Long-delayed Queens Midtown Tunnel high-rise gets third extension

If built, Perlbinder brothers' 34-story project at Second Avenue could be worth $800M

TRD New York /
Aug.August 27, 2014 05:15 PM

Perlbinder Realty, the Manhattan real estate firm led by brothers Stephen and Mark Perlbinder, won its third extension for a long-delayed mixed-use high-rise Planned For Second Avenue between 36th and 37th streets, partly spanning an entrance to the Queens Midtown Tunnel.

The site is a large one, and so is the question mark about its future. The owners have not developed it since first winning approvals from the city in 2002. At the moment, the property has a parking lot on part of the land. The north portion is occupied by a ramp providing access to the Queen Midtown Tunnel, which is operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In July, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals approved an application from the Perlbinders’ company S&M Enterprises and the MTA, which will transfer development rights as part of the plan, to extend a variance originally granted 12 years ago to build a 34-story tower with the address 245 East 36th Street.

Perlbinder Realty did not respond to a request for comment. The MTA had no comment, and referred questions to the developer.

It was unclear what the site would be worth. But with the average price of a Manhattan apartment at $1.68 million, a completed building at the site could be worth more than $800 million.

In 2001, the Perlbinders and the MTA originally applied for the variance to build the residential tower on five individual parcels along Second Avenue between 36th and 37th streets that the family amassed over decades. In the application submitted to the Board of Standards and Appeals, the developer — citing hardships because of the tunnel ramp — asked the city to drop multiple requirements for the particular zoning parcel it occupied. For example, the firm wanted to construct a mixed-use tower, which was contrary to the site’s specific zoning.

The city agency approved the initial application in May 2002, then amended it a few months later, giving the developer four years to build. The plan included 9,678 square feet of retail, several office floors and 480 residential units on floors five through 34.

The project was never constructed, however.

The application was extended in 2006, 2010 and now in 2014. The latest extension is for another four years.

Several brokers contacted by The Real Deal said they were not familiar with plans by the ownership or brokers to market the site.

“I don’t know anything about it,” said Robert Knakal, chairman of the brokerage Massey Knakal Realty Services, who recently sold the Corinthian for the Spitzer family a few blocks away for $147 million.

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