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Proposal for hotel, grocery store denied by Community Board 7

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Community Board 7 rejected what its members called a “bizarre” proposal Monday that would bring a large hotel and supermarket to a largely industrial neighborhood in Flushing.

Chris Xu, a Flushing real estate developer, told the board at Union Plaza Care Center Monday night he hopes to construct a 10,000-square-foot hotel and supermarket at 34-08 Collins Place — a piece of land in downtown Flushing whose neighbors include an asphalt plant and a lumber yard.

The board voted 29-5 to deny the proposal on the grounds it would change the character of the neighborhood, but the proposal nevertheless received the support of several members of the board who are prominent members of the Chinese business community in Flushing: Raymond Chen, Fred Fu and Peter Koo.

“We need Flushing to be active and moving in the right direction,” Koo said. “If they want to spent $50 million, let them spend $50 million — they will create 150 jobs at least.”

Koo likened the project to InSpa World in College Point, a day spa that was not warmly received by the surrounding community when it opened several years ago but has thrived.

CB 7 Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian said the two projects were different and the board had not been deeply opposed to InSpa World.

“We’ve worked with Mr. Xu before and I made it clear that this wasn’t one of the better judgments not because of his marketing strategy, but because of the impact it would have,” Apelian said.

CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said his concern was not whether or not a hotel and supermarket would thrive in the area — a move other board members called “bizarre” — but how it would affect the surrounding community.

“If he wants to throw his money away, that’s fine with me,” Kelty said. “It’s really the impact on the people that are going to be coming to us ... because this is really just no place for this kind of use to go.”

The proposal was also opposed by local business owners and residents, like Dan Scully, vice president of Tully Asphalt.

“It’s a dusty area down there and I don’t think it’s an appropriate place for a supermarket to go,” Scully said. “Not only that, but once the developers get their feet in the door, all of them are going to come in and we’re going to lose a very valuable piece of industrial property.”

Scully said his business, which is across the street, would be impeded by the additional traffic brought in by the project.

The proposal is expected to go before the city Board of Standards and Appeals in the coming months.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at sstirling@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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