The developer of an 11-story, 124,000-square-foot mixed-use building proposed for downtown Flushing requested a zoning change at Tuesday night’s Community Board 7 meeting.
Lawyers and an architect for the United Construction and Development Group asked the board to support changing the proposed site at 134-03 35th Ave. from industrial zoning to allow for mixed-use residential.
The company argued that residential zoning better reflects the current character of the area surrounding the site near the intersection of Prince Street and 35th Avenue.
The developer also said the community benefits of the project, called the New Millennium building, will make it a net positive for downtown Flushing.
The project, as proposed, would provide 87,000 square feet of residential space — most likely condominiums — 17,000 square feet of commercial space, a 14,900-square-foot senior center and about 5,000 square feet of doctor’s offices. It will also include at least 189 new parking spaces.
Paul Graziano, a Flushing-based urban planning consultant, said he supports the project as proposed, but wants assurances that the city will require the developer to build the senior center.
“This is a thoughtful project, there is more than enough parking,” he said. “It’s a good project and it certainly has the ability to work.”
The senior facility, called the SelfHelp Prince Street Senior Center, is a longtime member of the Flushing community currently located at Ebeneezer Baptist Church, which it has long since outgrown. It was slated to be accommodated in the redevelopment of the RKO Keith’s Theatre, but that project has stalled.
Some CB 7 members expressed concerns, however, that the developer would be able to fill the condos, as the Flushing housing market has taken a hit since the economic downturn.
CB 7 Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian summed up some of those concerns.
“There are a number of buildings in the area that are vacant,” he said.
A lawyer for the developer responded that the company believes that as the market rebounds, it will be able to fill the spaces.
Another concern by a CB 7 member was that high-rent condos might be particularly hard to sell in Flushing.
“Right now, it’s planned to be condos. That could change, but right now it’s planned to be condos,” Eric Palatnik, an attorney for the developer, said. “It’s going to be priced for the market.”
The community board did not hold a vote on the zoning change.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cn
©2010 Community News Group
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