College Point spa project awaiting beep ruling

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The office of the borough president was still mulling over a developer’s plans for a spa in College Point Tuesday afternoon, just over a month after Community Board 7 resoundingly rejected the proposal.

A spokesman for Helen Marshall said she had not yet made a decision whether to support or deny the plans for the spa, which would include a rooftop pool.

Marshall’s ruling on the proposal for the spa, at 131-23 31st Ave., is just advisory and does not prevent Kwang Nam Park, the property owner, from building on the site.

The fate of the New York Spa of College Point project ultimately rests with the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which has to issue a special permit to allow Park to put in hot tubs, steam rooms, a juice bar and a rooftop pool in what is known as a physical culture establishment.

The board is supposed to take into consideration the opinion of the community before making a decision and will ultimately have three rulings to look over.

So far Park’s project has been rejected by CB 7 and approved by the College Point Corporate Park Task Force, a grouping of concerned neighbors and civic organizations that voted 8-1 to approve the plan Sept. 15.

CB 7 member Charles Apelian, who co-chairs the board’s Land Use Committee, was the lone dissenting vote.

His feelings toward the project were shared by most of the board when it voted against the proposal at an Oct. 24 meeting.

A letter from CB 7 to the BSA outlined the reasons why it rejected the proposal, according to Eugene Kelty, the CB 7 chairman, who said Park bought the building five years ago but many of the spaces on the second floor remain empty.

“The owner was having a tough time renting the spaces there,” Kelty said.

That lack of rent money coming into Park’s pockets led the board to wonder how he would pay for the construction of the spa, especially considering the soggy consistency of the land at College Point, according to Kelty.

When the project’s architect, Alan Sigman, presented the plan to CB 7, he mentioned that the second-floor pool and the rest of the equipment would necessitate sinking pilings, or load-bearing beams, into the ground.

“If he is having a tough time and can’t rent out seven businesses, how does he think he is going to make this work if this is a bigger cost factor for him?” Kelty said.

Since the project is in such a prominent place — right off the Whitestone Expressway — the board did not want an abandoned building to become a symbol for the area should the project fail.

Sigman, who represents S&I Property Management, did not respond for a request to comment.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Posted 12:33 am, December 1, 2011
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