Asian Americans for Equality is planning to build a 90,000-square-foot, seven-story building in Flushing to be used by businesses and the community.
“It’s an unusual project in many ways and the most unusual part I think is that this is intended to be a building that is specificially driven by the mission of AAFE,” Peter Bachmann of JCJ Architecture, one of the firms that designed the building, said at a press conference announcing the project last Thursday. “It is supposed to be and will be a physical manifestation of that mission.”
The structure will go up at the corner of College Point Boulevard at 133-04 39 Ave.
It will feature a 5,000-square-foot community marketplace, a two-level underground parking garage, a community event space and a business incubator floor. The first and second floors will be connected by a two-story staircase that could also be used for stadium seating for events at the community space, which will be available for outreach events, private activities, exhibitions, conferences and community meetings.
The building, which is as-of-right, will have a see-through exterior and outside will be a public plaza. The structure that is on the site, which is owned by AAFE, is vacant and will be demolished. Along with the building’s other components, it will include an expansion of the advocacy group’s office.
“The goal here is to establish a business incubator for the community of Flushing and Flushing is really wanting that kind of business generation,” he added. “Ultimately, the goal is to build local jobs.”
“There’s open space both outside the building and indoor public space. Space that you can walk into, anybody can walk into. It’s not restricted access,” Bachmann said. “And we’re intending to increase the amount of green on the streets, additional plantings, additional trees, adding life and human quality to the streetscape.”
The bottom floor will be a community marketplace where area businesses can sell goods.
“There will be Wi-Fi so I can walk in and access my email readily,” he added. “There will be any number of resources here for the community to come in and engage with each other.”
“We really thought of the building as a vertical community, that we’re tying together events, public space and work space into one building, and for us the design is really about interlocking all of these elements,” Chris Leong of Leong Leong, the other architecture group that designed the building, said. “To really also create a unified building that would combine all of these uses into a singular form.”
“This is how a community prospers from creating jobs, even the small jobs, small business,” Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) said. “Some of them will become medium businesses and big businesses. And that way, you create more jobs.”
AAFE Executive Director Chris Kui said that the project will be complete in “about two years.”
“We’re looking at starting construction at the end of first quarter of ’17,” Bachmann said.
“I am pleased to join AAFE in celebrating its new expansion in Flushing,” Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) said in a prepared statement. “Its new ‘Center for Community and Entrepreneurship’ will play an important role in helping to expand social services and economic development to those who live and work in the area, and I thank the organization for its investment and commitment to the community.”
A previous version of this article misstated the number of stories that the building planned by AAFE will have. It will have seven. We regret the error.