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Owner lays out plans for Astoria warehouse

A developer who purchased the former Stern’s Warehouse site on Ditmars Boulevard assured concerned Astoria residents last week the building would be converted to residential condominiums that would include onsite parking and some units designated for seniors.

Residents in the residentially zoned Astoria community, where the more than 100-year-old brick building between 45th and 46th streets is located, had voiced concern about development of the site when Joseph Pistilli purchased the building several years ago. He is the owner of Steel Tex Development company of Astoria.

Residents said they were worried about the type of housing and the amount of units Pistilli’s development would entail.

When his plans to renovate the building were announced at local community meetings in the past three years, many residents raised concerns, saying they wanted some say about what was going to be built in their neighborhood.

In response to residents’ concerns, U.S. Rep. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria), Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), and U.S. Sen. George Onorato (D-Long Island City) stepped in last year and began hammering out an agreement with the developer.

“A number of community representatives worked very hard for months to achieve this agreement,” Gianaris said. “I am pleased Mr. Pistilli responded to the concerns of the community and that this space will be used productively as condominiums.”

Pistilli could not be reached for comment.

According to Gianaris, Pistilli agreed to constrain the development of the site to residential condominiums, to set aside a number of units for senior citizens and to include a community room for public use.

In response to residents’ worries about parking and traffic problems that residential development of the warehouse would cause, Pistilli agreed to include 200 parking spaces in the plan, Gianaris said.

Members of the United Civic Association, who were particularly outspoken about development of the site, were satisfied last week with Pistilli’s assurances.

“The United Community Civic Association is pleased that the saga of the Stern’s Warehouse site which has divided the Upper Ditmars community these many years is resolved and peace and community unity will finally be achieved,” said Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the UCCA.

“We are all happy that we came to this agreement,” Onorato said. “I am confident Mr. Pistilli will live up to our agreement.”

Reach reporter Tom Nicholson by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.

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