Friday, February 23, 2018

Western Beef will not become hotel

From the Queens Gazette:

The developer of a massive hotel at the site of a former Western Beef Supermarket in Long Island City has scrapped plans for the project.

The site at the northwest corner of Northern Boulevard and Steinway Street includes the former supermarket property and four adjacent parcels formerly controlled by the food retailer. JMH Development leased the Western Beef supermarket and the four parcels from Western Beef in 2014 for $19.6 million.

Plans for the hotel included 119,722-sauare-feet of commercial space, a bar and a breakfast room on the ground floor of the 60-foot-tall building, along woth14 hotel rooms in the cellar level of the hotel, 28 rooms on the ground floor, 67 room on the second floor, 66 rooms on each of the third and fourth floors, and 49 rooms on the fifth floor, for a total of. 289 rooms.

Plans for the new development feature a six-story rental building with 140 residential units, 40,000-square-feet of retail and an undetermined number of indoor parking spaces.

The developers “re-thought” plans for the hotel and decided to scrap the project due to an overabundance on similar hotels located in Manhattan and Long Island City, according to a spokesperson for JMH Development.

Yet another Queens Blvd hotel to become homeless shelter

From LIC Post:

The Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Long Island City is set to become a shelter for adult families.

The hotel, located at 52-34 Van Dam St., will provide shelter for up to 154 homeless families, according to the Department of Homeless Services. The shelter is expected to open in March.

The agency notified the community board and elected officials of their plans on Feb. 13.

The shelter will be a high-quality transitional housing facility under de Blasio’s “Turning the Tide” initiative put forth early 2017 to tackle homelessness. Under the mayor’s plan, cluster sites through the city will be eliminated while multi-service facilities like these are set to open. For this shelter, priority will be given to families with roots in Community Board 2.

We're also paying more for the privilege of housing the world's homeless.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

How do you help a hoarder?

From CBS:

Residents in Brooklyn are desperate to get their neighbor’s home cleaned up.

They say the historic landmark is now an eyesore with trash and junk piled high in the front yard.

It’s a beautiful tree lined block with million-dollar brownstones, but all kinds of things are piled up and pouring out of the front lawn of 253 Sterling Street.

People on Sterling Street said the woman who lives there hoards in her front yard, her backyard, and even in and on top of her car.

Neighbors say the homeowner has lived here for several decades, but the problem has gotten worse in the last few weeks.

Neighbors said they’ve called 311 and nothing has happened.

LIC leaders unhappy with development plan

From LIC Post:

The city’s current plan to bring a massive mixed-use project on public land along the Hunters Point waterfront has been rejected by Long Island City’s elected leaders.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and Assemblymember Cathy Nolan say that the Economic Development Corp’s plan to build 1,000 residential units (25 percent affordable) in two towers scaling over 500 feet by 44th Drive and Vernon Boulevard is simply unacceptable.

“I think it needs to be re-envisioned,” Van Bramer said of the 4.5 acre proposal, which also includes a public school, a park, and industrial and commercial space. “This project as it stands is perhaps the dream of some people in City Hall, but it is not one that I share.”

Van Bramer added that the community’s concerns over green space, recreation, the number of affordable units, and the overall density of the project are valid. “What the community is saying, and what I’m saying, too, is for too long the city has not paid attention to the infrastructure needs of LIC,” he said.

Nolan said the development is “too massive” and fails to take the repeatedly-raised needs of the community into consideration.

A better way to board up homes?

From CBS 2:

Broken, boarded windows are a telltale sign of a an abandoned zombie home. Throughout the tri-state area, they attract vandals and squatters.

In Massapequa, neighbors count as many as 50 eyesores dragging down property values.

Gaetine Hodnett lives next door to one such home. After complaining to the town of Oyster Bay, her local government responded with a first for Long Island.

The town has passed a law banning the use of plywood to cover windows and doors. Instead, owners and banks will have to use clear boards made of polycarbonate.

The clear boards, mandated elsewhere in the nation, bring light into an abandoned house and keep criminals out.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

College Point street is flooded 24/7

From the Times Ledger:

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) joined residents of Powells Cove Boulevard last Friday to call on the city to finally address a major flooding condition that residents say has plagued the community for over 20 years.

Avella and residents stood on the corner of Powells Cove Blvd. and 126th St. around a large pool of water that amassed from rainfall earlier in the week that had frozen over and showed no signs of going away.

According to residents who have dealt with this issue for years, they expect the floodwaters to stay there well into spring. Avella said he has been working with residents for the last two years to bring the issue to the attention to different city agencies.

Avella said the location has been inspected by multiple city agencies, including the Department of Transportation, which blamed the flooding on a lack of storm sewers at the location, and claimed that the Department of Environmental Protection must address that before DOT can address the road issues.

Over the summer, Avella brought the issues up to the DEP, which said it would open a 90-day investigation of the location — but to this date, neither he nor the residents have heard what that investigation concluded.

They're Building It Back badly

From PIX11:

After the tri-state area was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy back in October 2012, "Build It Back," a federally funded program supervised by New York City was created.

