Ask most people about Flushing, Queens and they’re likely to either stare blankly or venture “Where the Nanny is from?!” That all might change with the development of a 1.8 million sq. foot, $850 million megacomplex for the area. Dubbed Flushing Commons, the spacious, airy design (which is quite a change from the cramped, cluttered landscape that is the current neighborhood) will feature a landscaped plaza, shops, restaurants and residences and strive for LEED Silver certification. However the area is already a bit of a traffic nightmare (Flushing is home to the 3rd busiest intersection in New York City after Herald Square and Times Square), so the project faces some tough opposition from residents who are afraid of even more congestion.
Flushing Commons was designed by Perkins Eastman and is a joint venture between The Rockefeller Group and TDC Development and Construction Corporation. The project will boast up to 620 residential units, approximately 275,000 square feet of retail space, up to 234,000 square feet of office and/or hotel space, 36,000 square feet of community facility space, a 62,000 square-foot YMCA facility and parking for 1,600 cars. While details about the center’s green features have yet to be revealed, Perkins Eastman says, “As a benchmark of design excellence in urban design and sustainable architecture, the development will pursue a LEED Silver Certification.”
According to the developers, Flushing Commons is expected to create more than 2,600 construction jobs and 1,900 permanent jobs.
As a Queens native and Flushing resident, my own feelings about Flushing Commons are mixed. On one hand, I’m thrilled at the possibility of having all of the amazing amenities that the complex will offer (packaged in responsibly and sustainably constructed buildings!) just a few steps from my door. On the flip side of the coin, I am terrified at having to wade through even more crowds and the horror that I anticipate the already jam-packed 7 train commute will be like.
In terms of the traffic and parking issues that the Commons present, I am secretly tickled pink that Flushing may be even less accessible by car because it will force more people to take public transportation to get here. To be fair, though, I don’t know if I’ll be singing the same tune if my friends that drive start visiting me less because they don’t want to deal with having to sit in traffic and finding parking. Last but not least, I’m also pretty excited that Flushing may become a New York City destination of choice (and not just for food tourism). At the same time, I hope that the neighborhood can retain its diversity and very affordable prices that I currently enjoy!