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Community board backs plan for new LIC commercial building

Queens Community Board 2 has voted to approve Titan Machine and RXR Realty’s zoning application for a new commercial building at 42-11 9th Street in Long Island City. 

The mixed-use development will feature approximately 70,000 s/f of modern industrial space at the building’s base, 270,000 s/f of commercial office space, and 2,900 s/f of ground-level retail.

The project is a partnership between Titan, an elevator manufacturing and repair company founded in Long Island City in 1973, and RXR, a real estate company that owns and manages 25.5 million square feet of commercial properties in the New York Area, including the Standard Motor Products building in Long Island City.

The project will transform Titan’s current 21-employee facility into a mixed-use industrial and office building, creating 1,500 permanent jobs – including up to 300-350 industrial jobs.

“We’re fortunate that we found in RXR a partner that shares our goals and values and is just as New York born-and-raised as we are,” said Carlos Escobar, President, Titan Machine. 

“Long Island City is an industrial stronghold in a changing city, and this project will help maintain that character by creating even more industrial space than exists in our building today. Titan will remain invested in this project for the long haul, and we’re eager to continue our work with RXR to give back to the community that gave us so much and provide meaningful opportunities for our friends and neighbors in Long Island City.”

“We are excited to partner with Titan on a commercial and industrial project that will signal confidence in New York’s future, strengthen the local Queens economy, and support its post-COVID-19 recovery,” said Jeffrey Nelson, Senior Vice President, RXR Realty. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from Queens Community Board 2, which will help us to not only preserve but expand the space available on site for industrial uses. We look forward to continuing our work with Urban Upbound and LaGuardia Community College, and to forging new relationships with other local organizations to ensure this project benefits the Long Island City community.”

Community Board review is the first formal stage of the city’s public review process, known as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP). The project certified into ULURP on September 14. The Community Board voted in support of the mixed-use development while urging the project team to consider ways to ensure industrial rents are affordable. The project will next go before the Queens Borough President for review.

The ULURP application seeks to designate the project site as an Industrial Business Incentive Area (IBIA), a mechanism developed by the city to encourage private development of new industrial space.

The Titan-RXR project represents a model for private development that allows additional commercial floor area to cross-subsidize the building’s industrial space, removing the need for public subsidies.

“This is a great example of the type of investment that will buoy Queens on its road to recovery,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, President, Long Island City Partnership. “We’ve seen so much manufacturing space disappear over the years, so it’s encouraging to see a project reverse that trend by expanding Long Island City’s industrial building stock and the great jobs that follow – especially at a critical time like this. RXR is a long-time member of the LIC Partnership and Titan has been in the neighborhood for decades, and it’s easy to see that reflected in their efforts to tailor this project to the needs of the local community.”

Building rendering facing west along Queens Plaza South (Source: Perkins Eastman)

The building’s location will create walk- and bike-to-work options for employees that reside in Queens and Brooklyn. The building includes 43 on-site bike parking spaces, is within five blocks of three Citibike stations, and is a short walk from three subway stations served by eight subway lines.

The building’s design includes significant investments geared towards activating Queens Plaza South and 10th Street, including 4,500 s/f of landscaped public open space with a public art installation; 2,900 s/f of ground-floor retail; on-site, underground parking and truck loading; Five-foot setback to create a 15-foot wide sidewalk; New tree pits and landscaped planters as well as lighting enhancements.

Titan and RXR have established partnerships with local organizations to create a workforce development program that will connect local residents to the roughly 300 construction jobs that the project will create.

Urban Upbound, a Long Island City-based non-profit, will be the lead partner for the first phase of the program. The organization will help identify 100 local residents – with priority given to tenants of the Queensbridge Houses – who will receive Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 30-hour certification and other training required to enter the construction field. 

LaGuardia Community College will then provide 30 participants with training in the skilled trades through the College’s Electrical 1 and Plumbing 1 Courses. Students will graduate with credentials from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), including the NCCER Core and Electrical 1 or Plumbing 1 cards.

This program will result in transferrable safety and technical certifications that will qualify participants not only for the 42-11 9th Street project, but to pursue a career in the skilled trades. RXR will also work with its contractors to hire program graduates to ensure that the partnership results in employment opportunities for Long Island City residents on the project team.

The project team is actively seeking additional partnerships with Queens-based organizations to connect members of the Long Island City community to the 1,500 permanent jobs that the building will accommodate when it opens its doors.

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