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Old Posted Feb 9, 2015, 3:39 AM
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Not much going on here but the neighboring Sky View Parc project keeps growing in size.

A Robust Reception After a Rocky Start

FEB. 6, 2015

Interest was strong during a recent unveiling of the Grand at Sky View Parc, the next phase in an ongoing mixed-use project in Flushing, Queens. In one weekend day last month, buyers snapped up more than half the units for sale.

Sky View Parc, a mixed-use project in Flushing, Queens, that stumbled during the recession, only to right itself quickly in subsequent years, is barreling ahead with its next phase to a very strong reception.

The 14-acre complex of three condominium towers, with a total of 448 apartments atop a shopping mall, is adding a fourth tower on that same mall roof. The new tower will have 235 units with balconies. And two more high-rises, with a total of about 560 units, are scheduled to follow in the next few years.

Though the new tower is barely out of the ground, interest has been intense. Buyers snapped up more than half of the units in a single weekend day last month when sales launched, according to Onex Real Estate Partners, its developer.

Bordered by train tracks, the polluted Flushing Creek and a city housing project, Sky View Parc can seem an unlikely hit. But Flushing, a major hub for New York’s Asian population, is enjoying a burst in interest, and in development projects.

“I’ve always wondered why Sky View has done so well, considering its surroundings,” said Xuejie Wong, a real estate lawyer who works with neighborhood developers. But for the stampede of buyers, “it’s the attraction of being in a self-contained community.”

With floor-to-ceiling windows and glass balcony railings, the newest tower was intended to have a much lighter look than its more fortresslike predecessor. A luxury vibe was wanted, too, which explains the Bosch appliances, Grohe faucets and Kohler tubs, said Michael Dana, the president and chief executive of Onex. “The architecture is quite different,” Mr. Dana said. He added, “There’s nothing like this in Queens.”

Naturally, prices at the tower, to be completed in fall 2016, are also steeper than at its predecessors. Units are listed for $950 a foot, or from $450,000 for studios to $2 million for three-bedrooms, said Mr. Dana, who added that 120 people signed contracts on Jan. 24 at that sales kickoff event, which started early, and finished late, because about 700 prospective buyers showed up.

In contrast, units in the first three towers, which wrapped sales in 2013, went for $750 a foot, according to Onex. In Flushing, the median list price for condos and co-ops is about $500 a square foot, according to a recent search on This fall, the fifth 275-unit tower will go vertical, and next winter, the sixth and final one, also with 275 units, will be built. The three new towers, which will share the name the Grand at Sky View Parc, will cost $600 million to develop, according to Onex, as part of the $1.3 billion Sky View Parc project.

While Sky View may be buoyant now, the mood was once somber. In 2008, Onex and its then-partner Muss Development, a developer based in Queens, broke ground on a former parking lot in a bedraggled industrial area that had been rezoned for residential use in the 1990s.

But the project suffered construction delays during the recession. It was supposed to be completed in 2009 but didn’t open until 2011, which prompted a lawsuit from frustrated buyers. Ultimately, more than 100 of them received refunds, and in summer 2011, sales essentially started again from scratch, though the second time seemed a charm. The building was sold out by 2013.

After those sales, Muss sold its share of the development to Onex. What has likely helped the project steam ahead is the success of the Shops at Skyview Center, a bustling multilevel, 800,000-square-foot mall. Fully leased, including national retailers like Nordstrom Rack and Target, as well as restaurants like Grandma’s Dim Sum, the mall has about 5 million visitors annually, Onex said.

Though the mall, and the sidewalk outside it, can be crowded and loud, Sky View provides a garden on its roof to allow its residents to achieve some peace. Nearly five acres, the open space features a putting green, dog park and tennis courts, and it will be joined by a few more acres of amenities, including an outdoor pool, when the Grand at Sky View Parc opens. There will also be a 10,000-square-foot gym, with Turkish baths. Manhattan’s skyscrapers line the horizon.

Sky View is not the only planned residential development in Flushing to rely on a heavy dose of retail. One Fulton Square, partly constructed on nearby 39th Avenue, for instance, combines its condos with a Hyatt Place hotel and three levels of stores. “When you go to Asia, you see lots of towers built on top of retail like this,” Mr. Dana said.

Whether that’s the draw, Asian buyers are coming, both from the area and beyond. In the first three towers at Sky View, 90 percent of the buyers were Chinese or of Chinese descent, and about 20 percent were from China, according to Onex, and the from-China crowd is expected to be even larger at the next three towers.
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