2006-09-27 / Front Page

Riverview Apartments To Open


Gutted and completely rebuilt, the former Eagle Electric Company factory on 21st Street will soon officially become Riverview Apartments. Although an opening date has not yet been announced, the $30 million coop development has been given the green light by the state attorney general's office.

"We have been approved [to sell] and will begin to market at the end of this month," said Joseph Pistilli, chief operating officer for Pistilli Realty Group, developers of the project, at the September meeting of the United Community Civic Association (UCCA).

"We are very excited about this project for many reasons," said Vincent Reilly, sales and marketing director for Riverview Apartments. "These are very large apartments," he said of the 188 units at Riverview.

One-bedroom apartments will range in size from 650 square feet to 865 square feet, at purchase prices from $254,000 to $328,000 (median price $305,000). An average two-bedroom apartment is 1,400 square feet at $556,000, while an average three-bedroom apartment is 1,750 square feet at $750,000. Some three-bedroom units have lofts and mezzanines.

"The average square footage (for an apartment) is 1,400 square feet and an average apartment in the building will cost about $550,000," said Pistilli. "[Prices] will also depend on the floor, view, and location of apartments. It's not only the apartment's size."

Bordered by 19th and 21st Streets and 24th Avenue and 23rd Terrace, the units in Riverview Apartments on the 19th Street side will have views of Astoria Park, the East River and the Triborough Bridge.

"There are river views, but actually, all three sides of the building have really nice views," Pistilli said.

The original factory and warehouse, built in the 1920s, is a three-story building in which half of the units are located. Three additional stories were added to the original factory building as part of the redevelopment and the remaining units are located in a new five-story building built next to the old factory. All are linked together.

"The apartments are [each] very different," said Pistilli. "They're not square, they're not boxy, they're very artistic."

"Typically, topend new construction in Long Island City goes for $800 a square foot," Reilly said. "Riverview is between $500 and $600 per square feet."

In addition, Reilly said maintenance charges, typically set at $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot are between $1.06 and $1.22 at Riverview. For example, an apartment of 700 square feet would have a monthly maintenance charge of about $700, he said.

While heat is included, gas, electricity and parking, are all additional. Parking spaces will be allocated on a rental basis. There will be a doorman at the 24th Avenue main entrance and security personnel on site.

"The best way to find out a [unit] price is to call Mr. Reilly to make an appointment and come on down to see an apartment and get a feel for the building," Pistilli said. Reilly can be reached at 718204-1600.

Approval by the state attorney general's office is required for a co-op or condominium plan in New York state. The attorney general also requires that any condominium developer own both the building and the land.

Pistilli Realty does not own the land at Riverview, instead leases it from Eagle Electric with an agreement to purchase in no later than 10 years. Therefore, Riverview Apartments can only be offered at this time for sale as a cooperative development and not as a condominium.

The plan is to refinance Riverview eventually. "When the [cooperative] board takes over there is an opportunity to convert from co-op to condo," said Pistilli. The Riverview plan approved by the attorney general's office includes a provision making it mandatory that co-op apartment buyers participate in the purchase of the building and land.

Although co-ops and condominiums are both considered "common interest developments", a co-op building is owned by a cooperative housing corporation, while in a condominium, each unit owner owns his/her individual apartment.

Co-op owners do not own their units but they own a share in the cooperative corporation, and that co-op share gives them sole right to their living space. A coop is also generally stricter about screening prospective buyers and has more say in the handling of a unit.

Riverview is not 100 percent complete, but Pistilli said a temporary certificate of occupancy will probably be ready by Christmas or New Year's.

"The beauty of this development is the value. We're competitive," said Reilly.

A second Pistilli development, the conversion of the former Stern's warehouse, a 300,000 square foot industrial structure originally built by William Steinway, into a 200-unit residential condominium is still awaiting an approval from the attorney general's office.

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