Photo by Joe Anuta
By Joe Anuta

Developers seeking to turn a dilapidated College Point factory into a 134-unit condo complex nearly have enough money to begin, according to their lawyer.

A developer called Waterfront Resorts Inc. is seeking to transform the Chilton Paint Factory on the corner of 110th Street and 15th Avenue into waterfront housing, complete with a public park along the coast, but they need a key city approval to do so.

The company, headed by a man named Henry Lam, was granted a variance in 2009, which allowed them to circumvent the zoning code and build a residential building in a manufacturing area, but the project was never started and that variance expired in July, according to the city Board of Standards and Appeals, a commission that grants variances on a case-by-case basis.

The company is now seeking to extend its waiver for four more years, according to attorney Eric Palatnik.

“We think we will be constructed well before that, but that will give us time to get our finances together,” he said.

The 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession meant that capital for the project was hard to drum up and even now remains a challenge, although Palatnik said the developers are nearly done raising money.

He will ask the BSA to extend the length of time the variance applies to the parcel of land because of the economic circumstances beyond the control of the developer.

“It’s not their fault,” he said. “So it wouldn’t be fair to strip them of the right to build. They secured the approvals, but it’s the economy.”

BSA has the final say over whether or not the variance is approved since there is no appeals process in place to overturn a ruling, but Palatnik is confident that the extension will be granted.

The plans for the condos have not been substantially altered from when they were first submitted and approved by BSA in 2005, according to the lawyer.

They still call for a six-story, 134-unit complex right on the water and across from LaGuardia Airport and Rikers Island, although the Manhattan skyline plays a prominent role in the view.

The condos would be split into three types: 14 would be three-bedroom, 68 would be two-bedroom and 52 would be one-bedroom apartments, according to plans submitted to Community Board 7 in 2005.

The facade of the factory would remain, but it would be renovated and connected to the bulk of the housing — two long six-story buildings that extend toward the water of either end of the three-story factory. And since the site used to be a paint factory, a significant cleanup of toxic material needs to be performed on the site as well.

Due to city laws governing the development of waterfront property, a public walkway would also be required to hug the coastline in front of the complex.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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