On a busy corner of Jackson Ave in Long Island City, the latest from KSQ Architects and the Vorea Group shows signs of life and hopes to begin to emerge above-ground. Jackson Square has been in development since at least 2016, with plenty of time since then to evolve. It is one of many mixed-use projects that has managed to continue steady development in the Long Island area.
However, unlike other local mixed-use ventures like Lighthouse Point, Jackson Square will not include permanent housing, much less affordable housing, which has been a major sticking point for keeping certain construction projects open during the pandemic. It has nonetheless continued to progress in the last few months, with foundation work beginning in April and drawing to a close in August.
The Project: How Has Jackson Square Evolved?
The first whisper of this project began in 2016 when the Vorea Group purchased a 99-year lease for the property, a mere 10,000 square feet prior to development, with initial images showing a simple corner retail space rising to towering heights of…a single story.
The location sits a single block away from Court Square Subway Station, with access to the G and 7 trains, and immediate plans appear to center around making the most of that.
From the very beginning, proposals involved at least 50,000 square feet of new construction, including retail space, offices, and a hotel. Commuters looking to shop, work, or stay over would have immediate access to the city’s transit system. 2016 reports projected 30,000 square feet dedicated to retail on the ground floor, with no immediate information on the division between office space and hotel space.
It would take another two years before the demolition permits would be filed, the rest a year later in 2019. At this time, it projected that the finished project would be nearly 150 feet tall, and estimated around 67,000 square feet of space, including speculations on rental units.
In the time since, at least two renderings of the space have been released to the public, both wildly different. The earlier ones featured a gray steel and concrete-based facade, and the latest features a more classical dark red exterior. By the time of the first rendering releases in October 2019, the plans then specified ground floor and cellar retail space, offices on two floors, and a 72-unit hotel on the remaining six floors, totaling nine above-ground floors.
As of April 2020, when foundation work began, the final plans promise a structure with over 87,000 square feet of space.