A zero-carbon-emitting luxury hotel and condo building that is partnering with a Michelin Star chef and a former Zaha Hadid senior architect sounds like a new development in Chelsea or Tribeca.
But Richard Xia’s Fleet Financial Group is seeking to bring the concept to Corona, Queens, just two miles from LaGuardia Airport.
The group plans to break ground on the 25-story project, known as Eastern Emerald, at the end of the month. Totaling 350,000 square feet, it will have 256 hotel units and 196 condominium residences. The project will also include a conference and performing arts center, along with a bar and restaurant led by chef Shinichi Inoue, formerly of Michelin-starred restaurants Sushi Azabu and Sushi Inoue.
To design the facade, Fleet Financial tapped SASI Studio, whose co-founder, Mattia Santi, was formerly a senior architect at Zaha Hadid. The design appears to mimic some of the style of the late Hadid’s use of curves.
Xia said the project already has funding in place using existing money from private investors as well as money from the federal cash-for-visas EB-5 program.
He said the project could also qualify for C-PACE financing, which allows developers and landlords to obtain cheap loans if they make certain energy improvements. The site was home to a car repair facility and gas station that Fleet Financial remediated. It received Track-1 remedial certification, which allows for unrestricted future use.
The luxury building is expected to be completed in about three to four years, according to Xia.
The Eastern Emerald would be an outlier for Corona, which isn’t known for luxury development. The average rent in the neighborhood is $2,110 per month compared with $3,217 in Long Island City, according to RentCafe, which tracks apartment rents. The area is close to Citi Field and Flushing Meadows Corona Park.