Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Mattones return to screw Elmhurst again
From the Queens Chronicle:
A former parking lot between the Queens Center mall and the Long Island Expressway has been empty for the past 12 years and now the developers who own it want to build three restaurants there.
The College Point-based Mattone Group presented its plan at an informational Newtown Civic Association meeting in Corona Tuesday night. The company would bring in an Olive Garden, a Longhorn Steakhouse and Joe’s Crab Shack, which will cover approximately 25,000 to 30,000 square feet, surrounded by free parking spaces. If the plan moves forward, they predict that the establishments will open in April or May 2014.
Most of the meeting focused on the civic association members’ parking and traffic congestion-related concerns, but Robert Valdes-Clausell, an officer of the Newtown Civic Association and a member of Community Board 4, brought up the property’s history and the developer’s history of shortchanging the surrounding community.
Valdes-Clausell also noted the meeting’s unusual timing, in the summer, when many community members are away.
“This has all the trappings of something that is not kosher,” he said of the new plan.
The city’s Economic Development Corp. sold the property, which was a city parking lot, to Mattone on Dec. 17, 2001 for $2.2 million. The City Council, including the area’s former Councilman John Sabini (D-Elmhurst), approved the deal, overriding the objections of CB 4 and disregarding the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.
Mattone’s contract with EDC contained several restrictions. The developer was supposed to build a movie theater, which Loews would operate, within four and a half years and buy the dilapidated Elmwood Theater, and give the proceeds to Catholic Medical Services, which then operated St. John’s Hospital according to Valdes-Clausell. If those restrictions were not met, the EDC was entitled to buy back the property for $1.
The Mattone Group did not comply with the restrictions, but the EDC did not repossess the property. Loews declared bankruptcy shortly after, and Mattone never found a replacement as the movie-theater business was in decline. Therefore, Mattone never purchased the Elmwood Theater and Loews sold it to the Rock Church instead. St. John’s Hospital filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
On Feb. 6, 2013 Mattone signed a new contract with the EDC, in which the developer paid $3 million to modify the original deed from 2001, allowing it to build the restaurants on the property.
Mattone claims that they did not need to seek community approval because the proposed restaurants are in accordance with area zoning laws and that informing the community before beginning construction was merely a courtesy.
Valdes-Clausell accused Mattone of putting the cart before the horse, by making a new deal with EDC without informing or asking the community about it first.
Moreover, the $3 million in the recent contract went straight to the EDC, not the community.
Posted by Queens Crapper at 12:41 AM
Labels: broken promises, Community Boards, EDC, elmwood theater, mall, Mattone Group, parking lot, Queens Center, restaurant, St. John's Queens Hospital
Well, look at the bright side; they are starting to run out of parking lots and one family houses to build monstrosities in that area.
All three of these restaurants suck!
Doesn't the EDC represent the community at all? Their website is very evasive. Why does this group even exist?
As per their site ...
NYCEDC is the City’s primary engine for economic development charged with leveraging the City’s assets to drive growth, create jobs and improve quality of life.
That's a lot of bullshit business jargon for one sentence. It tells you nothing - which is exactly their intention!
Is this a branch of organized crime? Who the hell are they to be selling city assets? They sound like a bunch of bullshit consultants fleecing the city.
Can we get rid of them? Are they the mayor's flunkeys?
Are the Mattones friends with the Vallones? I heard they hate each other as they both vie to be the top blood suckers of Queens.
The Mattones wouldn't build this kind of crap in Douglas Manor, their home turf...
but shitting on Elmhurst's Latino population is OK.
Aren't they "jungle" people in the Mattone's eyes?
Vibrant and diverse- Olive Garden. Can't wait to see that old ditz Helen Marshall at the ribbon cutting.
More congestion. Just what that area needs.
Love how EDC reneged on its promises. Remember that little stunt people.
"All three of these restaurants suck!"
Yeah but look at all the lucrative part-time jobs with no benefits they will create for the illegal aliens.
Hard to figure out which is worse: EDC or BSA....
Why don't they develop what used to be pathmark on northern blvd, seems like a more ideal place
There is more development to be done in that area. The Newtown HS athletic field is taking up a complete square block with the potential to make millions of $ for developers and not a cent for the city after eons of tax abatements are awarded. What a waste of property that field is. The Department of Education could sell without a problem since it probably isn't park land. But that little complication never stopped the city from giving land to developers.
And while they are at it Dept of Ed could sell off the small school across the street and the playground attached.
If the attached photo is of the Mattone's, they might need more than three restaurants to turn a profit.
Horse Brook once flowed across this parcel.
The way Elmhurst is going be glad it isn't just another poorly kept dirty Chinese "supermarket".
Let them build something the whole community can use, otherwise watch it eventually become some balkanized plot of land for the Chinese who want to turn Queens blvd into Main Street.
Clay 1/2 barrel clay roof atop CAD boxes. WTF is this Tuscon Mexico or Greece ?
Those two guys sure eat a lot. They are huge!
You should see their bank accounts!
They're livin' large for sure!
Free parking? Ain't nothing with free parking in that area. I gotta see that.
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