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Borough President Helen Marshall officially recommended the City Council approve an application to allow the construction of the Flushing Commons and Macedonia Plaza mixed-use development projects.
Her recommendation came with a number of qualifying stipulations, however, much as the one made a month ago by Community Board 7. Both recommendations are non-binding and are only advisories for the Council, which will consider the proposal after the Department of City Planning, which will look at it now.
The stipulations Marshall predicated her recommendation on include the creation of a Downtown Flushing Traffic Task Force; capping parking rates into perpetuity; the permanent installation of traffic enforcement agents; and the devising of an adequate plan to best help small businesses stay afloat while the project is under construction.
Flushing Commons is slated to be built between 37th and 39th avenues between 138th and Union streets.
“Marshall is a tireless advocate for what is best for Queens and the borough’s neighborhoods, so it is an incredible honor to have earned her support and it says a lot about the positive impact Flushing Commons will have in the community,” Michael Meyer, president of Flushing Commons developer TDC Development, said in a statement after the ruling.
In anticipation of such a recommendation, Flushing business leaders met in the heart of the Union Street business corridor Monday morning to discuss their concerns with the Flushing Commons project and their plans to address them.
Jim Gerson, president of the Flushing Business Improvement District, announced that the business group would commission a study in coming weeks to look at the impact construction may have on hundreds of surrounding businesses’ bottom lines.
“We’ll hire a consultant who will quantify ... the economic impact of this project,” he said. “A consultant has not been retained yet. The purpose of the consultant will be to analyze the economic impact both short-term and in the long-term.”
Gerson; Sunny Hahn, vice president of the Korean American Association of Queens; and the co-presidents of the Union Street Merchants Association, Daniel Kung and Ikwhan Rim, reiterated their demands in the basement of Hanmi Realty at 37-17 Union St., directly across the street from the entrance to Municipal Lot 1, where construction is slated to take about three years to complete if the project is approved.
The business representatives highlighted their ongoing concerns about the project’s parking plan and what they described as inadequate contingency and compensation plans for local business leaders who worry their revenues will be reduced by 20 percent to 30 percent while the work is underway.
“Most people think it’s a done deal. It’s not. Everyone who’s concerned about this situation needs to get together,” Kung said. “First came the financial crisis and now this. I feel like it’s a tsunami coming to Union Street, Flushing.”
Rim said monthly expenses for each of the hundreds of businesses likely to be affected by the construction work and inadequate parking total between $10,000 and $15,000. He said the city’s initial offer of $2 million for contingency compensation would divide out to about $140 per business each month, which he called inadequate.
“We’re not trying to be greedy, just do something reasonable,” he said. “We’re not trying to say ‘give us money, give us compensation.’ We’re just trying to survive here, so what we’re saying to the developer is come back to the community and speak with us about our concerns.”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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