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Queens Boulevard Development Site Put on the Market

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Sept. 23, 2016 Staff Report

The property that was the short-lived home of a Queens Boulevard lounge/club is for sale listed at $4.9 million and marketed as a “prime development site.”

The site, located at 39-31 Queens Blvd, had been occupied by OT Lounge, which for nearly two years offered an eclectic mix of Greek food, cocktails and sports.

The property was rezoned in 2010 as part of the Sunnyside-Woodside Rezoning and the owner is permitted to build a structure that is four times (it was 1.25 prior to the rezoning) the 3,510 square foot site area.

Meawhile, the site that once housed PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, a neighborhood dentist and Center Cinemas on 43rd Street and Queens Boulevard is back on the market.

John Ciafone, who bought the property from Dime Bank for $6.65 million in December 2012 has put it on the market for $19 million.

Ciafone originally said he would develop the site and construct a 5-7 story building with about 60-70 apartments and ground floor retail.

At the time he notified the owner of Center Cinemas and the dentist that he would not renew their lease. He also told PJ Horgan’s he wanted them to leave too.

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73 Comments

Juan julio

How long was OT , four hours. I hope the owner realised hes not cut out for the restaurant business. He had no clue from the start

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Anonymous

Anyone who is interested can look up the name of the owner-John Ciafione. He is a notorious slumlord around Queens and Brooklyn

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SuperWittySmitty

Why don’t you do it for us, sherlock? Find his phone number and his email address and share it. Make yourself and stop being anonymous for a change.

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Patricia Dorfman

The “Small Town in the Big City, ” is the slogan of Sunnyside Chamber, for which I work) are part of local community opposition to 50-25 Barnett, the unaffordable “100% affordable housing” – seemingly part of long term plan by those above our pay grade to gentrify and rezone Barnett Avenue for luxury condos. Sunnyside Yards and surrounding land has a powerful attraction for big real estate and 50-25 Barnett seems likely part of a plan we oppose, to gentrify and rezone for luxury condos.
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The Chamber, in addition to 10 other groups, including Woodside on the Move, Queens Anti-Gentrification Project, Access Queens, Art F City, TakeBackNYC, ASAP, Queens Neighborhoods United, Small Business Congress, held a free public forum last Sunday “Jobs, Homes & ‘Hoods: We’re Staying in Queens.” We ask for a City Council hearing to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act or similar bill as small businesses, residents, artists, and neighborhoods disappear. SBJSA will help NYC as a whole. How?
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SBJSA does interfere with the landlord prerogative, but would slow speculation overnight by making it easier for law-abiding small business to stay where they have built up a following and invested labor and money. Vacant buildings are easier to “flip” as owner in article seems to be doing, paying $6.65 million, emptying it, and then offering for $19 million. When the condos finally go up, with retail space on the ground floor that only banks and chains can afford, rents also go up near by. SBJSA would interfere at the start of that process.
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Lost here already are about 17 mom & pops with many on the way, but if we stay organized and informed, we do have a chance to save the area by asking our leaders for support. We do not want to go back in time; we love our new restaurants, amenities, residents, and seek to grow naturally as cities do.
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What is occurring now is not an organic process that characterizes city life. Why is this change not a normal change in a free market system where property owners should be able to do as they like?
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Because we do not have a free market. Rezoning, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing amendment passed March 22, past and future 421-a type tax break are assistance to upper income real estate interests, and work against small businesses, residents, and quality of life of NYC.
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While we follow the rules in small businesses, struggle citywide to pay our tenant rent of 65.2% of our income of market rate apartments
http://streeteasy.com/blog/new-york-city-rent-affordability-2016/
we heard that MIH was about affordable housing. In practice, the opposite is true; more buildings and wealthier people crowding out small biz, us, and sky. If Barnett and beyond go condo, there is no benefit to most of us. (We do have local property owners, brokers, and banks in the Chamber, which support SBJSA because they live or work here, too.) If you are an owner, where will you go?
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Also accompanying this crowded future of gentrification and displacement is the lack of infrastructure to support it. Where are the public parks, new sewers, hospitals, and public transit to cope? How will thousands more people park, or get to work? Residents in luxury buildings will have to walk or drive crowded streets further for groceries, because naturally most owners would rather sell or rent for more than what a supermarket can afford in rent.
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Even if you are landmarked, or own, and if you wish to stay, what is your future life here like? When stores are priced out the end of their leases along with pubs, small restaurants, pizza parlors, corner stores, laundromats, dry cleaners, shoe repair, and charming or immigrant shops, already disappearing in Manhattan, what sort of neighborhood life will there be?
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We ask that city council to call a committee hearing on the crisis of 1000 small businesses disappearing every month and the jobs they provided. Sadly, those wrecking Sunnyside in the main do not live here, and would never allow this near their homes. [email protected]

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Anonymous

I really don’t see how people can complain too much about a 200 unit building on land that Phipps owned anyway. They’re probably gonna sell the property, and we’re gonna get some developer who doesn’t care at all and has DiBlasio on speed dial. We’re also firmly in the crosshairs of the Daily News and DiBlasio now. He’s not going to quit until he reaches his campaign goals on affordable housing. Right now, our federally owned rail yard is his best bet. I thought that if we gave a little here and there, we could avoid the Sunnyside Yards monstrosity that would double the population of the neighborhood. Now we’re gonna get it rammed down our throats by city, state, and fed.


