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CB 7 OKs rezone for Flushing apartment tower

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Community Board 7 voted Monday night to approve a downtown Flushing rezoning proposal, paving the way for a new 11-story, 124,000-square-foot mixed-use residential building to move forward.

The zoning change was approved by a vote of 34-3 on the condition that the developer, United Construction and Development Group, build a 14,000-plus square foot senior center in the building, dubbed the New Millennium project.

The current proposal would also include 87,000 square feet of residential space, 17,000 square feet of commercial space and about 5,000 square feet of doctors’ offices on the proposed site at 134-03 35th Ave.

The developer has agreed in a signed letter to the board that it will include such a facility ´╗┐if the project moves forward, though it has not yet settled on which senior care provider would run the center.

At the board’s March 23 meeting, when the developer requested the zoning change, the assumed senior center provider was SelfHelp Prince Street Senior Center, currently located in a small, cramped facility at Ebeneezer Baptist Church.

The vote does not require the developer to actually build anything — it only changes the lot’s zoning from industrial to mixed-use residential and requires that a sufficiently large senior center is included in any plans for the site.

“We’re not building a senior center, we’re rezoning, and part of that is [a requirement] to build a senior center,” CB 7 Vice Chair Chuck Apelian said.

Community board member Peter Tu expressed concerns that the developer might not be able to move forward with the project due to financial or other concerns, leaving the site devoid of a senior center, which it currently is.

“My concern is that they won’t keep their promise,” Tu said.

CB 7 Chairman Eugene Kelty said the board was not concerned over whether or not United ended up building on the site, but that the more important provision is that whoever does so will be required to build a senior facility.

“We want to go with this because we don’t care who goes in there, but they’ve got to build a senior center and they’ve agreed to that,” he said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

Updated 5:49 pm, October 10, 2011
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