Flushing megasite sells to Skyline Tower developer for $103M

Vacant property, permitted for massive mixed-use project, last sold for $115M in 2017

131-01 39th Avenue in Flushing and Chris Xu (Google Maps, AREAA)
131-01 39th Avenue in Flushing and Chris Xu (Google Maps, AREAA)

The developer behind Queens’ tallest building picked up a Flushing site with permits for a massive mixed-use project for $103 million, a slight discount from when it last changed hands five years ago.

Chris Jiashu Xu, founder of United Construction and Development Group, bought the vacant property at 131-01 39th Avenue from Young Nian Group, according to the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, which represented Young Nian in the deal.

Xu financed the purchase with a $68 million loan from the Bank of China.

Young Nian bought the site — formerly home to the Korean supermarket Assi Plaza — in 2017 from Andy Zhu’s Triple Star Realty for $115 million. Two years later, Young Nian filed permits to build a 19-story, 664,000-square-foot mixed-use building with two residential towers, a hotel tower and retail and community spaces.

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The buyer, Xu, is also the developer of Queens’ tallest building, the 67-story Skyline condo tower in the Court Square section of Long Island City. That project is aiming for a sellout of $1.1 billion, according to filings with the Attorney General’s office, making it the borough’s first condo development to attempt a ten-figure sellout.

The property sits just across Roosevelt Avenue from a 3.7-acre development site that Xu purchased in 2016 for about $100 million.

A number of Chinese developers have sought to sell their U.S. real estate amid China’s new regulations on leverage. Notably, Oceanwide Holdings is looking to sell its supertall site in the South Street Seaport — even if it means taking a nearly $200 million loss. In November, an affiliate of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group that owns a 44-story Park Avenue skyscraper and a 50-story Chicago Loop office tower filed for bankruptcy.

The 39th Avenue site is one of a handful in Flushing and the surrounding area where developers have filed plans for large residential projects. Richard Xia’s Fleet Financial Group is building a 25-story luxury hotel and condo building in nearby Corona, Queens, in partnership with a former Zaha Hadid senior architect and a Michelin-star chef. And Xiaorong Zhai’s Jade Century Properties is developing two 20-story buildings that will combine for 386 condos a block south of Xu’s property at 131-02 40th Road.