The goal of the program is to help people get their homes back.

We get a lot of complaints about delays in Build It Back projects and other issues, but Frank Scarantino has a new one. The Build It Back project next door is flooding his home.

“This wall — they just created it. And when it comes into the street from the high tide this gets all flooded,” Scarantino said. "And the water does not go away for a minimum of a week to two weeks.”

The program is supposed to be helping, but instead they’re causing all kinds of problems for the people next door. Scarantino and his wife fixed their home without the help of Build It Back.

Scarantino told me that the contractor said they will build a retaining wall. The only question is, when?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Georgia Diner sold and will merge with Nevada Diner

From QNS:

A favorite dining spot along Queens Boulevard is closing its doors after 40 years of serving the Elmhurst community, but its tradition will live on just a few blocks away.

Georgia Diner, founded in 1978, will close at its original location on March 25 and merge with the Nevada Diner, less than half a mile away on Queens Boulevard. John Singh, a manager at both diners (owned by the same entrepreneur, Jimmy Kaloidis), said that the Georgia Diner will bring its famous name and most of its staff to the new location, but not much else will change.

“It’s the same food, the same service, the same phone number, just a different address,” Singh said.

Singh explained that Kaloidis recently decided to sell the building the Georgia Diner has occupied for decades. After selling part of the parking lot to a developer three years ago, Kaloidis was recently offered a price for the entire property by the same developer and decided to capitalize on it, Singh said. The application for the demolition of the diner was approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB) on Feb. 7.

City records show that the diner was sold for $14.25 million.

Koslowitz ok with jail (and shelter for now)

From the Queens Chronicle:

The city will start housing homeless families instead of single men at the Comfort Inn in Kew Gardens beginning in June, and the hotel will stop being used as an emergency homeless shelter altogether by Feb. 12, 2019.

That’s according to Human Resources Adminstration Commissioner Steve Banks, who made those promises in a Monday letter to Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills).

In return, Koslowitz — who shared the correspondence exclusively with the Chronicle — said she will renew her support for the reactivation of the Queens House of Detention as a jail, should the facilities on Rikers Island close as planned.

The lawmaker exclusively told the Chronicle two weeks ago that she was yanking her support for the QHD proposal, citing a larger-than-planned influx of homeless men the city was housing at the 123-28 82 Ave. hotel just a block away.

“It was a matter of a few weeks that it all transpired, right after it was in your paper,” Koslowitz said Wednesday. “I got the commitment Friday. The commissioner called me on Friday and I told him I wanted it in writing.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Homeless behavior is causing problems all over the city

From the Daily News:

The Daily News spent three months looking at life in neighborhoods with large numbers of shelter beds, documenting the cost these residents pay by shouldering a disproportionate share of the city’s collective burden.

The News found they often face a wide variety of challenges: verbal harassment and physical assaults; stoops used as bathrooms; outdoor flowerpots used to hide knives; prostitution and drug dealing; newly arrived gentrifiers unable to tell the difference between some longtime homeowners and shelter residents; real estate brokers warning that property values fall when new shelters are announced nearby; and a pastor who lost half his congregation after a parishioner was raped by homeless youths from a nearby shelter.

From the Daily News:

All along Queens Boulevard the Department of Homeless Services has placed homeless in one hotel after another. Residents believe two more are coming soon based on building permits touting new “hotel/apartment residences.”

Watchful residents complain about a history of complaints over incidents involving these hotels-turned-shelters, from prostitution to physical assaults.

Between 2013 and 2017, there have been 809 calls to 311 about homeless assistance in the two zip codes with the bulk of the hotels: 11377 and 11373.

Those two zip codes far outstrip all others in Queens for calls about the homeless.

On Jan. 4, the Department of Investigation revealed prostitution and drug arrests at 34 hotels where the city places homeless families. Twelve of those hotels are located in Queens, the report said.

Exhibit No. 1 cited by frustrated locals is the Pan Am Hotel.

Four months after the mayor’s promise to cut back on shelter-hotels, the city re-upped its contract with the nonprofit that manages a family shelter in the Pan Am — extending it through 2023.

Longtime homeowner Sally Wang, a member of Elmhurst United, a group pushing to close the Pan Am, said the new contract with DHS is just the latest insult to arrive from City Hall.

“What we’re finding is a lot of homeowners are selling out because of the shelter,” she said. “They don’t want to be near the shelter. They’re selling to investor owners who don’t live here and that starts the deterioration of the whole neighborhood. And it's worse now that the contract is in for six years.”

Violence at shelters has been redefined by the de Blasio administration.

And here's what Billionaire's Row has to look forward to.

Lefferts Blvd elevator finally open

From Impunity City:

In what I admit could be an aberration in the usual posts that get written here, here is an actual good news bulletin and sign of albeit late ass civic progress. As reported here since this digital publication’s inception, it took almost 4 years, but the main entrance of the Lefferts Blvd has completed with the activation of the elevator! And it actually is quite shiny and nice. It official got turned on about a few weeks ago about 4 months ahead of the proposed 3rd quarter deadline.