2018-12-12 / Front Page

Queens Chamber of Commerce Holds Annual Buildings Award Dinner

By Thomas Cogan

The Chan Lee residence in Douglaston was built in 1919 and has had several owners, including artist George Grosz and pianist Claudio Arrau. The current residents are Alice Chan and Lawrence Lee. Architect Kevin Wolfe was so extensive in his recent work on the house that he called it “a complete reconstruction and re-imagination” of it.

PHOTOS QUEENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCEThe Chan Lee residence in Douglaston was built in 1919 and has had several owners, including artist George Grosz and pianist Claudio Arrau. The current residents are Alice Chan and Lawrence Lee. Architect Kevin Wolfe was so extensive in his recent work on the house that he called it “a complete reconstruction and re-imagination” of it. PHOTOS QUEENS CHAMBER OF COMMERCELate fall each year is usually the time for the Annual Buildings Awards Dinner, put on by the Queens Chamber of Commerce.  In recent years it has been held at Terrace on the Park, as it was last week.  It was opened with President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Grech’s glad announcement that Amazon has been in contact with the chamber regarding what favors it might bestow on the chamber or Queens in general, or Long Island City in particular, where it recently announced, to both enthusiastic and anxious reception, that LIC had been chosen, in part at least, as the site of its vaunted second headquarters or HQ2.

There were several words from John G. Banks, head of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and Borough President Melinda Katz.  Banks expressed an enthusiasm for the coming of Amazon that matched Grech’s, and Katz presented the REBNY chief with a certificate of honor, calling him “an outstanding citizen” whom she has been happy to know for several years.  The awards ceremony honored this year’s construction or alteration of commercial, industrial and residential buildings.

Banks was introduced by QCC Board Member Carol Conslato, who said she worked for him for 13 years when he was vice president for government relations at Consolidated Edison.  He called her a “life saver” as his assistant there and an outstanding official.  He turned to current business and declared the Amazon decision an opportunity to have a new workforce in Long Island City numbering between 25,000 and 40,000.  He predicted a nine-to-one return on investment, better than any other ROI he had ever heard of.

He cited a Quinnipiac poll to which 57 percent of all answering and 60 percent of Queens residents expressed approval for AH2 in LIC.  He was a member of the City Council’s finance commission in the 1990s and has been amazed by the rate of commercial growth since then.  He denounced the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) that is once again before the council, calling it commercial rent control, and deplored the fact that following years of failure it has cropped up once again.  He referred to a current effort to open entry level jobs to those in need of work, which was a brighter topic for him. He closed with holiday greetings for all.

Grech returned to point out a dinner guest, Fayez Eissa, an immigrant from Egypt, where he The Fed Ex Ground Sort Facility on Newtown Creek in Maspeth was built on an old and contaminated industrial site and brought to its present state by Michael Messina, architect and builder Barney Reilly/Aurora Contractors Inc. 
The Fed Ex Ground Sort Facility on Newtown Creek in Maspeth was built on an old and contaminated industrial site and brought to its present state by Michael Messina, architect and builder Barney Reilly/Aurora Contractors Inc. was an architect.  Eissa came to the United States several years ago, became a citizen and has worked in several jobs, though now he is occupied with restorations at Rufus King Manor and Park, the home on Jamaica Avenue of an anti-slavery activist and youngest signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Grech also introduced BP Katz, who in addition to presenting a certificate to John Banks and saying, “As we build, we build responsibly,” introduced Sharon Lee, formerly her communications director, as deputy borough president.  Lee succeeds Melva Miller, who announced her departure earlier this year.

The presentation of awards, 20 in all, followed.  There were four categories:  (1) new construction; (2) rehabilitation, re-adaptive use alteration or addition; (3) interior design; and (4) sustainable building.

The new construction, hotels and motels winner was a Courtyard Marriott in Fresh Meadows.  The architect is Michael Kang/Michael Kang Architect PLLC; the builder is George Hsu/MC Superstructure Inc.

The new construction, mixed-use, residential/commercial/industrial award, first place, went to Vernon Condominiums, 21-17 31st Ave., Astoria.  The architect is Angelo Costa/Meltzer Costa & Associated, Architecture & Engineering LLP.  The builder is Park Construction.  Second place winner was East West Tower 142-38 37th Ave., Flushing.  The architect is Anthony Ng/Angelo Ng and Anthony Ng Architects Studio PC.

