Archive for the tag 'loehmanns seaport plaza'

loehmanns

Bullet Points” is our format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.

Loehmann’s expansion postponed: An expected vote on an application to expand Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) was tabled by Community Board 15 at their meeting this Tuesday to allow hearings and public input throughout the summer.

The Board was scheduled to vote on the proposal, which seeks to add an additional floor of office space totaling 10,000 square feet to the building. As the first item on the agenda, the Board’s Zoning Committee chairperson, Ronnie Tawil, made a motion to table the item until the group’s next meeting in September.

“Since this property is at the centerpiece of Sheepshead Bay and is of such high significance for the entire area, I’m of the mind that we should table this matter so that we can have more public hearings and more opportunities to discuss the ramifications of this particular application,” he said before the Board.

Normally, postponing such a hearing before the summer could open the door for an end-run around the Board. The group’s recommendation is advisory, and is requested to come within 60 days before the landlord’s appearance before the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), which has final say. If the Community Board tables a motion, it could forfeit its right to provide input.

However, the group’s chairperson Theresa Scavo said that won’t happen in this case. She met with the landlord’s attorney, Eric Palatnik, who frequently comes before the group on zoning matter and requested that he postpone the appearance before the BSA so that public hearings can be organized. He agreed, and has frozen the application, Scavo said.

“I’m asking him not to go ahead without us, he said he would not, and everything is put on hold. He’s giving it until September,” said Scavo.

Public hearings are expected to be scheduled in July or August by Councilman Deutsch’s office in conjunction with local groups like the Sheepshead Bay – Plumb Beach Civic Association. The item will be back for a vote before the Board in September.

As Sheepshead Bites first reported in March, the landlord is planning to add a new floor of commercial offices. Because it falls outside of the special zoning district‘s permitted uses, and the building is already subject to a variance, the BSA must review and approve the project.

Its initial construction was a lightning rod for community activists in the 1990s, when many locals mobilized to stop it from being built. It succeeded in going forward, and many credit the development as being the death of the special zoning district.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out [of business]. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” said Steve Barrison when he learned the news in March. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Zoning items:

  • 1112 Gilmore Court - The board voted 28-to-5 to approve an application for a special permit to allow the enlargement of a single family dwelling. The landlord is seeking to upgrade a one-story bungalow into a two-family house, saying he needs more space for his family and needs the second unit to cover the costs of construction. The construction will not result in decreased side yards, as they plan to build back into the rear yard and to increase the front yard space.

Elected officials:

  • Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein briefed the Board on the end of the legislative session, specifically touting her record of domestic violence initiatives. She added that her bill on special education placements did not pass, but that was in fact good news since a deal had been negotiated with Mayor Bill de Blasio to initiate the changes at the Department of Education anyway.

Other notable information:

  • A motion by newly appointed boardmember Ed Jaworski, also the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association, was rejected. The motion was to approve a resolution of “no confidence” in the Board of Standards and Appeals, which he said has been effectively upzoning neighborhoods on a lot-by-lot basis by rubber stamping special applications for variances that come before it. In the coming days, the BSA will lose its current chairperson to term limits, and Jaworski hoped to send a message that would result in an appointee he would consider more inclined to listen to local communities. The Board ultimately rejected the motion after choosing not to table it, with members saying that it would “disenfranchise the relationship we’ve built over time,” and that there were other ways to weigh in on the selection of a new BSA chairperson.
  • The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, through their partnership with the Family Justice Center, informed the area that they are establishing walk-in centers in every borough for domestic violence victims. The centers have free attorneys, social workers, children’s counselors and more on-site, and it’s open to all regardless of gender or immigration status. Community Board 15 is ranked 39th citywide in domestic violence calls, roughly in the middle of all communities.
  • The Department of City Planning announced the launch of the Southern Brooklyn Resilient Neighborhood Study, a two-year plan to examine the Sheepshead Bay area (specifically Plumb Beach and Gerritsen Beach) to identify strategies to strengthen the area from future storms. Some attendees complained that the new study doesn’t help with ongoing issues with Build it Back, FEMA or other agencies, and is yet another in a long line of studies and initiatives that they feel are not moving forward.
  • The Board welcomed the appointment of five new members, at least two of which were not in attendance, and at least one of which has never been seen at Board meetings previously. Board appointments are made by the borough president, often at the recommendation of local Council members.
  • Doreen Garson, representing the local CERT team, noted that the Office of Emergency Management has issued new evacuation maps and a related website.
  • A representative for Councilman Mark Treyger announced that his office would hold an unclaimed funds event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their 2014 Stillwell Avenue office on July 10. You will be able to search state databases for funds owed that you may have forgotten about or lost track of.
  • The Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach branches of the Brooklyn Public Library will participate in the Department of Education’s summer meals programming, offering kids free lunch during the day, beginning on June 27.
  • The July 4 holiday is a Friday. There will be no recycling picked up that day, but garbage may be put to the curb. Alternate side parking will be suspended.
  • The Department of Consumer Affairs asked the Board for input on the installation of bumper cars at Land o’ Fun at 2955 Coney Island Avenue. The Board voted to recommend its approval.

loehmanns

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The owners of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) have submitted plans to the Department of Building to construct a new extension to the controversial building, leaving those who fought its initial construction nearly 20 years ago in a state of shock.

