July 3, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Long Island City will get a new Walgreens later this year despite the company shuttering a number of stores throughout the borough in recent months.
The pharmacy chain has confirmed that it is moving into a newly constructed low-rise building on the corner of Queens Plaza South and 28th Street. It plans to open in the fall.
The new building consists of a 6,500-square-foot corner space that will house Walgreens and a 2,100-square-foot commercial space facing Queens Plaza South. The 2,100 square foot space has not yet been leased, according to the landlord.
The corner block previously consisted of a stretch of small businesses with dated-looking storefronts. The businesses included two delis, an Indian restaurant, a pizzeria as well as a Subway restaurant. The stores were demolished to make way for the new building.
Sarah Cohen, whose family owns the property, said the development will help revitalize that section of the neighborhood.
The building is small for the bustling Queens Plaza area, since Cohen’s family sold the development/air rights to the property about 10 years ago to Heatherwood Communities. Heatherwood built a 58-story luxury rental building adjacent to the new low-rise building.
But the new small-scale building has upgraded the area, which many believed had previously looked gritty.
“It really mattered to us that we put something in there that is good for the community and would look good,” Cohen said, whose family has owned the property since 1980.
“The Queens Plaza area, while it is looking better, has looked seedy over the years so we really put a lot of thought into trying to do the right thing for the neighborhood.”
The new building has light-colored brickwork with a large white panel on both sides of the façade where the Walgreens logo will go.
Cohen said that construction on the building has just finished, and the 6,500 square foot space has been handed over to Walgreens for the company to start its build-out. She said the company is aiming to open in November, assuming its permits don’t get delayed.
Cohen is a real estate broker for Gotham Realty, a Manhattan-based real estate firm that manages the building. She is also on the board of directors of the Long Island City Partnership.
She said that Gotham Realty has received a number of offers for the 2,100-square-foot space but a lease has yet to be signed.
The opening of the new Walgreens store will come at a time when the company is closing many of its stores throughout the borough — and across the nation. Walgreens told the Queens Post earlier this year that the closures were the result of a number of factors — including changing consumer behavior.
In February, Walgreens closed its Broadway store in Astoria and its Bayside location on Bell Boulevard.
Walgreens has also been shuttering its Rite Aid stores, which the company acquired in 2016.