Sunday, January 16, 2011

CUNY pulls out of brownfield site, developer now wants undergraduate dorm

From the Times Ledger:

Representatives from a real estate investment firm went to Community Board 2 last Thursday hoping to amend their already approved city Board of Standards and Appeals resolution and build a residential tower before a planned dormitory for CUNY students. But they ended up having CB 2 reject their resolution entirely.

“I feel that there’s a significant difference between 300 to 400 undergraduates in our community and 300 to 400 graduate students and faculty in our community,” said John Bradley, an area resident.

CB 2’s recommendation last Thursday involved two buildings to be built at 511 47th Ave. in Long Island City. O’Connor Capital Partners, a Manhattan real estate investment firm, originally planned to construct a 12-story residential building and a six-story dormitory for graduate students and faculty, said Joe Conley, chairman of CB 2. The plan was recommended for approval by CB 2 and approved by the BSA in 2008. Yet the City University of New York, which was a partner in the plan to build the dormitory, ended up pulling out of the project.

“It was very distressing that [CUNY] didn’t even have the decency to call and say, ‘Sorry, we changed our mind,’” Conley said.

Harold Goldman, attorney with GoldmanHarris LLC, spoke for O’Connor Capital Partners and said the firm is still planning to build, but has opened up the option of using the dormitory for undergraduates, or possibly another use entirely. In addition, O’Connor wanted to start construction the high-rise residential building first, which would be sold at market price, and went to CB 2 to get permission to change the resolution for that purpose.

This did not meet the approval of CB 2, although it objected to the plan primarily because of the possibility the dormitories might be for undergraduates. Lisa Deller, chairwoman of the Land Use Committee for CB 2, said the dormitories were originally approved back in 2008 with a deed restriction saying the residences should only be for graduate students and faculty.

“What does it do to the community?” Deller asked. “What does it do to the one- and two-family houses on that street?”


Anonymous said...

“It was very distressing that [CUNY] didn’t even have the decency to call and say, ‘Sorry, we changed our mind,’” Conley said.

Stop the posturing Conley. Everyone knows that with the exceptoin of the owner of a potential landmark, no property owner needs to let anyone else on the block know what they are doing.

And the system is so messed up, that half the time its illegal and no one can do anything about it.

Anonymous said...

this was approved because of the cuny involvement. they had to get a waiver to build 12 stories because the zoning on that side of 5th street was only zoned for 6 stories. the community fought this and lost because of the dorms. since there are no dorms now, the 12 story building should only be 6.

Anonymous said...

The real question is why the BSA made the 8 variances using false info! O'Connor's property is not river front but nevertheless he's claiming the same that the river front properties have under State design guidelines. How can all those units for the "dorm" be below grade when FEMA prohibits such building. BSA needs to do its homework so it's not deceived.