Sixteen-story glass building in the works

The area at 98-81 Queens Blvd. may look very different in several years, as RJ Capital Holdings is planning a 16-story mixed-use building, inset. The group said tenants will be offered the opportunity to come back to the new building.Photo by David Russell; Inset Courtesy RJ Capital Holdings

RJ Capital Holdings plans to construct at site including Tower Diner, Ohr Natan

A 16-story mixed-use building is in the works in Rego Park, where the Tower Diner, Ohr Natan synagogue and other businesses are located.

A 16-story mixed-use building planned for 98-81 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park by RJ Capital Holdings. That will mean the demolition of the buildings on the block, including Ohr Natan Synagogue and Tower Diner, but the group says tenants will be offered the opportunity to come into the new building.
Photo by David Russell; Inset Courtesy RJ Capital Holdings

The building would have 170 new rental homes, including 51 affordable units, and the retail portion on the ground floor will be about 15,000 square feet.

“We will be speaking to all of our current tenants in the building and will be offering the opportunity to come back to the building post development,” Michelle Abramov, head of leasing and dispositions at RJ Capital Holdings, said in an email to the Chronicle.

Rudy Abramov, managing principal of the company, said he anticipates construction to begin in late 2022 or early 2023.

He said he doesn’t foresee any holdups in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, a necessity as the group is asking for more residential units than are allowed.

“I think it’s a positive for the community,” Rudy Abramov said. “People want to live in this area and the more dwellings we bring in, the better it is.”

After years of exchanging barbs, Abramov said he’s had productive conversations with Rabbi Nahum Kaziev of Ohr Natan.

“I told him I would embrace him coming back and that I would work with him very closely to try to accommodate the amount of space he needs,” he said.

Plans for the site, with frontage along 99th Street, 66th Road and 66th Avenue, were originally revealed in 2016 but the project did not break ground. YIMBY reported at the time the project would feature a mix of commercial uses, including medical office space and ground-floor retail.

Abramov said he and Kaziev are closer than they were in the past, when the two would get into legal quarrels as well as verbal ones.

“We have a very good relationship now … We hit it off. Now that we’re not adversaries, we actually became friends,” he said.

Kaziev declined to comment for the story.

The Tower Diner has been a staple at the site for decades. Abramov noted that the owners opened Dinerbar nearby on Queens Boulevard in 2016.

“It’s not like they’re going to be totally disconnected from the area,” he said.

The owners could not be reached for the story.

Other businesses on the block include a bicycle shop and a liquor store.

Abramov said the building’s design can still change during the process.

“This is not something that’s going to be finalized. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of makeover and redesign until we get it right,” he said, adding that the rendering was made so there would be some conception of what the building will be.

The Department of City Planning will need to first approve it before it goes to the community board, borough president and Borough Board, City Planning Commission, City Council and the mayor.

by David Russell, Associate Editor

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