New construction, commercial winner was Fed Ex Ground Sort Facility in Maspeth.  The architect is Michael Messina/Baldassaro Architecture LLP; Builder is Barney Reilly/Aurora Contractors Inc.

Louis Armstrong Stadium at USTA Billy Jean King National Tennis Center was so extensively rebuilt it is categorized as winner of the new construction, public buildings award.  Architect is Matthew Rossetti/Rossetti Architect; builder is Billy Racky/AECOM Hunt Construction.

The new construction, religious buildings award went to Han Ma Um Zen Center of NY Inc., 145-20 Bayside Ave. in Flushing.  Winning his second architecture award this year is Angelo Costa, who beginning in 2019 will head Costa Architecture & Engineering. 

The last of the new construction awards, for single and two-family residences, went to The Bridges at Whitestone.  The architect is Frank Petruso/Frank Petruso Architect PC; the builder is Timothy O’Sullivan/O’Sullivan Builders and Developers Inc.

Leading off for rehabilitation, re-adaptive use, alteration or addition, commercial was 36-19 Broadway, a corner makeover in Astoria.  The architect is John Glavic/Gerald J. Caliendo, RA, AIA; the builder is Charles Marangoudakis / Marangos Construction Corporation.

Two health care centers won in the rehabilitation, re-adaptive use, alteration or addition category.  First place went to Ferrara Family Center of Hospice Care, part of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.  The architect is William Selan AIA/RBSDA Architects; the builder is Sea Chang/Eason Construction.  Second place went to Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, its architect being Ross Adam Cole AIA/BAM Architecture Studio; the builder, Aaron Melchior/the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

The next rehabilitation, for mixed use, residential/commercial/industrial purposes, was Mikeller Brewing NYC, located at Citifield since 2017.  Its principals have visions of a brewery in nearby Willets Point eventually, but for now are brewing and serving a variety of beers and ales in facilities created at the home of the Mets. The architect is Dan Bernstein/Kutnicki Bernstein Architects; the builder is Mike Bierne/Hunter Roberts Construction Group.

There were two rehabilitation winners for single and two-family residences.  First place winner was the Zhao Residence in College Point.  The architect is Tim Hao/HCD Architect PC; the builder is the owner of the house, Alex Zhao/Foreview Construction Inc.  Second place went to the Chan Lee Residence in Douglaston, built nearly a century ago and in its time the home of three artistic notables:  German theatrical producer/director Erwin Piscatore; the great German painter George Grosz; and the great Chilean pianist Claudio Arrau.  The latest rehab has as architect Kevin Wolfe AIA/Kevin Wolfe Architect PC; and builder Guy Bodenburg/ Top 8 Construction Corporation.

Andromeda Advantage, 11-20 37th Ave., Long Island City, providing consulting and management to the construction industry, was the winner of two awards, respectively for rehabilitation and interior design, office building and industrial.  Architect Gerald J. Caliendo, R.A.; project designer Eleni Takou; and builder John Kalafatis/Skyline Restoration Inc., were the double winners.

The final rehabilitation award, for schools and colleges, went to UPK 2972 Jackson Avenue, located at that LIC address.  Architect for the School Construction Authority is Albert Aronov, AIA/RKTB /Architects; the builder is Nayan Parikh/ASHNU International.

The first of the interior design awards went to the Douglaston Club and is the second award for Kevin Wolfe, the architect who did the rehab on the Chan Lee Residence.  The Douglaston Club is in a building that will soon turn 200, having been built by Wynan Van Zandt, who purchased most of the land that is now Douglaston—later named after George Douglas, who bought the club in 1862.  Wolfe, associates and sub-contractors refurbished the place exhaustively. 

The Nordic, 23-67 31st St., Astoria, near the end of the elevated line, was another interior design winner.  The architect and builder are AKI Development.

Shim House in Flushing was the last of the interior design winners.  The architect is Suk Hwan Kim PE/Design Group IN H&K LLC; the builder is Sang Lee, Nextcom Construction Inc.

The sustainable building award goes to just one winner:  Beach Green Dunes, a 100-unit residential building located between Arverne and Far Rockaway.  Repeat award winners are Mark Ginsberg/Curtis & Ginsberg Architects LLP and the builder, Eric Bluestone/ Banta Homes Corp.

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