Under Construction: LargaVista Pays Homage to Its Past With LIC’s Gaseteria Building
In recent years, Long Island City, Queens, has seen its fair share of adaptive reuse projects that have sought to convert the neighborhood’s plethora of former warehouse and industrial buildings into loft-like office spaces targeting creatively oriented, tech and media industry tenants.
At 30-10 41st Avenue near Sunnyside Yards, real estate investment firm LargaVista Companies is currently at work on the latest project that seeks to capitalize on this trend: the redevelopment of a four-story, roughly 60,000-square-foot former manufacturing building that it has dubbed the Gasteria Building.
While the name pays homage to LargaVista’s previous incarnation as Gaseteria—once the largest independent chain of gas stations in New York City—the 1920s building is actually a former stove manufacturing facility that in more recent years has housed a variety of industrial and light manufacturing tenants.
LargaVista acquired the property for just over $27 million in March 2017 and is now pouring another $10 million into its rehabilitation and repositioning. The developer tapped architecture and interior design firm Fogarty Finger to helm the project; the architecture firm has previously overseen similar adaptive reuse projects such as the Box Factory, Hornig Capital Partners’ redevelopment of a former manufacturing building in Ridgewood, Queens.
Marco Giardina, an associate at Fogarty Finger, pointed out that whereas the Box Factory is a predominantly brick and timber structure featuring wood joist ceilings and wood floors, the Gaseteria Building has different traits that provide it with its own unique character: concrete and brick elements, mushroom columns and, of course, high ceilings ranging from 12 to 15 feet.
“We tried to keep the building true to itself,” Giardina said of the design. That meant keeping the structural elements of the warehouse intact while overhauling the windows, elevators and electrical and mechanical systems.
The facade is being repointed and will feature a newly painted Gaseteria logo with “a distressed look,” according to LargaVista COO Adam Good, while the manufacturing building’s former loading docks are being transformed into a spacious lobby featuring stone floors and walls covered with a mural depicting blueprints of Sunnyside Yards. (Outside of the entrance, the building’s address will be displayed with lettering from old Gaseteria filling pumps.)
“The bones of the building are fantastic; our focus was bringing it into the 21st century,” Good told Commercial Observer. He added that LargaVista plans to ask around $45 per square foot for office space at the property, which is expected to be ready for occupancy by the first quarter of next year.
In addition to contemporarily minded workspaces with open layouts, natural lighting and views of the adjacent train yard, Good said the project also hopes to attract tenants drawn to Long Island City itself as a burgeoning residential and commercial destination.
“Long Island City has developed in a way where it’s now a real live-work community, and that [dynamic] is only getting greater,” he said, citing the neighborhood’s ample mass transit offerings as a particular draw. “It’s no longer just a cheaper [option]—it’s a fun place to work and live.”