The proposed extension would add a new story of commercial offices, totaling 10,000 square feet. The plans are in violation of zoning and the property’s current variance, and will soon be considered by Community Board 15 and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

One of the property’s owners, Alex Levin, confirmed the expansion.

“We’re looking to expand office space,” he said. “We’re going to bring the elevator up to [a new third] floor. We have our reasons.”

The project’s architect, Robert Palermo, declined to discuss the plans.

“It’s privileged information. When it comes before the board, it’ll be public,” he said.

There is no date set yet for a public hearing at Community Board 15, the first step to obtaining any variance. Chairperson Theresa Scavo said she had not yet been notified by the Board of Standards Appeals.

As a resident, though, she was shocked to learn of the plan.

“Speaking personally, it was against the special Sheepshead zoning district to begin with, and to add a floor is a slap in the face to the people of Sheepshead Bay,” she said. “I cannot believe that adding another floor is going to give the Bay a better look with that monstrosity there.”

The building sits within the Sheepshead Bay special zoning district, which limits the size and use of structures along the Emmons Avenue waterfront. The area is limited to waterfront and tourist-related activities, and special density and height limits govern development.

Many longtime Sheepshead Bay activists credit the development of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the 1990s as the death of the special district, having won a variance that, according to those who fought it, resulted in it being 800 percent larger than legal limits. The exception was won due to the promise of the retail giant Loehmann’s as an anchor tenant, justifying jobs and commercial draw in exchange for its waiver.

Loehmann’s went bankrupt and vacated the property last month.

Bay Improvement Group Steve Barrison, one of the development’s most vocal opponents, said the new application is history repeating itself.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” he said. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Barrison added that there’s little legal justification to allow the variance simply for office space. According to the law, a developer must show that they suffer from certain hardships, as found in section 72-21 of New York’s Zoning Resolution.

“It’s insensitive to the whole community after Sandy,” said Barrison. “All of the people who haven’t moved in or are still rebuilding and trying to get their lives together. Now [this developer] wants to go and build and increase zoning some more when people can’t speak up.”

If Bay Improvement Group decides to fight the variance, they’ll be fighting a different developer than they did in the 1990s. The building was sold to Levin in 2008 for $24 million, a local real estate record at the time.

loehmanns

Loehmann’s discount clothing store at 2027 Emmons Avenue closed for good on Wednesday, wrapping up its seven-week-long closeout sale.

We first announced the impending closure of Loehmann’s in early January, after the retailer filed for bankruptcy and won a court decision permitting it to sell of inventory and holdings.

Thirty-nine stores in all are now closed, ending a nearly 100-year-long presence in the borough where it all began.

The Sheepshead Bay Loehmann’s opened its doors in the 1990s after a long and bitter battle between the property developer and locals who feared it was an inappropriate use of waterfront land. A special zoning district was enacted for the Sheepshead Bay waterfront in the 1970s, reserving the land for waterfront- and tourist-related activities.

loehmanns

It looks like the controversial and eponymous tenant of the Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza building on Emmons Avenue will soon vacate, following approval from a bankruptcy judge to sell off inventory and holdings.

The discount designer apparel retailer is shutting its doors after filing for bankruptcy in December. A judge on Tuesday gave the green light to conduct at “Going out of Business” sale of merchandise at the retailer’s 40 locations across 11 states.

In Sheepshead Bay, it means a prime waterfront commercial space at 2027 Emmons Avenue will now go vacant, after being one of the strip’s prime attractions for local shoppers. It also means that nearly 100 employees at the local location will be looking for work, an employee told Sheepshead Bites over the phone today.

The storefront is set to close its doors for good some time in March, the employee said. Until then, shoppers can enjoy bargains between 10 and 40 percent off, with the sale kicking off today.

The Sheepshead Bay Loehmann’s opened its doors in the 1990s after a long and bitter battle between the property developer and locals who feared it was an inappropriate use of waterfront land. A special zoning district was enacted for the Sheepshead Bay waterfront in the 1970s, reserving the land for waterfront- and tourist-related activities.

The Loehmann’s space was renovated in 2010 after a fire in a neighboring restaurant caused damages. Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 shuttered the location once again, and it reopened doors to shoppers in February.

The three-story, 280,000 square foot retail center came under new ownership in 2008, setting a local real estate record with a sale price of $24 million.

Founded in Crown Heights in 1921, Loehmann’s has struggled to compete in recent years, filing for bankruptcy two previous times. It follows the trend of other discount apparel retailers, including Filene’s Basement and Daffy’s, both of which filed for bankruptcy in the past two years.

babys

Baby’s Dream NY, a children’s apparel retailer, has reopened nearly a year after Superstorm Sandy doused the store last October.

Located in the Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza sublevel, at 2027 Emmons Avenue, the business opened its doors to customers within the last few days.

