Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Developer lies about St. Saviour's

The owner of the St. Savior's property, who spoke to the Daily News yesterday on the condition that his name not be used, said he was rebuffed recently by city planners in his effort to get a zoning change to allow for a residential development.

"We were given some indications that it wasn't going to have the support of City Planning, so it was just time to pull the plug," the owner said.

The developer said he first wanted to clear the entire property, but Gallagher brokered a compromise that would have preserved the church in return for concessions from the Department of City Planning for increased density.


Decision to scrap housing plan may end in demolition of Maspeth worship site

One City Planning source said the withdrawal was "completely out of the blue and unexpected."

Planning Department spokeswoman Jennifer Torres said agency officials had asked the owner for greater specificity on how the church would be preserved.

"But that would not have held up the certification process," she said.


QC's City Planning sources say that they had received only one application from the developers, for R5B zoning (71 units of housing), which the agency felt would have fit in with surrounding homes, and they had planned to certify it this month. The developers never submitted a plan calling for "increased density".

Let's face it - the developers never had any intention of preserving the church. They have left it in a terrible state over their two years of ownership and while Councilman Gallagher was wheeling and dealing on their behalf, he never asked them to take measures to seal up the structure to prevent weather damage and vandalism.

The developers are now trying to place the blame for their intended demolition of the church on City Planning, when they were just as surprised as the rest of us to find out the application had been pulled. And indicted rapist Dennis Gallagher, of course, is spinning it to put the blame on his colleague, Tony Avella, and the community group, Juniper Park Civic, that was fighting to save the property because that better suits his sick, twisted agenda.

This is life in Queens in 2007.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

That lying SOB of a pink-faced councilman !

I hope that Bubba warms his cheeks good
and proper.

See you in jail "Pinky" !

Julie said...

Gallagher brokered a compromise that would have called for increased density? REALLY? I seem to recall this:

Gallagher told the Queens Ledge - "An initial rendering came," he explained, "that showed 93 units and was rejected by myself and CB5 chairman Vincent Arcuri. It was just way too dense. We asked the developer to come back with something that would highlight the church as a focal point and centerpiece and allow for some recreation around it."

Anonymous said...

I hope that the good ghosts of St. Saviour's
will continue to protect this sacred site
as they have thus far.

No doubt.....
they will be dealing out temporal
as well as eternal punishments
for ALL THOSE who have desecrated
this Holy ground for personal gain!

We humbly invoke these spirits' aid in the matter.

Remember.....
"There are more things in Heaven and Earth
Horatio.... than are dreamt of in your philosophy".

Prince Hamlet's words .

Anonymous said...

wow it sounds like gallagher was the one who blew it by rejecting the 93 units.

Anonymous said...

Good try at spinning this article, but it makes it very clear that the problems in getting the zoning change will lead to the worst possible outcome - an industrial building and the destruction of the church building. I don't care much for Gallagher, but it seems from this article that he was driving for the best compromise solution possible.

Russell said...

WOW another politician trying to take care of their own agenda. Wow that never happens does it?

Someone should go to Gallagher's house and tie him up and put him on a container ship and send him out of this country. Oh wait he might like being tied up. Ok we will put him in a block of cement from Barbara Corcoran's cement truck and leave just his head sticking out with duct tape over his mouth!

georgetheatheist said...

"The owner of the St.Savior's property, who spoke to the Daily News yesterday on the condition that his name not be used..."

Hmmm. Hiding the foreign Israeli citizenship?

Anonymous said...

Getting the zoning change wouldn't have saved the church. It's on a hill - a hill that would have to be levelled in order to build housing. That would undermine the church building and "oops" now it's unsafe and has to be torn down. That is, if it hadn't been torn down anyway by this shady creep of a developer.

Anonymous said...

Dennis is the reason the church still has four walls. Who is responsible for the fact that there are no trees, no windows and extensive water damage? Is Dennis taking credit for this too?

Anonymous said...

Uh, this developer was days away from having his plan certified. Now he all of a sudden decided that his plan wouldn't be profitable? After having Pinky and Parkside hound city planning daily for the past month? Something VERY fishy going on here.

James said...

"He said he also is entertaining offers to buy the property."

HELLO Mayor Bloomberg - buy it already! What kind of pseudo-presidential candidate allows American history to be tossed in the toilet and flushed?

Anonymous said...

Developer is giving Pinky credit for keeping the church standing, yet in the same breath he says he plans to demolish it. So what exactly is the accomplishment here?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't part of the flood mitigation plan be to purchase open spaces which are left, such as this one, and keep them open spaces?

Anonymous said...

