2016-12-21 / Features

Durst Organization Acquires LIC Clock Tower Site


The developers of a 77-story “Super Tower” that was to be built next to the iconic clock tower building at Queens Plaza, have sold the property to the Durst Organization for $173.5 million.

An item on the Real Deal website said developer Kevin Maloney of Property Markets Group indicated that an acquisition note on the Clock Tower project was coming due, so he felt it was time to sell the property.

A spokesperson for the Durst Organization said they intend to develop a similar Super Tower skyscraper at the site near the Queens Plaza transportation hub. The project is contingent on the state legislature’s approval of a deal to restore the 421-a tax abatement program.

The Durst Organization is not planning any changes to the Clock Tower building, which was awarded landmark status by the city in 2015, the spokesperson said. Durst plans to develop a one-million-square-foot residential tower next to the Clock Tower Building, featuring 1,000 rental units and at least 250 units of affordable housing. The project would also include renovations at a nearby subway station, and a public park similar to one previously planned by Property Markets.

“This is an extraordinary site with spectacular views and outstanding mass transit connectivity,” Durst Organization President Jonathan Durst said in a prepared statement. “This project provides us with the opportunity to build much-needed market-rate and affordable housing, and to make the long-term investments in New York City that have been the bedrock of The Durst Organization’s success for more than 100 years.”

The Super Tower, planned by Property Markets and the Hakim Organization, was set to soar 77 stories, 915 feet over the surrounding community, thanks to an agreement the developers reached with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for air rights over a parcel of land near 29-37 41st Ave. in Long Island City. The agreement provided as-of-right construction of what was to be Queens’ tallest tower.

Property Markets Group acquired the Manhattan Bank Building and the Clock Tower in November 2014 for more than $30 million and notified tenants weeks later that their leases would be terminated as of May 31, 2015. The notices also alerted tenants of the developers’ intention to demolish a portion of the building, sending preservationists running to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) seeking the panel’s approval of landmark status for the Clock Tower.

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