Queens’ tallest resi tower lands $215M refi

Morgan Stanley provides loan to Heatherwood Luxury Rentals for 638-ft tall tower in Long Island City

The tallest residential tower in Queens (for now) just got more than $200 million in permanent financing.

Long Island-based developer Heatherwood Luxury Rentals secured a $215 million loan from Morgan Stanley to refinance its 58-story luxury rental Tower 28 building in the Queens Plaza section of Long Island City.

The newly constructed tower, which stands steps away from six different subway lines between the Queensboro Plaza and the Queens Plaza subway stations, offers “a swift commute into Midtown, Hudson Yards and the rest of Manhattan”, said JLL’s Aaron Appel, who led the team that arranged the debt on behalf of Heatherwood.

The new financing replaces a $154 million construction loan PNC Bank lent the developer in 2015 to build the 451-unit building, where rents average in the mid- to high-$50s per square foot, according to StreetEasy. Hill West Architects designed the building.

Headquartered in Suffolk County, Heatherwood paid $12.6 million in 2011 to buy the development site at 42-12 28th Street, and paid another $10.2 million in 2013 to buy additional air rights.

The tower topped out in 2017 at 638 feet tall, which makes it – for the time being – the tallest residential tower in Queens, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. (The borough’s tallest building is the One Court Square office tower, which stands at 673 feet.)

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Heatherwood’s building is set to be overtaken by Queens developer Chris Xu’s Skyline Tower condominium building about three blocks away at 23-15 44th Drive, which will be the tallest building of any kind in Queens when it tops out at 778 feet.

The Durst Organization’s Queens Plaza Park, at 29-37 41st Avenue, will become the borough’s second-tallest building at 755 feet tall.

While developers don’t necessarily build tall buildings in order to break records, higher apartments generally command greater rents, especially as views on lower floors start to get obscured from competing buildings blocking sight lines.

Recently completed residential buildings in the area include the 45-story 1 QPS Tower, which a fund managed by the private equity firm Carlyle Group bought last year for $284 million, or slightly more than $725 per square foot.

Tishman Speyer is developing its three-building Jackson Park LIC complex, which has 1,800 units.

JLL’s Jonathan Schwartz, Matt Collins, Brian Buglione and Michael Ianno worked on the team that helped secure the financing.