35th Ave and 12th Street building could look like this

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A rendering of the obscure Ravi Management’s planned eight story building for the southwest corner of 12th Street and 35th Avenue shows a light-toned jumbo cube. Maybe I couldn’t see the rendering if it was shown at the hearing over the item at CB1’s land-use committee’s rezoning hearing last month – but it was shown on a slide at a full Community Board 1 meeting last night, where the board approved of the rezoning plan with certain stipulations.

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Halletts Point temp arts site to get Coffeed

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That two-headed glassy building underway at 10 Halletts Point appears almost finished and is supposed to begin leasing this summer. But meanwhile, plenty of the dead space that will make up the seven-building development languishes as most of the project has been stalled. The Real Deal reported earlier this month that the Durst Organization plans to enliven the dead waterfront space in the meanwhile starting this summer (lasting maybe a few years?) with a cultural arts center involving “a stage and a fenced off area for film, dance, music and other events.” Corner has learned that Frank “Turtle” Raffaele, CEO of Coffeed, has partnered with Durst to set up a temporary Coffeed location at the temporary site. The site has been reported as 27th Avenue and 1st Street. But there are kind of two or three different locations at that intersection, the fenced off lot across from 10 Halletts point at the north, a low-rise building of some sort at the south part, and another weird lot south of that where a strange glass thing was standing until recently. I asked Raffaele if the location was where the strange glass thing was and he nodded, but I’m still not sure. In any case, I like that he knew what I was talking about. Continue reading “Halletts Point temp arts site to get Coffeed”

Permits filed for 14th hotel site in Ravenswood IBZ

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Above, 13 of 14 sites I’ve counted in or near the edge of the Ravenswood IBZ, a dramatic cluster for an otherwise low-scale industrial zone. 

New York YIMBY reports permits were filed for a 15 story hotel in the northwest section of the Ravenswood Industrial Business Zone. The ten block zone stretching along the waterfront from Queensbridge to 37th Avenue west of 21st Street is literally overrun with hotels counter to zoning intended to preserve manufacturing – as Corner has detailed. Most of the hotel sites (several haven’t been finished yet) are concentrated towards the southeast part of the zone along 40th Avenue. This new site at 37-10 10th Street is the third I’m aware of along 37th Ave and would be the most northwest of the cluster, near P.S. 76 William Hallett. The permit was filed by developer Dun Zhang with architect Gene Kaufman, which tells us this won’t be another Hotel Nirvana. On April 23, a week less than 60 days ago, the Department of City Planning launched a 60 day public review process for a proposal that would only allow hotels in the IBZs with a special permit.

CB1 committee OKs Boys & Girls Club expansion, 14-story residential building on 21st Street

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Neverending Astoria reports that Community Board 1’s land-use committee voted to express the board’s approval for the Variety Boys and Girl Club’s major facelift, rezoning and residential development proposal on 21st Street. The after school program and summer camp laid out its plans at a public hearing at the NYCHA Ravenswood Houses recently, without any secured developer for the 14 story residential building, which would fund the expansion of B&G’s space at at 21-12 30th Road. The organization says it needs to expand to serve an overwhelming waiting list of children. There were some expressed concerns at that hearing that the residential building would set a precedent for 14 story buildings on the car-busy strip through western Astoria. Some buildings on 21st Street are around or almost as tall but not many.

We’ll see how this goes at the full board. From what I saw at Ravenswood, Variety Boys and Girls Club in Astoria seems to have a lot of local membership or involvement. Even Walter Sanchez, who publishes the LIC/Astoria Journal, is the president of the board of directors for the organization. When he asked the crowd at the public hearing who’d been to the space in the last four years, it seemed almost everyone raised his or her hand. Tony Barsamian, who publishes the Queens Gazette is also on the board of directors for B&G. So we’ll see if there are any noted conflicts of interest at CB1.

Rezonings for new apartment buildings on 21st Street, 35th Ave get heard out

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Jaclyn Calcagno Scarinci, attorney representing Ravi Management details the Ravenswood corner rezoning plan to CB1.

At a public hearing for a couple of rezoning proposals for potential apartment buildings in lower-west Astoria and Long Island City Thursday, the question seemed to become how new, not-so small developments with mostly market-rate housing will lend to the future of the neighborhood.

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Modified Google Maps screenshot-map of the proposed re-zonings.

Community Board 1 held the hearing at the NYCHA Ravenswood Houses, between the two sites of interest. One proposal is for rezoning 11-14 35th Avenue at the corner of 12th Street from commercial to mixed-use so that United Crane and Rigging would be replaced by an eight-story building with 74 residential units and retail at the base. (For some perspective, the Ravenswood Houses across 12th Street are six stories tall.) In the other, Variety Boys and Girls Club is proposing to replace its existing building at 21-12 30th Road along 21st Street with a larger club space attached to a 14 story apartment building. The apartment building, owned by a yet-to-be-identified developer, would pay for the club’s expansion. Continue reading “Rezonings for new apartment buildings on 21st Street, 35th Ave get heard out”

Public rezoning hearing coming up for Ravenswood, 21st St apartment buildings

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A public hearing is planned on May 24 for rezoning applications for an apartment building planned for 12th Street near 35th Avenue in Ravenswood and the Variety Boys and Girls Club mixed-use redevelopment on 21st Street.

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Hour Children Thrift Shop’s relocation leaves behind strip of underused retail space on 34th Avenue

Hour Children has relocated one of its thrift stores to Steinway Street, leaving behind two retail blocks dotted with vacant and inaccessible storefronts on 34th Avenue on both sides of Crescent Street. The former thrift store location at 25-22 34th Avenue has been permanently closed since January 9 due to flooding, Corner learned by a call to Hour Children. The spacious 34th Avenue property, owned by Fred DelRosario, according to city records, is joined by five other closed storefronts, plus a permanently gated storefront and a storefront being used for industrial use.

Near the former Hour location is a large storefront, 25-14 34th Avenue, used by Possible Productions, a set design company that has on its portfolio website the 2016 Democratic National Convention and Coachella. Possible Productions has a wide exterior with the gate down, and a sign which reads: “AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.” I rung the bell and asked when the “season” ends, referring to the other sign, and when the store will be open. The man who answered briefly implied it’s not a store, and said the gate will stay down. The set shop seems to be listed as part of the same building or owner as the former thrift shop — when I search the block and lot, I’m only seeing this under “K1” retail code. But a set design shop isn’t retail. I think it’s either light manufacturing or warehouse. So I need to find out more about this use of a storefront on a retail block. Update: So this is what I learned from a Department of Buildings rep who acted like I was asking the most absurd question she’d heard all day. That storefront is allowed to have its gate down forever. 

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There’s an Aladdin bakery that also appears to be in a building zoned K1-retail. Bakeries, from what I understand, are industrial. Whaa? Yea, so I’m not sure — maybe it’s allowed to be there so long as there is retail in the other storefronts of the building, or conjoined buildings? I will find out! So, on two retail strips on both sides of Crescent, eight of the storefronts are not being used as storefronts. Six of those are vacant, one is Possible Productions and the other is an Aladdin bakery. (Photos below.)

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