Zoning changes normally take a long time. This developer should have known this. They have no business blaming city planning when city planning was about to certify their application. And Gallagher should have known that these developers would stab him in the back after all they did to the community.

Anonymous said...

Why can't they build their industrial complex around the church like they supposedly were going to build houses around it? Gallagher can use the $1 million as a down payment and lobby to get the other $2 million he needs to "seal the deal".

Anonymous said...

Because I bet the money never existed in the first place. The whole thing was a big, big lie.

Anonymous said...

Not only did Gallagher know this was going to happen, he probably suggested it. Watch them tear the church down the day before Christmas. That's the Gallagher way of doing things to get back at people.

Anonymous said...

Why can't you all understand that the only thing that was keeping the church up was the possibility of a zoning change? It is costing the developer money to have the property just sit there. Once he received indication that the zoning change may not go through, he has to change plans or else lose more money. What source do you have that the zoning change was about to be certified? That sounds like nonsense.
If the zoning change is out, and he can develop as of right, it makes no sense for the developer to keep the church building. I've been saying all along that those who were fighting this needed to show more sophistication in these types of matters.

Queens Crapper said...

What source? The first Daily News article explained that city planners said the rezoning was to be certified by the end of the year. In this Daily News article, city planning said they were not holding up the rezoning. So there are your sources, since you obviously can't read.

Christina Wilkinson said...

Joy Chen from City Planning told me yesterday that the plan was to have been certified this past Monday.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mr. Sophistication can explain how the community would have assurance that the church would be left intact and restored if the developer got his zoning change. There are no strings attached to zoning. Once the property is rezoned, a demo permit is just a filing away.

Christina Wilkinson said...

Oh, she also said they never submitted a denser plan for approval.

Anonymous said...

Read more carefully Crapper - the City Planning source in the article said it would not hold up the process. They did not say that they would not hold up the rezoning. You explain then why the developer would sit on the property all this time if he really didn't want the zoning change and he could have just built as of right. Give some plausible reason why they would pull the application if they were about to get the zoning change this week.

Queens Crapper said...

Maybe you should read this article for an explanation.

Joy Chen's word is good enough for me. She's good people.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sophistication - ha, I liked that!
It would be very easy to bind the developer to contractual obligations regarding the property as a condition to certifying.

Christina Wilkinson said...

The property is contaminated and the housing market is in a slump. It will all come out in the next Juniper Berry.

Anonymous said...

Let's assume that is the case - construction costs are up, the P&L on the project doesn't work anymore, etc. - then the delay in rezoning was a big problem. Regardless, the developer's sensible alternative is to sell the property or develop what he can on it, with no reason or requirement to keep the church building.

mv ben said...

Christina Wilkinson said...

The property is contaminated and the housing market is in a slump. It will all come out in the next Juniper Berry.

Then why are we pushing for a playground? Would you want your children playing on contaminated land, or open the city to lawsuits?

Christina Wilkinson said...

The Elmhurst Gas Tanks Site was a brownfield. It will now be a park.

Anonymous said...

The developer was told it would be rezoned by the end of the year and he, his lobbyists and Councilman Gallagher were pushing hard for that up until last week. At the last minute he pulled the application. There is something else going on.

Christina Wilkinson said...

"It would be very easy to bind the developer to contractual obligations regarding the property as a condition to certifying."

To my knowledge, this was not discussed.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and say there is a contractual obligation. What happens to the property should the developer decide to build his houses then knock down the church? He still owns the church and will be given permits to build houses.

Anonymous said...

Wow Pinky failed the developer, Parkside and his constituents. A three time loser. Next month, hopefully it will be another in the loss column.

Anonymous said...

Julie is right. 93 units was never on the table, so this developer is lying.

Anonymous said...

Christina Wilkinson said...
"It would be very easy to bind the developer to contractual obligations regarding the property as a condition to certifying."

To my knowledge, this was not discussed.

-
Were you involved will all discussions between the developer and city officials? The concessions and agreement were mentioned in the Daily News article.

Queens Crapper said...

The Forum West article says, "City Planning denies that a second plan calling for increased density was ever submitted to them, and was surprised when the developer pulled the application."

I was told personally that the zoning was to be certified this past Monday by a person directly involved in the process, but it was pulled last week by the developer for an unspecified reason. In addition, this person confirmed that there was only one application submitted by the developer, for R5B zoning - 27 three- and two-family houses which included the preservation of the church. The city planner asked for an explanation as to how this would be accomplished and wanted more info about the housing plan. This was to prepare the developer for the public review, but was not part of a contract. City planning is very upset that the developer is placing the blame on them. What more do you want to know?