It is one of the last businesses left to reopen in the building. New Cats Cafe, to be redubbed Cats on the Bay, will be reopening within the next few days, and we saw them working on a new sign when we stopped by this afternoon. Sweika, the German-themed bar and restaurant occupying the corner of the basement level, does not appear to be reopening.

Welcome back, Baby’s Dream, and best of luck in the future!

cats

Shuttered since Superstorm Sandy flooded the ground level at Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza, Cats on the Bay (2027 Emmons Avenue) is almost ready to reopen, marking the comeback of one of the last restaurants still shuttered by the storm.

It’s also a bit of a rebranding for the establishment, as it was formerly known as New Cats Cafe. After struggling to get back up and running after the storm, the owners worked out a deal to keep their employees working by taking over a Bay Ridge nightclub called Amnesia, and dubbing it Club Cats.

No word if they’ll continue to keep on their Bay Ridge location, but their return to Emmons Avenue is a welcome sight.

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It’s a tremendous pleasure to see new businesses opening along the waterfront, especially in Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza, where the below ground level has seen little revival since Superstorm Sandy.

That’s why we were happy to stumble across Yogurt City yesterday, celebrating its first day open to the public. Located in that below ground level, next to where Sweika once was, Yogurt City is the third frozen yogurt shop to open in the Sheepshead Bay Road – Emmons Avenue area, the other two being Arbuz and Yooberry. (Arbuz, it’s worth noting, has grown out of its frozen yogurt britches and has a much more expansive menu now.)

Yogurt City appears to be more in line with Yooberry, selling its yogurt by the ounce rather than standard small, medium and large sizes, and has an equally wide range of toppings to its competitors.

Congratulations to Yogurt City on the opening, and welcome to the neighborhood!

Photo via New Cats Cafe’s Facebook page

UPDATED (5:11 p.m.): Or maybe not! We just heard from Alex Gerts, a representative for New Cats Cafe, who informed us that they have every intention of reopening the 2027 Emmons Avenue location.

“We’re not giving up on Sheepshead Bay, we love Sheepshead Bay,” Gerts said. “This is where we started and we’re going to do the right thing.”

Club Cats, as the name suggests is a nightclub. New Cats Cafe, Gerts pointed out, was and will again be a restaurant.

Original post:

Fine. Be that way.

Superstorm Sandy has scratched another business off the landscape of Sheepshead Bay. The New Cats Cafe, formally of 2027 Emmons Avenue in the Loehmanns Building, is never returning to Sheepshead Bay, according to their Facebook page.

They were flooded out by Sandy and have relocated to 10007 Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge.

The New Cats Cafe is taking over a club spot previously named Amnesia, much to the suspicion of local residents long frustrated with Amnesia’s loud music and party atmosphere. They’re dubbing the spot Club Cats.

“Club Cats? It sounds like a strip club,” an anonymous Bay Ridge resident told the Brooklyn Paper.

The cafe celebrated their grand reopening this past Friday.

There aren’t words to describe the video above. It was filmed yesterday at the Seaport Buffet at Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue), and it’s the number one reason I hate going to buffets in Brooklyn.

I went with a friend of mine from New Jersey. I spent a good 25 minutes prior to going to the buffet explaining the tong takedown that occurs when crab legs hit the table. You see, I needed to explain it because in New Jersey they don’t do this. They don’t do it in Pennsylvania, either. Or any other state in which I’ve been to a buffet. You go to buffets there and people take just a couple at a time, and there’s always some left in the tray. It’s called civility, and it’s enough to make a fat Brooklyn boy cry.

And so I explained it. In detail. He geared up, excited to see it. To him, it sounded like a gladiator match for the morbidly obese. But I warned him my words didn’t do it justice, which he couldn’t imagine. And so we arrived, and we went for our first plates of appetizers and just then the woman came out with the steaming tray of critter limbs.

I made him watch. I counted to fifteen. The crabs were gone, and so was my friend’s appetite.

Yes, it’s like this all over Brooklyn. But the Seaport Buffet is the most competitive of all the places I’ve been to, and it’s disgusting. People even take the tongs back to their seats (watch the guy in the top right). They trample children. They leave nothing for no one.

What the hell is wrong with these people?

After much waiting by frustrated bargain seekers, it looks like Loehmann’s Sheepshead Bay location is opening this Thursday, February 11, and we’re happy to see that one of the pillars of the Emmons Avenue economy is getting back on its feet.

Loehmann’s (2027 Emmons Avenue) has sent out notices to local customers and through its Facebook account about this week’s opening. The store has been closed since a November 21 fire ripped through XO Creperie next door. Loehmann’s originally planned to reopen after Thanksgiving, but later sent out a notice to “Loehmann’s E-mail Insider” subscribers saying they would remain closed until further notice.

Still, the two other businesses on the second floor of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza remain closed – probably for good. Fire damage at XO Creperie spills out onto the patio’s ceiling, and Passage looks abandoned (which didn’t stop amNY from recommending a meal there last week).

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