The only way you’re going to get what you want is if you bought every property that went up for sale at market rate and then just rented it at a loss forever. There is way too much demand pressure in NYC right now. You’re romanticizing a time when people were afraid of living in cities due to high crime. Sunnyside isn’t Mayberry. It never was. Mayberry is 100 miles from nowhere. Sunnyside is 3 subway stops from midtown. Eventually, commercial lease rates will stabilize, but residential won’t. More units have to be built. We do need green space desperately, but nobody here ever fights for anything. They just fight against things which results in urban blight in our commercial areas and getting things rammed down our throats like the Yards are about to be. Its lack of development that makes 850 square foot 100 year old co-ops cost 450k, and postage stamp size run down single family homes cost a million. And at those prices, eventually all the old timers will sell.

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Anonymous

Jim- no lily and her family dont own that building, and lily just passed away so have some respect , your sarcasm is uncalled for.

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Up up and away

Awww poor little el joke-o. You own a whole co-op. What did you buy it for, a big 15k 30 yrs ago. Maybe 20k? Big deal. You gonna tell me if someone offers you 500k your not gonna take it so you can buy a real house. As far as being immoral who are you to tell someone what to do with their personal property. Especially if you can make a ton of money developing it. How does it damage the area for thousands of people? By putting up a nice new building. I suppose you would rather have the rat infested movie theater that you probably went to once a year. Horgans too, they were there how long 35yrs? And they never bought the building, too bad, if they were so good they should have relocated. Your the ignorant one here, afraid of change. El joke-o, what a clown. I hope your co-op gets knocked down next. The neighborhood is in transition or havent you notice. Get with it or move out.

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SuperWittySmitty

You could go to one of the many thrift stores and find hundreds of barely used books that nobody wants. Even better, borrow one from our library, one of the jewels in Queen’s crown. The last thin we need is for someone to invest their money in a bookstore that will go out of business in 3 months.

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Phil

Would it be possible to develop some kind of Woodside Sunnyside Community Fund? Essentially a non-profit that would buy property, and through some democratic means, let it to businesses that would increase the social value of the neighborhood? I know this would be difficult, but our children would thank us–and what’s the alternative? Most who live here now forced out of their homes in a generation?

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Phil

Not as poor as some neighborhoods that have fallen victim to these vultures, I feel that we have the ability to organize and fight back/ameliorate the worst. The question is how to do so?

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Anonymous

Join the movement to take back Queens and stop the sale of neighborhoods to the highest bidder. /Don’t let them change the zoning. Elect leaders who stand for the people who live here now, not the richer folks they want to move in. Most of these people wouldnt have come to Queens if you had paid them until Bloomberg et al started screwing around with everything.

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Happy Camper

Couldn’t the NRA buy it and open a Target Range and Firearms Store there? They could have a nice Hamburger Restaurant and a Patriotic Theme Bar on the site. If the Zoning is changed it could have a “Roller Rink” or a Bowling Alley upstairs. We haven’t had a good Bowling Alley in Sunnyside since LICity Lanes closed. It is very sad. No place to buy Ammunition since the Bliss Sports Shop closed either, very sad.

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nahhhhh

It may be possible to create some kind of a Syndicate

Real estate syndication is an effective way for investors to pool their financial and intellectual resources to invest in properties and projects much bigger than they could afford or manage on their own.

Or a REIT backed by family offices / the local wealthy who would want to see the neighborhood preserved

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Spaz! Spaz! Spaz!

there is already a Pizza Hut and Cricket cell phone store where Dr Kubikian used be. Signs just went up.

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Fan of Dough boy park

Well then at least bring back ” Johnny Drama’s”, they brought in celebs, the move from Woodside to sunny side should not be a big deal.

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Up up and away

Actually el coco its not your neighborhood, they own it so its their neighborhood. You probably rent a studio apartment. These guys own millions of dollars in property. Your nothing but a grain of sand on a beach. Dont tell me that if anyone posting comments had the luck of owning these valuable peices of property you wouldnt do the same thing. Uhh, let me see now, i have this property that i can get 19million for or i can leave it a movie theater so el smucko and barfool can go watch a flick and have a burger. Duh what should i do??? Get real you would jump all over it. Its like hitting the lotto.

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El loco

You ignorant little jerk I’ve owned a co-oo here for 30 years. Yes they have a right to make money but they’re decisions are also immoral and damage the area for thousands of people.