Anonymous said...

Gallagher never brokered a deal for more housing and less open space. He and the CB5 chair rejected it. At least that's what he told the Queens Ledger earlier this year.

Anonymous said...

"The concessions and agreement were mentioned in the Daily News article."

The concessions and agreement are lies meant to focus blame on city planning instead of on the developer and Gallagher.

Anonymous said...

Crapper - So what is your point? The developer has been waiting, after repeated delays, for a rezoning application. In that time something changed, maybe the housing market, maybe construction costs, whatever, that affected the profitability analysis. Maybe the developer received indications that submitting another rezoning application would have taken too long, and now the developer is adjusting plans to do what he can to save this project from a business standpoint. The biggest factor in this whole process that has led to the likely destruction of the church building is the long delay in processing the rezoning application.

Queens Crapper said...

My point was stated in the post. If there was a concession agreement, the developer had a funny way of taking care of the church.

Anonymous said...

What makes you think they had "repeated delays?" The average rezoning takes years.

Frank said...

Things this developer failed to realize:

tearing down a 160 year old church and replacing it with cheap housing usually doesn't go over too well.

a timely zoning change is never guaranteed.

there was a restrictive covenant on the property.

there may be graves on the property.

the community would not look too kindly on someone who cuts down a forest during nesting season.

Dennis Gallagher was not a good choice as a lobbyist.

petroleum leaking out of equipment could screw your chances of passing an environmental review.

neighbors would get upset over the churchyard being used as a dump.

Anonymous said...

The owner of St. Saviour's
wouldn't be the first Israeli developer
to pull up stakes
in a faltering real estate market.

Israeli developer, Shya Boymelgreen
is pulling out of the RKO Keith's project
in Flushing.

It's up for sale and it's been said that
he's going to concentrate more on
European properties.

Anonymous said...

There are many brownfields that have been converted into parks. See this website: Brownfields to Parks

Anonymous said...

Regardless, the developer's sensible alternative is to sell the property or develop what he can on it, with no reason or requirement to keep the church building.
---

Absolutely right! Except ... well... doesn't NYC have people? So just where in this scheme do they fit? You know, little details like what do they want.

Show of hands now. How many what the Israeli developer to put housing for hundreds of people? Ok, now how many want to save St. Saviour's?

So...why does the machinery of the city favor the needs of Israeli developer?

mv ben said...

Do you know how giddy I am over this? Yes, I'm a Gallagher lackey and a coward who would never confront you people face to face. I've been spitefully enjoying this entire mess for quite a long time now and as a middle village resident I look forward to the crybabies living in the St. Saviours area choking on the industrial fumes. Pardon me now as Dennis and I go and enjoy a couple of seniors at the nursing home.

Anonymous said...

This church has no historical designation and was going to be torn down regardless of what was going to be built there. The Israeli developer and Councilman Gallagher are bold faced liars. They would have said anything to get the zoning change and then would have proceeded to do what they wanted. THIS IS A VICTORY FOR OUR COMMUNITY AGAINST OVERDEVELOPMENT!!! I know someone who works at DEP and this property was slated for a core sampling of soil at the property, I'm sure they realized it would have come back positive and the cleanup would have cost the developer millions in order to build residences on this property. That is the reason the developer backed out at the last minute, to use it for manufacturing and get the DEP off of his back. Councilman Pinky is just trying to spin it to try and save what he thinks he still has left of a political career. What a kick in the ass for this loser. The issue he staked his entire political career on, and alienated himself and his family from the community on, has turned out to be a bust! Sorry no payoff money for you today pinky, so you better find a cheaper lawyer for your rape case. PS- I heard Parkside was going to lobby a duffel bag at City Hall in the future instead of pinky, they think their money will be better spent. Also I went to the Patriots blog site, and I think you should consult a mental health professional. That is the most pathetic display by an elected official I have ever seen.

awed said...

how did all of you come to learn so much about zoning and all? You're as knowledgable about this stuff as politicians! I'm honestly in awe...and a bit intimidated too. So let me seek out a less learned post to comment on, like the pizza pie award one up above.

moish said...

Most of the Israeli "developers"who are ruining NY couldn't cut it in their own homeland.

So these "goniffs" (thieves)
beat a quick path to our city to make some "gelt"
(money) an easier way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for adding a new level of anti-semitism to the posts.

Even assuming everything said about the withdrawal of the application is true, I don't see your issue. A developer bought property, had every legal right to take down what was on it and build a warehouse. He decided at the time that houses would be a better business decision. City officials were negotiating to save the church in exchange for the zoning change. Some time during the slow process to re-zone, during which there was a lot of unprofessional rabble rousing by a community group, something changed in the market or in the property to make houses a less desirable business decision. If saving the church was so important to everyone, then people should have been working to get the zoning change completed much sooner.

