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Hotel Gossip: Japanese Firm Eyes Long Island City

September 17, 2009 By: David Eisen

At Travel Agent, we pore over the tabloids daily. Today, a story in the New York Daily News struck us. Headline: “Huge 35-story hotel near Citibank tower may cloud Long Island City skyline.” Our first thought, “Long Island City has a skyline?” We’ll be here all week!

But, seriously. Word is that a Japanese firm, Toyoko Inn New York LLC, bought five plots of land on a main thoroughfare in Long Island City, which, for those who don’t know, is in the borough of Queens. However, they haven’t built yet because approval is still needed from several city agencies and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (known as the MTA, but better known to New Yorkers as “the bane of our existence”) to add subway entrances on the 7 line at 23rd Street and 44th Drive.

The Daily News reports that “current zoning allows Toyoko, known for its 'no-frills' Japan business hotels (think just enough room to breath) to construct a 699-unit structure if it makes transit improvements.”

“It's going to be a monster,” said Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2. “It is one of those things that was not contemplated when the zoning change took place.” We just hope he was talking about the hotel, not Godzilla.

Long Island City is now known for many things. It is only a few stops away via subway from Manhattan, which makes it viable. Hence, hotels have been sprouting there.

Local residents, however, believe the sagging economy makes the project unviable. “I don't quite understand how they will attract that many people,” said Paino. Not to worry, the hotel isn’t imminent.

“The hotel won’t be built for a while, not until there is an agreement on the subway improvements,” said Jay Segal, an attorney representing Toyoko.

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