A notable Flushing temple that serves as the East Coast hub for the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist community was honored for its extensive renovation and expansion ahead of the faith’s octo-centennial, or 800th year celebration.
BR Construction Group, an affiliate of Forte Construction Corp., undertook this significant renovation project, along with architecture partner TMH Architect NYC.
“For their efforts, the Queens Chamber of Commerce honored the firm as part of its 2023 Building Awards, a prestigious honor that has been bestowed on noteworthy construction projects throughout the borough of Queens since 1926.”
In its 95th year, the awards spotlighted 12 of the most accomplished projects in Queens in various categories, including health care, industrial, mixed-use, schools and colleges, hotels, and more.
Located in the heart of Flushing, this Nichiren Shoshu Temple serves worshipers of the faith from as far north as Eastern Canada to as far south as Philadelphia and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The 40-year-old structure needed to be expanded and modernized ahead of the 800th anniversary of Nichiren Shoshu, the largest sect of this Buddhist faith, scheduled to take place throughout 2022.
The team at BR Construction was tasked with adding a new second floor for use as a main hall and gathering space; modernizing interior spaces, bathrooms, and conference areas; and adding an elevator to serve those with limited mobility. New HVAC, electrical systems and structural steel framing were installed.
On the exterior, BR Construction dressed the building with a new stucco façade, slate roofing, architectural copper trim, architectural windows, and glass doors—all with an aesthetic faithful to and inclusive of many elements of the religion’s Japanese origins.
The project, beginning in May of 2019, took just under 2 ½ years to complete. There was a pause in work mandated by state and local authorities between March 30, 2020, and June 8, 2020, due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
“While this important project presented logistical challenges due to the pandemic and its location in the middle of one of Queens’ busiest residential and commercial neighborhoods, it was an honor for BR Construction to be selected to lead the project and now to be selected by the Queens Chamber for excellence in construction,” said Evros Kavazis, Director of Business Development at BR Construction Group. “It is a testament to the skill and professionalism of our entire team that we were able to design a grand structure worthy of marking the 800th year of this important faith.”
The 2023 Building Awards were presented at a gala event held at Flushing’s iconic Terrace on the Park on October 12, 2023. Honored guests included Suzette Noble, Chief Executive Officer, LaGuardia Gateway Partners (LGP), who served as this year’s keynote speaker, and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.
“Queens is the World’s Borough, with over 190 countries represented here, and we want people to spend their money in Queens,” said Richards, who spoke about the critical importance of real estate and construction in the borough. He noted that recent projects, such as the rehabilitation of LaGuardia Airport, have helped put $700 million back into the pockets of Queens’ small businesses, and the borough’s unemployment rate has dropped from 20 percent to 5 percent due to key infrastructure investments.
“Over the years, our borough has evolved and changed, but it continues to flourish thanks in large part to the real estate and development community, who continue to bring new and exciting projects to Queens. We were proud to come together to honor these talented architects and builders – as we have done for nearly a century – at our 2023 Building Awards Gala at Terrace on the Park,” said Tom Grech, President and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce.