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.