Finance  ·  Sales

ZD Jasper Buys Long Island City Waterfront Development Site for $47M

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A joint venture is cutting its losses on a Queens site after close to a decade of trying to build housing where an old factory still stands, Commercial Observer has learned.

Quadrum Global, Baron Property Group and Simon Development have offloaded the development site at 45-40 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City, Queens, to ZD Jasper Realty for $47 million, according to brokers JLL (JLL). The spot currently houses a derelict building known locally as the Paragon Paint Factory.

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Although the 28-story housing project never materialized after community resistance to the height of the proposed building as far back as 2016, the sellers are still probably making a profit after acquiring the site for $14.6 million in 2013, according to JLL.

Quardrum, Baron and Simon presented plans for a 23-story building with 226 units to Queens Community Board 2 in 2022, in which the developers stated that environmental remediations had driven costs up by $13 million.

Local opposition did not stop the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals from approving a zoning variance in June 2023 for the project; and it’s unclear why the joint venture never moved forward after that. However, ZD Jasper plans to build housing as well, but details on its development aren’t available yet. 

Any new plans would just have to fit into the BSA’s approved requirements for 192,000 square feet of development.

JLL’s Brendan Maddigan, Rob Hinckley, Michael Mazzara, Ethan Stanton, Winfield Clifford and Vickram Jambu represented both the buyer and seller in the deal.

“This is arguably the best development site in all of Long Island City and presents the buyer with a ready-to-develop project with BSA-approved plans on a site positioned to deliver a prominent waterfront product,” Maddigan said in a statement. “45-40 Vernon Boulevard will fill a void in the local market for high-quality homes proximate to mass transit and neighborhood amenities.”

The buyer and the seller did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The site sits immediately adjacent to where Amazon had planned its HQ2, which the e-commerce giant scrapped in 2019 following opposition to development tax incentives.

HQ2 or no HQ2, the property remains valuable for its proximity to the East River where Gantry State Park offers a number of attractions, JLL said.

And this isn’t the only development ZD Jasper has in the works. The company dropped $24.5 million to acquire Papaya King’s longtime home at 179 East 86th Street in November and filed plans to build a 17-story multifamily building on the site earlier this month.

Mark Hallum can be reached at mhallum@commercialobserver.com.