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Court Square housing boom draws trio of restaurant tenants

Rockrose Development Corp. has signed several new retail tenants for a group of existing low-rise buildings it owns along Jackson Avenue in the Court Square district of Long Island City, Queens.

Toby’s Estate Coffee, which has locations in Williamsburg and Manhattan, will occupy 840 s/f, with a large outdoor garden, at 26-25 Jackson Avenue.

The Brooklyn-based coffee roaster, known for its communal tables, chose Court Square as its first Queens location.

Rockrose also signed a new retail lease with Luzzo’s Group for a restaurant and lounge to be named Levante.  The restaurateur also owns Luzzo’s pizzeria on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Luzzo’s BK in Brooklyn and several other eateries in New York City.

Levante will occupy 940 s/f of retail space at 26-21 Jackson Avenue, and will also have outdoor dining space.

A third retail tenant will be a Japanese restaurant owned and operated by Shih Li. The new restaurant will occupy 2,000 s/f at 27-24 Jackson Avenue, next door to Dutch Kills, the craft cocktail bar in Court Square.


Justin Elghanayan, president of Rockrose, said that Toby’s Estate and Luzzo’s Group were attracted by the old industrial architecture of the Jackson Avenue space. Rockrose reconfigured and renovated the interiors of the buildings, leaving them with triple-height ceilings.

He said, “Often, the best retail plays off the existing architectural character and spirit of a place. This is the case in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, and now we’re seeing it happen in Long Island City. Court Square is becoming a retail destination, as well as a booming new residential community.”

More than 12,000 new apartment units are planned for Court Square within the next five years. Rockrose alone is constructing over 2,500 units in the neighborhood, including its completed and fully leased 709-unit Linc LIC and The Hayden, a new 974-unit rental building scheduled to open in 2017.

Elghanayan added, “More apartments will be constructed in Court Square in the next five years than in Downtown Brooklyn, Hudson Yards or any other emerging neighborhood in NYC. The area offers tremendous opportunities for retailers, especially restaurateurs, in a community that is currently underserved.”

Retail asking rents for the Jackson Avenue properties are approximately $60 per square foot.

In all three transactions, Rockrose was represented in-house by Patricia Dunphy, senior vice president. Garry Steinberg and Jamie Schultz of Lee & Associates represented Toby’s Estate. Troy Allen of Modern Spaces represented Luzzo’s.

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