A fuse is lit for a potentially explosive showdown between Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association (SBPB) and the owners of the Best Western on Emmons Ave. and Nostrand. News broke on SBPB’s forum that Cappuccino on the Bay is being bought out by the hotel’s owners, as part of an unfolding initiative to purchase the entire strip along Emmons Ave. for further development.
Reportedly, plans for development include a mixed-use building that will take up the rest of the block and include residential-retail-restaurant spaces, with the possibility of condos. Most interestingly, and alarmingly, owners want to build a skyway linking the hotel with the new construction. The skyway will span the public walkway between the buildings, which is currently one of the “bungalow blocks” that adults and children pass through to get home.
SBPB already has an ugly history with the hotel, and this won’t make things much better. During its original construction, members of SBPB called the Dept. of Buildings with complaints of groundwater being pumped into the catch basin and pouring into the Bay. The complaints resulted in fines of approximately $50,000. Then there were the protests the group held at the hotel’s doors over their policy of allowing “short stays” – usually not a good sign of virtuous activity. Pay-by-the-hour service is no longer available at the hotel.
But the latest developments seem to really be firing up the rhetoric, with a source close to the deal quoting the owner of Best Western as saying he thinks he will “get away with it all because the [people in the neighborhood]are too stupid to stop it.”
Gene Berardelli, the attorney for SBPB and administrator of the SBPB forum, wrote me saying, “It’s going to hit the fan on this one!” In a phone interview he added that given the developer’s “history of not following the law,” the group is planning to examine all building plans as they’re submitted, and if/when construction begins, will keep a close eye on it throughout all phases.
“We’re going to make him dot his I’s and cross his T’s,” said Berardelli. “We want to make sure everything is safe, within the zoning laws, and with minimal effect to the community as possible.”[where: 11235]