“That was our weekly ritual,” he said. “We got haircuts, meals. We spent the whole day there.”
They would load up on groceries from Hong Kong Supermarket, visit friends and relatives, and celebrate Chinese New Year in Flushing.
“That’s like my second home,” Liang said.
Now, Liang is playing a crucial role in redeveloping the area’s waterfront. As president of YNG Group, he is one of three property owners driving a waterfront plan that includes building 1,725 housing units, new hotels, office space, retail stores and a host of other amenities.
Altogether, their plan would create 3,000 permanent jobs, tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue, environmental remediation of the area, new waterfront and open space and a road network. Liang said the benefits are “endless.”
“Given where we are in this whole economic downturn, a real recession is coming,” he said. “This is a dire time. Flushing is in need of a stimulus, and what better stimulus than private investment.”
Liang sees the project as a major upgrade over what the property was when he bought it in 2017: a piece of abandoned, polluted wasteland.
“It’s an eyesore to the community,” he said.
Liang notes that as competitors, it’s not common for three major developers to come together for a joint venture. But he’s optimistic that the waterfront plan will be approved and work out for the better.
“After spending all this money hiring world-class architects and engineers, I do believe this is a better project for our company, too,” he said, “so we can have a better product for our future customers.”