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Niederstein’s lot is sold to build houses

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"We were thinking of doing condos, but we opted not to go that way," said Donna Demkowicz, the real estate agent who negotiated the $1.5 million sale of the 6,800-square-foot lot at 70-01 Metropolitan Ave.The prospective buyer of Niederstein's, a separate, unidentified developer, has yet to go public with its plans for the historic building at 69-10 Metropolitan Ave. The bill of sale has yet to be filed with the Queens registrar and former restaurant owner Rainer Herrink was unavailable for comment.The estate of his deceased brother, Horst Herrink, has been trying to sell the Middle Village landmark and parking lot for years. One of the real estate brokers who marketed the Middle Village restaurant but did not close the deal, Michael Protiva of Remax, said it is being sold for $3.2 million - a hefty number that makes one local official speculate that a fast food chain has its eye on the site. "Probably the only thing that can make that money back is an Arby's or a Burger King," said Vincent Arcuri, chairman of Community Board 5. "It sounds like that's the only one who can afford to spend that much going in."According to the rumor mill, a Long Island Arby's franchisee has designs on the property. A company spokeswoman would only say that the roast beef sandwich peddler was interested in expanding in Queens, but she would not say where.Regardless of Niederstein's future, Arcuri said he had reservations about the housing project in the parking lot across from the restaurant. The lot was used by Niederstein's patrons."If the existing site becomes a restaurant, there will be a parking problem," Arcuri said. "Even if it's an Arby's or Burger King people are still going to drive up to it."Demkowicz said the developer of the apartments, who she would not name but said was from Long Island, expects to put shovels in the ground by April. The four three-story buildings will have two floors of three-bedroom apartments above one floor of commercial space. She expects each building to fetch around $1.3 million.Since opening in 1854 across the street from the Lutheran Cemetery, Niederstein's has been a beloved gathering spot for Middle Village residents. The oldest restaurant in Queens, it served its last plates of wiener schnitzel and sauerbraten on Feb. 5.Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, ext. 156.

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