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Several stores to be bulldozed to make way for 42-unit building

March 8, 2017 By Christian Murray

A local real estate firm is looking to bulldoze a strip of stores in Astoria to put up a new mixed-use development with more than 40 new apartments, according to Building Department records.

Real estate firm Rockfarmer Properties filed plans yesterday to build a new six-story, 42 unit building with retail on the first floor at 21-21 31st Street.

The development will take the place of several stores on the block that have shut down to make way for the construction, including a small discount store, Wave Thai restaurant, which closed down last month after 11 years in business, Havana Express café, which shut down in January after about five years in business, and ABC Super Stores, which shut down in December.

The development will likely run from the library to partway through the space occupied by ABC Super Stores, said developer John Petras.

The new building would have 12,343 square feet of retail space on the first floor, according to the plans, as well as a mailroom and reading room for residents.

The second through sixth floors would have a total of 46,632 square feet of residential space making up 42 residential apartments, meaning each apartment would average 1,110 square feet in size. Petras said that he expects it to be a condo building, but that plans could change as the development progresses.

The building would also have a 1,500 square foot private outdoor patio on the first floor and a 4,000 square foot roof deck reserved for tenants, and there would be an exercise room, a music room, bike storage, a dog wash, and 62 indoor parking spaces in the basement levels.

Though the plans were filed yesterday, the firm does not expect to begin construction until mid-2018, with slated completion in mid-2020, Petras said.

The firm bought ABC Superstores in December for $8.5 million and bought the other storefronts last September for $5 million.

Rockfarmer currently owns just over 30 residential and commercial properties throughout the city, including about 14 in Astoria.

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60 Comments

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Anonymous

If you want “affordable” housing, build it yourself and see how easy it is and “affordable” to build.

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Anonymous

Quit all your idiotic whining. If you understand economics this is a wonderful thing. Also ABC opened up down the block so you can continue to buy all your crap from this “amazing” store. Wishing the developers much success!

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FromAstoriaToMiddleVillage

Astoria has been changing the past two years and it will continue changing. It used to be an interesting place to live because it combined a suburban feel, good food, empty trains and a mixture of new and old. All of the above are becoming a history now and I am afraid that Astoria will be another Williamsburg where everyone is entitled to everything, all restaurants look the same and everything is cut to the “hipster” measurement.

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andrea

At this point, I welcome Brooklyn, wholeheartedly. At least most of the old buildings have been preserved and people take pride in their neighborhoods and their past history as a borough. Absentee landlords have destroyed Astoria. 68% absentee landlord rate. They just sit back and charge high rents and don’t take any pride in this neighborhood. No one shovels snow, no one sweeps the sidewalks, no trash cans on the corners, illegal concrete over the once beautiful gardens and backyards, rampant illegal basement rentals that the real estate industry ‘sells’ to unsuspecting out of town tenants, illegal out of town plates for more than 30 days here that are not transferred BY LAW to NYS revenue and should NOT be parking for free on streets where NYS registered vehicles pay to park, all the old mom and pop stores are gone because they can’t afford the overpriced rent. Should I continue? I could, but the new entitled tenants here don’t care. Time to move to BROOKLYN where trees still grow and I could have a pleasant conversation with a neighbor who cares about their neighborhood and its future. Not like here. This place is filthy ghetto now. The only difference is it has overpriced restaurants.

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mahimahi

Great News Everyone !!!! ABC is moving into its new location where Mandee clothing store used to be…on the other side of the library…saw the sign going up…now called ABC Deals

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Anonymous

They should have kept it farmland. You all came in and gentrified the area, overdeveloping it a hundred years ago. We need to stand up and return Astoria to farm land! Just because you moved in 60 years ago, doesnt make the gentrification wave you rode in on right.

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Anonymous

The only “new” development around our area is that Steinway and 19ave changing right next to that small little park and adjacent to the Q101. Otherwise, in Ditmars, you have change, you’re bound to have a revolution somewhere close. Not the quite improvement we’d expect come these years…

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Yeah

Hello? Is anybody home? Name one new development on Ditmars. You can’t cause there isn’t, Until now. Take care.

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Anonymous

Why do we keep allowing this to happen. Enough already. Pretty soon you’ll have are all huge apartment buildings no more homes and ruining the neighborhood forever. We all need to stand up and say stop.

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Jim

This was not a house. This was a retail building. It will still be retail on the first floor and apartment above it.

Isn’t that a better use of the space?

