ZD Jasper buys LIC development site for $47M 

Developer to revive long-stalled housing plans 

ZD Jasper Realty’s Jasper Wu, 45-40 Vernon Boulevard and rendering (Getty, Google Maps, JLL, ZD Jasper Realty)
ZD Jasper Realty’s Jasper Wu, 45-40 Vernon Boulevard and rendering (Getty, Google Maps, JLL, ZD Jasper Realty)

ZD Jasper Realty is taking its shot at a Long Island City waterfront site after a joint venture failed to build long-planned housing there.

The Great Neck firm acquired 45-40 Vernon Boulevard in Queens from Quadrum Global, Baron Property Group and Simon Development for $47 million, the Commercial Observer reported.

The joint venture had acquired the site in 2013 for $14.6 million and proposed several housing plans for it. At one point, the developers wanted to build a 28-story, 296-unit housing project, but the community objected to the proposed height. They cut it down to a 23-story, 226-unit project in 2022.

Despite continuing local opposition, the developers received a zoning variance from the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals in June. But the project appeared to stall, as lenders worried that developers would not be able to finish projects by June 2026 to qualify for the crucial 421a tax abatement.

State lawmakers extended the deadline to 2031 last weekend, which gives ZD Jasper some breathing room, assuming the previous owners put footings in the ground before 421a expired in June 2022. If not, ZD Jasper could use the replacement tax break, 485x, although the tax break’s highest wage requirement for construction workers applies at the site.

It is unclear if ZD Jasper will amend the plan of the previous owner. The BSA’s requirements call for 192,000 square feet of development at the site, adjacent to where Amazon once planned a second headquarters.

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The buyer and sellers did not respond to the Observer’s requests for comment.

A JLL team including Brendan Maddigan and Rob Hinckley represented both sides of the sale.

ZD Jasper has been most active in Queens, but has made recent moves in Manhattan as vice president Jasper Wu has taken a more active role in his father’s firm. The company has bought several sites from Gary Barnett’s Extell Development, recently filing plans for a 25-unit condo project on the Upper East Side.

ZD Jasper has completed 11 projects in Queens, including a 58-unit condo development at 5 Court Square in Long Island City. On its website, the firm says it has built a dozen buildings with more than 1,000 units in the city.

Holden Walter-Warner

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