Queens Crapper said...

No, you have it wrong. The developer only bought the property because he got assurance from City Planning before doing so that they would approve a zoning change so that he could build houses. If that promise weren't made, there would still be a congregation worshipping there and 185 trees would not have been cut down. They abandoned their plan in part because people didn't lay down like sheep and accept that. The building is important, but the land is just as valuable for its ties to the history of the town and city and for the environmental health of the area. Forcing a community to accept overdevelopment in order to save a landmark, no matter how significant it may be is nothing short of blackmail.

Anonymous said...

This is more about saving a neighborhood than it is about saving a building. Once you welcome this kind of thing in, it spells the death of the community.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone really believe that city planning would feel intimidated by a civic organization? I mean really - they were going to certify the plan over their objections. It was the developer who messed up by thinking he could just come in and do what he pleased. Hey, check the details before you buy!

Anonymous said...

If there was such a strong congregation worshipping there, why did they sell the property?

Queens Crapper said...

They were offered $6 million for a property they paid $450,000 for, so they accepted the offer and moved.

Anonymous said...

They were offered $6 million for a property they paid $450,000 for, so they accepted the offer and moved.
-
Where did they move? All these parishioners in the area that were going to the church are now going to another one nearby? No one has ever said anything about that. Maybe the demographics of the area changed over the years and there was not enough attendance to maintain a church.

Queens Crapper said...

The congregation did not disband. I am not going to rehash anymore of the story in comment form. If you are interested in the history, I suggest you read Forgotten-NY. Thank you.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ said...

And who derailed the zoning change? Listen to the developer...it's the dept of city planning.
Listen to Gallagher... it's the Juniper Valley Civic Assn & Avella.
Listen to City Planning...it's the developer.
The truth is: $

Anonymous said...

Now that Mayor Dumb-berg's
chief henchman EDC's Dan Doctoroff
has just resigned from his post....

and now that "Pinky" is too busy
with his dick all tied up in a knot
(legally speaking).....

and that mysterious Israeli "developer"
is about to "take a powder"....

it's time to re-address the issue of St. Saviour's becoming NYC parkland.

Wadda ya say now .....huh....Adrian ?

Isn't it time to put a more positive spin
on an administration
that keeps on stumbling over its own feet ?

Anonymous said...

I looked at the Forgotten-NY site. I didn't see anything on a new church, either for the Episcopaleans or the Methodists. However, I did see this on the site: "In 1995, dwindling attendance forced St. Saviour’s to close down and in 1996, the church was sold to a Korean Methodist Church . . ."
I also saw this in an article linked from the Forgotten site:
"When the Ledger/Star caught up with Gallagher's colleague, Councilman Tony Avella, later in the week at yet another preservation press conference outside Avella's northeast Queens district (this one was all the way in Williamsburg), the only politician to attend Holden's spring protests in Maspeth was warily optimistic about the deal Gallagher was working on.
"I haven't been present at the recent meetings," he revealed, "but I suggested such a compromise [involving some residential development around the preserved church] months ago."

Queens Crapper said...

It looks like you answered your own question then. The congregation was not from Maspeth. When they sold the property, they submitted paperwork to the AG's office stating that their membership did not live in the area, therefore they were selling the property and moving to a more suitable location. The pastor also made comments to the media at this time indicating the same thing. And as for Mr. Avella's quote, there have been many suggestions made, as far as I know, he has been supportive of the idea to convert the space into a park and museum.

Anonymous said...

If the congregation no longer lived in the area and wanted to move to a more suitable location, then there would not still be a congregation worshipping there regardless of who bought the property.

Queens Crapper said...

You are sadly mistaken. The congregation NEVER lived in the area. According to the paperwork, they came from far reaching areas, including Bayside and NJ. DOB records show they undertook major renovations a few months before moving. They had no intention of leaving. Until they were given an offer they couldn't refuse.

COLLEGE POINT said...

LOOKS LIKE COUNCIL MEMBER DENNIS GALLAGHER FAILED AGAIN.

HE FAILED TO SAVE NIEDERSTEINS...
NOW HE IS ABOUT TO FAIL TO SAVE ST. SAVIOUR'S.

WHY IS HE BLAMING AVELLA AND EVERYONE ELSE FOR HIS FAILURES?

OH YES I ALMOST FORGOT...GALLAGHER THE RAPIST ALSO FAILED AS A HUMAN BEING.