Queens Center Mall Celebrates 30th With $225 M Expansion
Having opened on September 12, 1973, the Queens Center Mall is celebrating its 30th year this week halfway through a two-year $225 million face lift. Begun last summer, the project will add one million square feet of retail space, a new food court and 900 new parking spaces. The multi-level garage on 92nd Street is set to open before the holiday shopping season this year.
"A year has gone by since we started construction," said Queens Center Mall General Manager Curt Fickeisen during an update to Community Board 4 at the board’s meeting in Corona. "We’ve undergone great pains to try and address concerns about noise, vibrations and traffic." he said. "I hope you’ll agree that we’ve done as much as we could to resolve any problems."
Fickeisen said construction was well ahead of schedule. After the garage opens later this fall, the new mall, including 120 new stores in the former J.C. Penney space, as well as a brand new J.C. Penney store, will open in the spring of 2004. In addition, Macy’s is expanding upwards by adding 50,000 square feet on its roof. The entire project is to be completed by November 2004.
One board member complained of double and triple-parked cars along Queens Boulevard outside the mall, saying, "You have to do something to clear up that mess."
"I couldn’t agree with you more but we only have so much authority," said Fickeisen.
Another board member said it took her an hour to get into the mall on Labor Day because the garage entrance on 57th Street was closed. Fickeisen confirmed that was the case because the mall was extremely busy.
Labor Day was the last day of a one-week tax holiday on the state’s 4.25 percent sales tax for all purchases of clothing and footwear up to $110 per item. Spurred by strong back-to-school sales, Labor Day is second only to Christmas as the biggest shopping period for many retail stores.
The state legislature reinstituted the 4.25 sales tax on apparel less than $110 in June to help close a budget gap. The tax is scheduled to again be eliminated in 2004.
According to the Macerich Corporation, owner of the Queens Center Mall, 22 million people visit the mall each year, spending almost $400 million. "Macerich is very proud of the Queens Center Mall renovation," said Fickeisen, "and we hope you’ll be proud to have it in your community."
Annamaria Jones, speaking for New Yorkers for Parks, said City Councilmember Joseph Addabbo was scheduled to present the organization’s 2003 profiles of city parks according to council districts on September 16 at 10 a.m. For more information, call Jones at (212) 838-9410 ext. 250.
Addabbo, chair of the parks and recreation committee, introduced a bill amending the Administrative Code to allow private sponsors to adopt city parks. The bill has been unanimously passed by the council.