In the 3 1/2 years prior to June 30, 2007 building permits were issued in Queens for the construction of 1,021 single family and 3,562 two family houses (7,124 legal units). The estimated construction costs for these one family houses is over $180 million ($176,537 per house) and for these two family houses over $662 million ($185,920 per building). These costs, of course, are on top of the acquisition costs of the properties and site preparation (i.e. demolition) costs.
Many of these houses are built by the owners of the properties for their own use while others are built "on spec" for resale.
Since little vacant land in Queens has been available most of these houses are "replacement" houses. Existing older houses are totally or substantially demolished and new houses reflecting the values, tastes, aspirations and financial resources of the new owners -- or of the builders' perceptions of the values, tastes, aspirations and financial resources of potential purchasers -- are built in their place.
This blog will provide a continuing tour of some of these additions to our Queens communities; pictures of some existing neighboring houses will be included for contrast. You will be the judge of whether these new additions add or subtract to the communities to which they have been added.
Several themes predominate in "reborn" Queens houses: 1. Glorified oversized entrances, two stories high with wide deep staircases, columns of all types and picture windows highlighting huge indoor chandeliers. 2. Extensive use of pavers and concrete in place of lawns and foundation plantings. 3. Trappings of elegance and wealth: Corinthian columns, granite and marble steps and stair rails, expansive entry stairs. Nothing subtle or understated. 4. Stainless steel entry doors, fences and railings. 5. Under-house double garages taking up much of the facade and extra-wide driveways that leave little room for grass or shubbery. 6. Elaborate entry doors and entry lights. 7. Use of brick and concrete-covered styrofoam that imiatates masonry. No use of wood, vinyl and aluminum siding.
This BLOG is in formation; dozens of more pictures will be added as time permits. The pictures are not presented in any planned order; make sure to scroll down to the bottom so as not to miss some of the more interesting selections.