I do agree with you that a single family home being demolished for a 6-10 family home in the middle of 2 other single family homes should be stopped via zoning.

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carlo

I hope they have balconies so they can watch the old building and people across the street that pay half of the rent they will end up paying.

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Anonymous

By the same token, the developers should put up super transparent windows for the reading room, gym, gathering rooms, pretty much all the amenities that the building across doesn’t have. This way the tenants can see what new looks like.

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motr

Looks like the Ditmars area is becoming just as over crowded as 30th Ave and Broadway. I think the only place you can find some peace for families is Astoria Heights (upper ditmars) unless one day they develop those old factories on 20th ave.

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Hipsters Ruined Astoria

Damn, I wonder how many N trains I will have to wait for until I can get on due to overpopulation.

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Angela Donahue

I live in the same house I was born in. I am 61 years old. I’ve seen all the changes good and bad. This however is the worst to change ditmars and put housing there. More people in Astoria fine , but we still need some stores. Ift is getting overcrowded. I remember a time when people left Astoria thinking it would go down hill. Those people are regreating leaving. Astoria is a beautiful place but we don’t need more large buildings.

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Teach

It’s called change. I’ve been living in Astoria for 50 yrs. I’ve seen this neighborhood change..it is what it is and we’ll all have to ajust like we’ve done in the past. Since we’re so close to the city it was to be expected. Life….

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yasss

FUCK Rockfarmer and their new development.
This is like the only goddamn area of Astoria that hasn’t seen a fucking surge of development, and this guys going to come in here and fuck it up for everyone.

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jenastoria

Think of it this way. With all of the excess apartments, the market rate is bound to drop.

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trubut

If they do..the private smaller home apts will suffer first because the new places will be more sought after if they begin to decline in rental price.

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mahimahi

Unfortunately, this is already happening…even for the ones who have renovated their rental apartments in their private homes…the larger complexes offer much more amenities then a 2-3 family private homeowner can.

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Anonymous

Here’s another way of seeing it- with all the apartments made and their high pricing on a boom, they’ll be forced to drop prices, or forced to put them on an HPD lottery for the low/mid income families. The only catch is the time they need to have it done. They might be ready for some people in our areas. Doesn’t mean by that time people will wait until a 1br/2br for a reasonable price is available. So, all in all it’s a double edged sword.

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KHF

This stinks ! No more apartments, condos or banks!
We need good retail !
ABC was awesome !

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Debbie K.

Loved ABC Superstores. Went there about 5 days a week and it was rare that I would leave without making a purchase. There is no place to run when you need a shower curtain except Home Comforts or the dollar store, a curtain rod, clothes etc. What a great store it was. ABC opened in October of 1991 or 92 and was a life saver for the past 25 years. You will be greatly missed

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Mike

Let’s pay off the Buildings Department some more as if they aren’t corrupt enough for changing building codes to suit the millionaire developers made millionaires by tax breaks paid for by you and me. Let’s keep turning Astoria into a frat house for the rich and the entitled from out of town and ALL of the families that have been here for generations will finally all be gone because they simply cannot afford to live here anymore and simply do not want to put up with the ever increasing 20-something noise, unfriendliness and severe lack of parking due to 4 roommates crammed into a 2 bedroom for $3,000 a month who all have cars on the street with out of town plates.

When’s the last time anyone smiled back at you on the street? When’s the last time you had an intelligent conversation with one of these kids? Sorry, hate to generalize but the younger generation that has moved here is overwhelmingly unfriendly, disrespectful, have no idea to let someone OUT of a door before entering first or thank you for holding a door open for them, walk on the right side of the sidewalk and not into you as they stare blindly at their cell phones and generally couldn’t care about being here a year from now and put down roots when they move on to some other over-gentrified neighborhood with their rent checks sent to the absentee landlords by their parents because they haven’t learned how to pay their own way by now due to be coddled ny nannies and having their college paid for by their parents instead of working for it they way anyone in their 40’s or older did. Can’t wait to sell my house to an OVERdeveloper and leave here for greener pastures.

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Jim

Maybe no one smiles or holds the door for you because you’re a miserable person.

