There’s no way this project is the longest conversion in the history of NYC construction, but so far, 5-33 48th Ave. is a nearly 15 year conversion project. The original DOB (Department of Buildings) residential conversion application was submitted way back in 2003, five owners (or at least 5 deed transfers), or over $50 million in loans ago. For some reason, this project has been marred by an apparent lack of progress until recently, as RentCement’s LIC adventures continue.
The reason this project is taking epic time to complete doesn’t come easy, although the task of converting a manufacturing building into a residential building is no small feat. Years of manufacturing remnants, environmental issues, and the sheer energy needed to fit a large building with residential necessities (like plumbing) takes time. Consider for a moment the effort underway at the Domino Sugar Factory. Despite the time and effort expended thus far, I still don’t see anyone moving in just yet, and chances are, no one is moving into 5-33 48th Ave. just yet either.
A review of DOB violations yields no definitive answers. Sure, there is the occasional stop work order, but nothing that stands out as the linchpin. Could it be the lack of leadership over the last 15 years? Possibly, since ACRIS shows a revolving door of ownership since 2003.
Will things be different with the new owner, 5-33 48th Avenue Condominium Corp? The effort seems promising, from at least an administrative perspective, as the condominium plans, submitted this year, were approved by the Attorney General Real Estate Finance Bureau. The 43 residential unit conversion has an anticipated completion date of January 2019. From a financial perspective, the effort also looks promising, as nearly $23 million in loans were secured in December 2017, according to data available in ACRIS. And it’s not as if no progress has been made. Comparing 2007’s street view image below to the current images above, it’s clear that facade restoration and window installation is nearing completion. We’ll circle back in early 2019.