LIC developer secures $56M construction loan for stalled project

Despite the new funding, the developer will need to cure a stop-work order before further construction

LIC developer secures $56M construction loan for stalled mixed-use project
John Werwaiss, a rendering of the building awning and zoning plans (,

Werwaiss Properties is almost ready to forge ahead with a Long Island City mixed-use building after securing $55.6 million in construction loans from JPMorgan Chase. The 20-story structure will feature 157 units atop nearly 10,000 square feet of retail space, according to plans filed last year.

All told, the project will be roughly 118,000 square feet.

The site is wedged between three streets near Court Square Park on a plot of land shaped like Nevada. Werwaiss’ 224-foot building, called 8 Court Square, will front Thompson Avenue, a stone’s throw from the park. Just four blocks away, Werweiss has filed plans for a 37-story, mixed-use tower with nearly twice the square footage as the Court Square project.

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The developer’s family purchased part of the lot in 1974, decades before Long Island City’s rezoning and renewal. Now, the project will have to compete with a forest of glamorous residential offerings nearby, including Tom Wu’s luxe 5 Court Square, which sits on an adjacent lot.

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“The residential building will be positioned as a boutique alternative to the large glass towers prevalent throughout the neighborhood,” a project description on the developer’s website says. John A.W. Werwaiss, the son of the firm’s founder who leads new development and signed the loan documents, declined to comment.

One last hurdle remains before the project can head skyward. On Sept. 3, the city issued a full stop work order at the property, requiring an updated plan to discharge groundwater. Once that’s resolved, a year and a half after filing plans for the building, Werwaiss will have the firepower to make it a reality.

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