I have many neighbors who are adults, that grew up in Astoria and are living in an apartment in their parent’s house….not paying rent. They’re like in the 30’s or 40’s. So, don’t lecture people are paying their own way. My street if filled with Greek and Italian families with adult children living at home. Get a job and move out. lol

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AA

I see both sides to this- in a way this neighborhoods’ allure was created in part by the tight knit, family oriented community it fostered- having so many schools, the park(astoria and others) the roller rink and so many of the mom and pop restaurants and stores we’ve lived off of throughout the decades… so, with that Come the interest of the new, the gantries… they bring money to our businesses and in turn, the community- right?… at the very least. In a way they contribute…. its not their fault actually it’s the developers who have no personal attachment to the original neighborhood and then there you have it- supply and demand. They hike up prices and that’s it…that’s how it is. If they can get it they’ll take it- so we feel like they also are without morals but anyway. Point is, the OG Italians and Greeks bought houses back then for their kids TO live in in the future… them not moving out in their 20s may be up for arguments yes but do you even really blame them? If you had a choice would you not consider it even if ultimately you chose independence? And I’m sorry, home ownership drives up any neighborhood and if you can’t respect those that we’re here before you then you belong in a huge very developed warehouse in the middle of no where so you have no one to not respect. Not you you but any you that is disrespectful.

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Yasss

You can’t blame just the developers. The property owners who only see dollar signs and do not consider the repercussions this building will have are also to blame

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TGRbass

“Sorry, hate to generalize but…”

I don’t hear an apology. You don’t sound sorry; sounds like you love to generalize.

Maybe the reason twentysomethings don’t smile at you is because you’re glaring at them. You sound like an everyday overentitled baby boomer who thinks that house ownership means domain over the neighborhood – and your kind isn’t limited to Astoria.

I wasn’t born and raised here, but as a Ditmars resident of 9 years who does not own a car, I bet you do. I also bet you’re as rude in real life as you are online. I’m just thankful that you’re not my next-door neighbor.

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Anonymous

pe·ri·od
ˈpirēəd/
noun
2.
NORTH AMERICAN
a punctuation mark (.) used at the end of a sentence or an abbreviation.

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Beth

People like you who cash out on inflated real estate are the problem. If families could afford to buy houses and settle here, they would. Instead, you have apartments that regular folks can’t afford. You used to have a single income household in a three bedroom. Now, you need three. That’s why you have all those kids sharing apartments here. You complain about the exact thing you’re looking forward to benefiting from. Shameful.

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Marsha

I totally agree with Mike. Lived here my whole life. Don’t even recognize Astoria I knew and loved. I too will sell, take the ridiculous amount of money and run!

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yasss

I see your point, yet i still can say for myself i have many interesting and worthwhile conversations with old time residents and those who have moved here to experience what Astoria has to offer

The cost of apartments and condos here is unfortunately rising at an undesirable pace for most, but it is because people love Astoria and it has so much to offer.

There are many great people here, and I will always see the good in our community, even if I believe there is more litter than ever…..i know that’s just because there are those inconsiderate filthy fuckers who could give two shits about where they throw their trash, or who has to pick it up

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Pablo julio

Most bumbers are wrong! Wave thai closed after 8 years, havana cafe has been closed for over 2 years now and ABC is still open. Please get your facts right!

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helen

Its Open. I just bought oven mittens and a pair socks today. Stock up people! DII Deals & Discounts (on Broadway) is kind of a long walk from Ditmars.

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Rosrmary

What we meed is a place for low income residents who have kids to be able to live in without having to stay with friends or family.

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Anonymous

These are multi million dollar properties in a multi million dollar neighborhood where the people don’t want low income families..its harsh but its reality and I dont agree but just saying its the way it is. You are not going to have low income houses in high net worth neighborhoods

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nol

I do not see it that way. There are still many apts and homes in Astoria (especially around Ditmars) that are occupied by lower income households, the elderly on a low fixed income and those on public assistance. Walk around during the day and its very obvious. Astoria is not Tribeca, SoHo, Williamsburg, etc. Currently, mostly developers are the only ones willing to pay a ridiculous amount (depending on location and zoning laws) for an old run down home which is driving up the market value.

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yasss

most likely more than 75% of what residents can afford.

Well over $1000 per sq foot if condos considering the area and completion date.

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Old Astorian

I’l sure all of those parking spots are being bulldozed with the buildings. More housing, less parking. Greeeeaaat. . .

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Matina

Building that have 10 apartments or more are required to have a garage so I guess that’s the bright side of this.

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FromAstoriaToMiddleVillage

The garage will only cover a percentage of the units that is usually not nearly enough to cover the needs of the buildings. Cars will overflow the streets rest assured.

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