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NEW YORK CITY-Vornado Realty Trust has unveiled final plans and broken ground on the Rego Park Center in Queens. The $550-million project will combine a major retail component with housing and community amenities.

Century 21, Kohl’s and Home Depot have already signed on to anchor the 600,000-sf, four-story project. A 1,400-space parking garage and up to 400 apartments are also part of the plans. The retail component is expected to open by fall 2009.

The design for Rego Park Center took two years to complete as Vornado worked with the Department of City Planning to create a project that was well suited for the area. The design includes a red curved wall that will be visible to passing motorists on the Long Island Expressway. The project was designed by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut and Kuhn, in conjunction with Greenberg Farrow Architecture and SLCE Architects. Lee Weintraub & Associates designed the exterior landscape and Bovis Lend Lease will be the construction manager.

“We have designed a project that both blends with and enhances the character and flavor of the Rego Park community,” says Steven Roth, chairman and CEO of Vornado. “We are confident that in the end, we will be contributing to an even more dynamic neighborhood with even better options for shopping, leisure and living.”

At the ceremonious groundbreaking last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “Rego Park Center is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when government, the real estate industry and local communities partner together in designing projects that grow New York City’s economy while also enriching local neighborhoods and serving the needs of residents in the community.”

Beyond the shopping center, apartment complex and parking garage, Vornado has agreed to build a 2,500-sf community room for local events, and improve the 63rd Drive-Rego Park subway station by adding new turnstiles and improving circulation patterns.

The project is expected to create roughly 2,500 construction jobs and 1,400 permanent jobs. “In addition to the 2,500 construction jobs that will result from this project, Rego Park Center will create an estimated 1,400 permanent jobs,” said Council member Helen Sears, whose district includes the Rego Park Center, at the ground breaking. “Moreover, Rego Park Center will be an economic catalyst for the borough—attracting people from all over the City to come to Queens not only to shop here, but to live here as well.”

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