David Marx plans to transform Queens strip mall into assisted living

3-acre site in Douglaston to become 330 apartments

Marx Development Group’s David Marx With 242-22 61st Avenue
Marx Development Group’s David Marx With 242-22 61st Avenue (Marx Development Group, Google Maps, Getty)

If you can’t sell it, reinvent it.

Four years ago, David Marx was looking for a buyer for a three-acre strip bordering Queens and Nassau. Instead, the developer is now looking for City Planning Commission approval to convert the site into more than 240,000 square feet of living space for the borough’s aging population.

The first of two buildings in Marx Development Group’s proposal for 242-22 61st Avenue will be eight stories tall and host 126 apartments, from studios to two-bedrooms. It will also feature an ambulatory medical space.

Elsewhere in the building, the developer has plotted out a lounge, gym, game room, daycare and library according to documents filed with the group’s land-use application.

The second building on the site will be a 10-story assisted living facility, offering 203 long-term care beds across a mix of studios and one-bedroom units, along with a dining hall, chapel, salon, media room and two activity rooms.

Three sub-cellars would be attached to each of the buildings, allowing for mechanicals and more parking. All in all, the site would offer 191 off-street parking spaces.

On the lot today is an 1,800-square-foot shopping center — small enough to be called a strip mall — with a Macy’s, a liquor store and a dentist’s office.

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Marx, one of the city’s largest hoteliers, has a real estate portfolio spanning 4 million square feet. While the majority of that is hotels, it also includes four apartment buildings and 2,000 beds in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, according to the firm’s website.

Last summer, the company was accused of faking an architect’s credentials on three of its projects. An investigation by the New York Times found the architect had lent his license to the developer but had retired in 2016 and never actually laid eyes on the plans for Hudson Yards’ 51-story Aloft hotel project at 450 11th Avenue, a 126-room hotel near LaGuardia Airport and a residential development in Flushing.

The architect “said in an interview he was never asked to review any building plans,” the Times wrote, and “had no active role in the projects.”

A spokesperson for Marx disputed that, claiming that the architect, Warren Schiffman, and “many other certified architects and professionals reviewed and approved the designs for all of these projects,” which were approved by the Department of Buildings.

“When he surrendered his license in 2022, Mr. Schiffman was replaced as applicant of record on each of these projects,” the spokesperson said. “Construction on all of these projects has commenced or been completed.”

This article has been updated with statements by a spokesperson for David Marx.

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