood’s character. The community will have to cope with the supermarket’s absence for around one more year. The Food Emporium proposed at the ground floor would be operated by the same family that ran the preceding store.
Curiously, the construction permit, filed in February 2015, describes the project as an expansion of the supermarket building. In fact, the site was cleared entirely by early 2016. The steel frame rose above ground level by the summer.
The use of structural steel allows for widely spaced columns at the ground level. Ceilings would rise as high as eighteen feet. Tall storefront windows would engage the pedestrian realm with a transparency appropriate for the commercial district.
The design strikes a delicate balance between tradition and modernity, and intertwined horizontal and vertical patterns break down the scale of the bulky structure. Window grids reference tight mullion patterns of traditional loft-style casement windows, yet large glass panes channel a contemporary aesthetic. Piers of beige brick pay homage to pre-war neighbors and lend verticality to the corners and the mid-section. Grey panels along the floor plates provide a horizontal counterbalance. Shallow niches and recesses create facade depth. Wraparound windows orient the corners toward their respective intersections.
The building underuses the maximum allowed structural envelope in order to contextually address the neighborhood. The Broadway street wall and parapet aligns with neighbors. The structure gradually recedes in the rear, where it meets low-rises along the side streets.
Building permits list the structure at five stories. A small, 1,037-square-foot space below the east bulkhead comprises the sixth floor and likely contains the “rooftop party room” listed among the amenities. According to the zoning diagram, its roof height stops an inch short of the maximum permitted 70-foot limit. The bulkhead brings the structural height to 77 feet. A long setback terrace faces Broadway, while another on the opposite side looks over the large second-floor rear deck.
The development exemplifies neighborhood’s ongoing shift to an upmarket clientele. The architect website lists amenities such as a lounge, a gym, outdoor workout space, and private terraces. Parking includes 32 tenant spaces, as well as shopper parking at the lower level.
29-10 Broadway significantly contributes to the western end of the commercial district along Broadway, which traditionally extends east of the Broadway station of the N and W train, a block east of the new project. Other new projects, such as the seven-story, 19-unit mixed use building proposed at 29-28 Broadway a block west, continue to the district’s progression to the East River waterfront, which sits a few blocks further. We hope that future developments and streetscape improvements would transform Broadway into a promenade that connects the neighborhood to waterfront institutions such as the Socrates Sculpture Park and the Isamu Noguchi Museum.