April 4, 2017

Commercial Observer: The Power 100, #89 Michael Lee and Sunny Chiu

Chairman and CEO; Vice Chairman of F&T Group
Last Year’s Rank: 89

Michael Lee and Sunny Chiu edged closer last year to their dream of giving Flushing its rightful prominence on the map.

Their F&T Group was able receive a temporary certificate of occupancy (TCO) for the first residential building and Queens commercial structure for Flushing Commons, the 1.8-million-square-foot project that F&T is building with AECOM and The Rockefeller Group.

The completion of those two buildings this year will mark the end of phase one of the project, which celebrated a groundbreaking in 2014. The 190,000-square-foot commercial building has 90 condominium units, and the residential tower has 148 condos. Closing on the sale of the units at the site began in April 2017. Phase two consists of three residential condo towers with a total of 450 homes. The company is also building 53,000 square feet of retail and a 1.5-acre public park.

“I think last year was about execution, especially for Flushing Commons—getting the project built and getting the TCOs so we can start closing [sales],” said Helen Lee, Michael’s daughter and an executive vice president at the company overseeing the Flushing Commons project.

At the same time, in another part of the neighborhood, F&T is constructing the 1.2-million-square-foot Tangram at 133-15 39th Avenue. The Flushing, Queens-based developer completed foundation work last year and expects to open the mixed-use project in 2018. The company plans to build a 34,000-square-foot movie theater in the property, which will be the first in the neighborhood since the closure of the historic RKO Keith’s Theater, shuttered in 1986. And F&T hopes to have a 24,000-square-foot food hall and space for 30 luxury retailers. The site will also be home to a hotel with a 3,500- to 5,000-square-foot beer garden.

Speaking of food and drink, F&T Group opened a 10,000-square-foot food hall at its Queens Crossing building at 136-17 39th Avenue in the fall last year near the 7-train station. It features Japanese, Taiwanese, Hawaiian and Korean cuisine and F&T plans to add more. This April, TimeOut New York ranked the food hall the city’s third best and called it a “foodie haven.”—L.L.G.

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