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SuperWittySmitty

Me too, and in many ways, the neighborhood is SO much better than when I bought my co-op in 1993. Not sure how these real estate practices are immoral. Do you think the developing and construction in Manhattan over the last 200 years was also immoral? Should Sunnyside be frozen in time and never change? You need a dose of reality.

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A.Bundy

actually, they bring better businesses and raise your property values. you surely dont sound like a property owner.

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Anonymous

Speculators. Just like hyenas, vultures and other carrion. Very, very low on the food chain. The most successful bottom feeders often end up like small-time versions of “The Donald.” And as we New Yorkers, know he is nothing but a gigantic sow’s ear parading around like a silk purse.

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MidMod

They took away our only movie theater which I miss, So greedy these landlords and then don’t do anything with the property,which doesn’t make it inviting to move here or to the people that live here.and yes they get money from the state,my money ,your money.

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Anonymous

That theater was a garbage pit. And they didn’t show any decent movies. And when they did, it was out of focus and the theater smelled of piss with sticky floors. And lets not forget the (teenage) staff that couldn’t unroll a new roll of toilet paper without help.

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A concerned citizen

Greedy? The guy made an investment,whats he supposed to do turn the money down? You would all do the same thing

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Anonymous

No. He bought it and put people out of business and took out at least two neighborhood institutions, the theater and PJs. That was his plan. So, the neighborhood suffers these losses while he rents the property out to movie folks who bring in all their people and all their stuff, blocking traffic etc. etc, etc. He is making money off our lives. That is not smart business that is cannibalism. A neighborhood is not a commodity. It is a place people need to rest and restore themselves from the hard work of making a living. I don’t like people making a killing off my need to have a place to rest my head at night. It is perverted.

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Anonymous

Then move. It’s your choice to either live with capitalism that is inherently cannibalistic or you can leave. You can’t have it both ways, your cake and eat it, especially when it suits you. Double standards are part of this culture, but extremes are extremes. Can’t want markets and then complain when it doesn’t fit your personal selfish ideal.

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A.Bundy

then you’ve been living under a rock and are living in the wrong place. this is all that NYC stands for nowadays. get in the game or get pushed out.

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Pat Forfman

How about making investments and making money where people don’t get hurt. Yes, it hurts the neighborhood.

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Anonymous

We are less than pawns in the sick game. They are all gonna have a harder time than that camel trying to pass through the eye of a needle.

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Anonymous

Elmo alot of these guys own so many businesses or so many properties that it pays to leave a storefront empty to show a loss tax time. Its a write off. Also if they own the whole block and they decide to sell to a developer , if theres a store in the middle that has a 10yr lease it could hold up their plans. It gives the tennant leverage. Hey you want me to move so you can make millions, pay me. They know exactly what their doing

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nahhhhh

that is correct! unfortunate for the neighborhood and residents and it makes sunnyside look less desirable, appealing, and filled in.
Even though there are some great restaurants here there isn’t a ton of regular retail for clothing or other home goods that I have come across

I do love Sunnyside. I can only hope that no one buys this site as it isn’t even a prime location and by the time they are finished developing we’ll already be in the midst of a bubble.

Imagine the market 18 months from now…..interest rates have gone up, too many people have bought investment homes again……sheesh

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Elmo Lewis

Don’t these “developers” take the existing empty storefronts into account? The place next to Daizies has been empty for at least 14 years. The drug store on that corner has been gone for a few years now and it empty. The Meat Boutique was an ill-conceived notion that was gone in a New York minute…there are others. They are quick to unrealistically jack up prices without taking demographics into account.

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Phil

They can write off losses from vacancies on their taxes, so it’s in their interest to sit on it and wait until some sucker takes the ridiculous price. To change these perverse incentives, we’d have to modify the tax code.

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Jim

Didn’t that “Saint” Lillian Gavin and her family own the property? Why are they holding it? Aren’t they pillars of the community?

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Mac

The city should buy this property and build a 7 story building to be used for homeless families and recovering drug addicts.

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Joe at the Berkley

@anonymous – Mac and Angela live right next to 39-31 Queens Blvd. They’re 2 ultra giving Christians who live by the scriptures and actually shun materialism. They raised a child who also posts to this site using multiple handles such Rocky, luvu2, anonymous and many many more. He is low IQ and quite challenged, IQ quotent around moron imbecile numbers.

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SuperWittySmitty

There are so many homeless families that have absolutely NOTHING to do with drugs or crime and just need help. Do you automatically equate being poor and homeless with being bad?

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SuperWittySmitty

It would be nice to have a decent movie theater. I stopped going to that one 15 years ago because it was a crappy experience. I like PJ Horgan’s though.

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rikki

just proving we are at the peak of the market and they are trying to find one last sucker to pay such inflated prices…..

less the 4 years and triple the price…no wonder nothing but luxury can be built anymore.

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