The ‘Leading Role’ of Asian-American Developers

Wellington Chen (Photo via Queens Tribune)

Wellington Chen, executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, is an architect, designer, and community leader who has long advocated for responsible development. In a wide-ranging interview with Trone Dowd of Queens Tribune, Chen describes how his experience of seeing Flushing in the 1970s affected him and his outlook.

“Flushing was in trouble. There were a series of issues,” Chen said. “Methadone clinics, vacancies on the northern end of Main Street and Northern Blvd, there was a flight to the suburbs.” Chen said that seeing the despair in Flushing turned his interest toward civic work. Although he would pursue a career in architecture and environmental studies after graduating from City College, his investment in his community pulled him towards public service.

The profile of Chen appears in a special report produced by Queens Tribune which explores the “leading role” that Asian Americans are taking in New York City real estate. Among the others profiled in the package of stories: Hotel developer Sam Chang, John Lam of the Lam Group, and Sunset Park-based community developer Louie Liu.

Movie theater development in Flushing (Photo from F&T Group via Queens Tribune)

For Chen, Flushing’s future remains a key concern:

He told the Queens Tribune he hopes that those who are opposed to the further development of Flushing change their opinion, as there are people who have the neighborhood’s best interests at heart.

“When you look around, we are all in this together,” he said. “Whether you’re Chinese, Korean, Japanese, doesn’t matter. I believe that’s what makes this such a great city. Everyone gets along.”

Go to Queens Tribune to read the introductory article that discusses many of the real estate buildings being developed in Flushing and Sunset Park, and to read the complete package.

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