Summary of what happened at the SB/PB meeting that was held in the Landmark Lundy’s building on Ocean Ave & Emmons Ave and hosted by new tenant, Cherry Hill Market last night, March 3, 2009:
Building and Construction Manager, Anthony Kelley, spoke in defense of the Cherry Hill Market project. He answered questions and debunked myths that his project has gone against the allowable limits for landmarked buildings.
He stated that the only violation he is aware of that his construction crew went against, is the one prohibiting the removal of the outside signs. He admitted that he was not aware of that particular rule at the time, but the intention was not to remove the signs permanently, anyway. The signs were removed in order to be repainted and will be put back up shortly.
Owner, David Isaev, and his market manager did not speak at the meeting about the nature and purpose of the market, but Builder, Kelley, mentioned that the market will also have a restaurant. Although he did not mention the names of the chefs, he said that two who worked in New York restaurants had been hired to work at Cherry Hill — pointing to the menus they have already developed.
Members of the board explained more about the actual facts regarding the landmark rules, saying that there are currently five outstanding permit problems. Gene Berardelli invited everyone to read the actual paperwork he held in his hands, reiterating that of the five violations, two are related to neon signs and were in effect since the 1990′s. He went on to explain that the other three violations involving various issues with a sidewalk cafe and railings that are still in effect, were from changes which the owner and previous tenant had made.
Kelley said that even though these permit violations have nothing to do with them, since they inherited the problems, they will deal with them according to the law. When asked why the landlord has not dealt with the building violations, he said, “He doesn’t care”, while carefully avoiding the question about why he continued working even when there was a work-stop order issued.
It appears that certain parts of the outside of the building have been altered, through no fault of the new lessee. This means that there have been changes to the landmark building’s facade and although it will look great on the outside and the inside — thanks to the new tenant — it still won’t be exactly as it was in its heyday.
The inside of the building has been done in grand style with, amongst many things, carved wooden shelving, gorgeous chandeliers, and spectacular marble floors. You can see pictures of what some of the $7 million was spent on at GerritsenBeach.net, who snagged a pre-meeting, sneak preview.
Representatives sent by NYS State Senators Carl Kruger and Marty Golden read, to us, each respective Senator’s point of view. Golden supports the Cherry Hill Market’s business efforts, while Kruger’s view bolsters community-minded projects. Councilman Lew Fidler short speech focused on the community.
Steve Barrison of the Bay Improvement Group made some key points about preserving the special interest of Sheepshead Bay with relation to its origins as a fishing community focused around the bay and was one of the only people who mentioned the words “marine”, “bait”, “tackle”, and “fishing”. His comments highlighted the little-mentioned fact that this retail food establishment may be directly against zoning laws set by the city planners, in 1973, when they designated a 20-block tract of land space as a Special Sheepshead Bay District.
There was much talk, overall, about the facade of the building, the landmark status, preserving the building itself, the grandeur of the current construction, the amount of money invested, and the prospect for this new business venture and its economic outlook for the investors.
The rest of the meeting dealt with various subjects: SBPB is now a 501 (c) (3); issues regarding Voorhies Ave and the Brooklyn Yacht Club and fences; raw sewage entering the creek; clogged catch basins; future of the Golden Gate Motel with the possibilities of more condos or a Marriott Hotel; assurance that motels in Sheepshead Bay are not being used as “welfare” housing, but has been used for Red Cross housing of temporary homeless; grants and grantwriting is in progress for the Brigham Park Project (to enable greater environmental stewardship, better bioswale, possible help from Wachovia Foundation and EPF grant); and, issues with the lack of visible waterfront due to overbuilding.
The final word for the meeting ended with someone talking about what is best for the community and what will generate jobs.
This was the (somewhat) objective account of the meeting. For another point of view, you might try Russian TV Network (RTN), since they were on hand with media coverage.
Maybe, sometime later, I can tell you what I really saw and heard. But, for now, I’ll say this: There were huge icicles on the outside of the Lundy’s building (someone, call the LPC) and these “gourmands” didn’t even bother to welcome us with a cup of coffee and a beignet! They could have arranged for some refreshment with Sheepshead Bay Gourmet Market. But, noooo.