The city Board of Standards & Appeals approved a variance this week that paves the way for the construction of a new Fairway Market chain store at the current site of a Waldbaum’s in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center, a spokeswoman for the agency said.
The board unanimously approved the market, which will be at 242-02 61st Ave. in Douglaston, during a Tuesday meeting. The lease for a Waldbaum’s chain store that currently occupies the site will expire in April.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to resolve the issue with Waldbaum’s and start renovations,” said Jeffrey Chester, an attorney for Fairway.
The market will now have to file plans for the site with the city Department of Buildings before construction can begin.
Fairway had originally planned to open the market in Douglaston this year. The existing market is an estimated 42,000 square feet, but Fairway had asked the city for a variance to allow an additional 15,000 square feet at the site, Chester said.
Now that the board has approved the proposal, the market would need six months to perform renovations after Waldbaum’s vacates the site before the new store can open, he said.
Chester said there are smaller grocery stores, including a Stop & Shop, in the neighborhood, but the residents of several communities, such as the Deepdale Gardens or Beech Hills co-ops, must often travel long distances for groceries.
Douglaston residents said they were greatly anticipating the opening of the new high-end market.
“They have a complete bakery and a section of prepared foods, so I’m very excited,” said Rosemary Guidice, president of the Douglaston Townhouse Condominiums. “It’s a hardship for a lot of residents from Deepdale to go to Stop & Shop. It’s a $6 cab fare.”
Guidice said residents from the townhouses would be able to walk to the market.
Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece said the northeast Queens community was united in its support for the market.
“They are a good operation,” he said. “It’s clearly an upgrade from what they’ve got and it’s what the community wants.”
The proposed hours of operation for the market are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fairway owner Howard Glickberg said. The site would create 300 new union jobs, he said.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community News Group
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