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Plans Filed for 8-Story Development on Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside Center Cinemas to be Bulldozed

Plans have been filed for an 8-story development at 43-42 43rd St where Sunnyside Center Cinemas was located (GMaps)

Nov. 29, 2021 By Christian Murray

The building that housed Sunnyside Center Cinemas on Queens Boulevard will soon be bulldozed to make way for an eight-story, 99 unit apartment complex.

Plans were filed earlier this month for an apartment building at 43-42 43rd St. that will contain 99 units, ground floor retail space and 138 below-ground parking spaces.

The site is located on the northwest corner of Queens Boulevard and 43rd Street and at one time housed a Dime Bank branch, Sunnyside Center Cinemas, P.J. Horgan’s and a dental office.

The proposed building will be 79-feet-tall and will yield 73,762 square feet, with 67,098 square feet designated for residential space and 6,664 square feet for commercial space.

John Ciafone, the owner, told the Queens Post that the plan includes approximately 25 affordable housing units. He will be receiving a 421a tax abatement—which will lower his property tax bill—in return for providing the affordable units.

The property does not need to be rezoned in order for the development to take place. However, Ciafone said that he is waiting for the Dept. of Buildings to approve the plans.

He said that upon approval, he would aim to start demolishing the building within 3 months. He said that it would likely take two years to develop the project.

Sunnyside Center Cinemas closed in 2015 (Photo: Queens Post)

Ciafone, who bought the property at the end of 2012, has been subject to fierce criticism over the years.

Shortly after acquiring the building he made clear that he would not be renewing the leases of the existing tenants—which led to the closure of long-time businesses such as Sunnyside Center Cinemas and P.J. Horgan’s.

All the tenants had left by 2015 and the building has been vacant since.

“Putting up a building is not easy in New York City,” Ciafone said. “It’s a very bureaucratic process. It’s not like putting up Lego.”

Ciafone said that many people will embrace his plan, noting that there is a need for affordable housing. He said that he also aims to provide parking for area residents, saying that he has heard that there is a lack of parking in the neighborhood.

The entrance to the below-ground garage, he said, will be on 43rd Street.

“The building will be an asset to the community,” Ciafone said. “We will be providing affordable units and additional parking.”

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Concerned Citizen

Say goodbye to a functional 7 train, Q32, and Q60 bus…with that many new people, you probably wont even be able to get on at 33rd or 40th…you’ll need to walk to 61st woodside to squeeze onto a bus or train….we do not have the infrastructure for new housing. We are at capacity in sunnyside…put them further out in queens.

It’s going to be ok.

No Way will there be 138 parking spaces.

Happy to see this corner be developed!


The plan is a good one but does not go far enough.
1) Given the building’s height, the South facing wall could have solar panels as does Staten Island’s PS 62, the Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability, with roof and South facing panels. 2) The added parking is fine but does not go nearly far enough as NYC has been eliminating on street parking with bike lanes and the permitted building on Barnett Avenue behind Phipps. In Honolulu, buildings have a parking level or two above ground. This could be open and constructed above the commercial level. It would also seem that the parking should be constructed to allow for the installation of charging stations for electric vehicles, which are coming.
3) None of the newer budlings in Sunnyside has provision for low-income residents. This building might include a paltry five units of NYC supported rental units, starting, perhaps, with single mothers. They world pay on a sliding scale to the city and the city would pay the landlord.
Parking, electric vehicle provision, renewable energy and provision for low-income children to have a stable home are all challenges that we face. This building could become a model for future development. I note that not dealing with these issues has not produced any viable solutions.


I thought that the 5 or 6 blocks in Sunnyside along Queens boulevard were only zoned for 2 story buildings?


There is a very good reason many, many movies have real estate developers in the bad guy role.


Personally I hope it’s a big failure. P.J. Horgan’s had been a favorite of many and for a long time until you came along and forced it to relocate. As far as I’m concerned I hope this project of yours never gets off the ground.


Pj Horgan’s moved a couple of blocks away in Skillman. Doing pretty well considering the pandemic.

You srsly couldn’t look that up!??


Only took Ciafone 10 years to announce he was doing *anything* with the property – anyone wanna make bets on when this supposed “building” will be completed? I don’t have confidence in that guy to build a Lego building.

Finally progress

I’m glad finally tear it down, it’s been an eyesore. Bravo to having PARKING
Garage. All New bldgs. should have parking. Hope they put some good stores there like Trader Joes and Brooklyn Bagels. We need a GOOD Bagel store.


P.J. Horgan had a fire and was told it would take too long to re-pair. Plus their lease was about to run out. So they just moved.

NYC gained 629,000 more residents since last census.

Rez – You’re basing this determination on what? From the look of things people want to live here.


Nice job John. Make your money screw the neighborhood. If anyone wants to see the anti-Ciafone go to 40th and Skillman. Old factory turned into all kinds of cool take out restaurants. That’s what we need! People who do those types of positive things for our neighborhood.


He hired an architect who produces cheap buildings for maximum profit only. This will not be a good building.

At least he’s adding some parking

ABoondy- A property owner can’t just do “what he wants” with his land. You’ve obviously never owned land.


Of course he can do what he wants. That’s the problem he can do what he wants and neighborhoods are ruined because of people like him. But you know there are community boards and city councils and this is still a democracy where people have a say. Maybe not after people like you get thru with it.

There is stupid then there is Fox stupid

Jerry – Wrong. You’re confusing “whatever he wants” with what you want. It’s not yours stop whining.


Yup – his to leave vacant for 10 years. Now that’s a right worth protecting! Someone who doesn’t want buildings sitting empty for 10 years must be some crazy Socialist! What’s next? Wanting to preserve local businesses? Silly commies.


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