Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fresh Pond Road Staples closing

I had to pick up some supplies this weekend at Staples on Fresh Pond Road, and when I returned home, I noticed this in the bag. So is it a permanent closure or are they doing an inventory?
The deed changed hands last year, and when I searched their online directory, the Maspeth location doesn't come up as a choice anymore. So it looks like it's permanent.
Now the question is what is coming to this super large lot...

Air rights an issue

From Brick Underground:

PropertyShark's air rights map, published recently on the Real Deal, may very well be your tool for decoding where developers may be headed next. It shows where there's still lots of air rights available—important if you're a real estate investor looking to build the next high-rise. A quick primer: Air rights are developable assets that exist above a building if it isn't as tall as what the neighborhood's maximum heights are. According to the website Air Rights New York, "if a building adjacent to a construction site is lower than neighborhood zoning laws allow, the developer can acquire the building’s unused air space, add it to his or her project, and erect a taller building."

Forest Hills business scene changing rapidly

From DNA Info:

A number of popular Forest Hills stores and restaurants have shuttered recently, prompting some residents to worry their neighborhood may be losing its unique character along with its mom-and-pop stores.

“I feel that Forest Hills is losing its class and distinctive nature and becoming a more predictable and generic community,” said Michael Perlman, a local resident and historian.

Danny Brown Wine Bar and Kitchen on Metropolitan Avenue, which was awarded a coveted star in the Michelin Guide, was unable to renew its lease and will close by the end of the year.

It will follow several other longtime restaurants in the area, including Pasta Del Giorno on Austin Street, as well as Uno Pizzeria and Santa Fe steakhouse on the so-called Restaurant Row on 70th Road, between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard — all of which closed after decades in business.

Brandon Cinemas, a two-screen movie theater on Austin Street, closed last year, as did the nearby Strawberry clothing store earlier this year. Barnes & Noble is set to close in January.

Some venues are replaced quickly with similar types of establishments, like Mexican eatery El Coyote which took over for Garcia’s Mexican Cafe on Austin Street. The new restaurant Rove is also replacing Bonfire Grill, which closed earlier this year.

But in some cases, like Santa Fe, storefronts remain empty for months. Other venues, including Brandon Cinemas and Pasta Del Giorno, have been taken over by banks and walk-in medical facilities. Barnes & Noble, on Austin Street, will be replaced by a Target.

Moldy Sandy foreclosure still not cleaned up

From CBS2:

A Queens family is still trying to recover from Superstorm Sandy.

As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, cancer survivor Joyce Zoller said she’s devastated after being ordered by her doctors and attorneys to move from her Queens home to Florida.

Not because her house is unsafe, but because she said the abandoned home next door is hazardous to her health.

“The mold, the smell, the vermin inside, birds flying all over, it’s a disaster,” said Zoller. “I don’t know how much more I can take. It’s my home and I can’t even live in my own home.”

CBS2 met with the Zollers in June of 2014 and learned their neighbor at 145-08 Neponsit Ave. had abandoned the property after Superstorm Sandy.

Black mold had been growing inside the home.

City records show HSBC Mortgage took ownership after it went into foreclosure, but as owners did nothing to clean up the mold.

A Department of Buildings inspector stopped by the house Thursday morning, slapping HSBC with another violation for failing to maintain the building, Sanchez reported.

HSBC has been issued multiple building code violations since Superstorm Sandy and faces more than $20,000 in fines.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

DeBlasio renaming Municipal Building for Dinkins

From the Observer:

Mayor Bill de Blasio has a big gift for his former boss: a 40-story piece of real estate downtown.

The Manhattan Municipal Building will be renamed for former Mayor David Dinkins, announced Mr. de Blasio—and his wife, Chirlane McCray, whom he met while they both worked for the 106th mayor of New York.

“Those of us who were lucky to serve in the Dinkins Administration had the honor of serving a leader who took challenges head on,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement. “He’s left an indelible impact on this city—and on Chirlane’s and my lives. We are so grateful for Mayor Dinkins’ decades of public service and everything he’s done to ensure a stronger, safer city. I can’t think of a more fitting tribute than to rename the Municipal Building, where he spent 14 years of his career, in his honor.”

Mr. Dinkins told the Observer he was “delighted” by the honor, but sought to share it with those who worked alongside him.

Dutch Kills luxury hotel built in 2007 converting to shelter

From the Daily News:

Facing a spike in the number of women entering the city’s teeming shelter system, the de Blasio administration said Friday it was transforming an old Queens hotel into housing for homeless women.

The 200-bed, women’s only shelter will be at the site of the old Verve Hotel in Long Island City, and is the second shelter the city has opened this year.

It’s the 25th shelter to open since de Blasio has taken office.

Administration officials said it is necessary because they have seen a 9% spike in the number of single women entering the system.

I like how the Daily News calls it the "old Verve Hotel" to mask the fact that it isn't. So riddle me this, how much money is the city shelling out in order to get the new owner of a luxury hotel (all of which are supposedly doing well) to agree to convert it to a shelter?

And which lucky lady will get the hot tub?

Friday, October 2, 2015

State fines Newtown Creek metal dumper

From the Daily News:

The manager of a Brooklyn metal cleaning company pleaded guilty to using a simple, secret maneuver to dump industrial toxic waste into the Newtown Creek.

Manuel Acosta, 58, of Control Electropolishing Corporation, admitted he directed his employees to insert a plug into a bypass line, sending waste and sludge — containing high levels of chromium, copper, lead and nickel — on a path to the estuary that runs between Brooklyn and Queens.

The bypass line is designed to treat the waste water before it is released into the NYC sewer system, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.

Instead, the gunk traveled to the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, which does not treat industrial products. The infractions occurred between November 2013 and December 2014.

Foreclosure fixed up

From the Times Ledger:

Dozens of Habitat for Humanity and Delta Airlines volunteers, a few carrying small luggage, gathered Wednesday on a rainy day to start work on restoring an abandoned home in Cambria Heights.

The derelict house, infested with termites, fell victim to foreclosure and then became a zombie home until a fire destroyed most of the property. The property was then handled by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development before being acquired by the New York City Housing Authority to become affordable housing.

Future homeowners are required to volunteer in the restoring of their homes. At the Cambria Heights house at 219th St, 53-year old carpenter Richard Thompson was ready to work on his future home.

“I found out about the program when I was looking for a home, but I did not have enough money for a down payment,” said Thompson, who currently lives in Brooklyn.

The program through Habitat for Humanity offers a 30-year fixed mortgage at a 2.0 percent rate with only a 1 percent down payment for a restored home.

Katz concerned about Coachella

Photo montage by George the Atheist
From the Daily News:

The company behind the Coachella music fest has mounted a huge charm offensive, lobbying city officials for more than a year in the hope of throwing a similar concert in a Queens park.

AEG Live paid $150,000 to a lobbying firm over the past year just to be introduced to city officials.

The entertainment juggernaut plans to meet with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz later this week, after the Daily News reported on the possibility of a Coachella-sized gathering in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park next June.

“My biggest concern is there is no public process here,” Katz told The News Wednesday.

The fest, tentatively called Panorama, would fall two weeks after the Governors Ball and during a weekend when the Mets are playing at Citifield.

Plenty of room at the inn

No one is building affordable housing in Queens, but there's a shitload of hotels. Thank goodness, since we can always use more homeless shelters.