Archive for the tag 'robert palermo'

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.

1501 Sheepshead Bay Road

A proposed nine-story development may be nixed as the site goes up for sale, giving a sign of hope to opponents who were outraged that the plan’s 101 parking garage would create a traffic nightmare for the area.

For sale signs went up at 1501 Sheepshead Bay Road recently, and representatives of the property have confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that plans are now up in the air. The original plans called for a 115-foot building wedged into a narrow strip of land abutting the train tracks and existing buildings, running all the way from Sheepshead Bay Road to Avenue Z.

“The property is for sale because the owners have another opportunity at another location and can’t proceed with two constructions at the same time,” said broker Arsen Atbashyan, who represents the property.

Don’t sound the “all clear” just yet. Keep reading to find out why.

We thought we’d share a little progress report about the four story building being constructed at 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road, the former site of the Bay News offices.

The 70-foot office/retail structure is taking shape, and in fairly good time. Demolition of the site began in early September. It halted a few weeks later when inspectors found asbestos on the roof, but that was cleared up quickly and construction resumed.

Here you get a better idea of exactly how tall it’s going to be (about the same size as Bally’s across the street). The building is slated for a September 2011 completion. A 68-car attended parking garage will be at the rear, and the neighboring storefront was demolished to make way for driveway access.

Okay, that headline is more about our love of alliteration than any groundbreaking story about construction follies. A partial Stop Work Order has been issued by the Department of Buildings, though, after testing found asbestos contamination on the roof – but work continues to move forward.

The order to limit demolition activities was made after a caller to the DOB complained on Monday about “debris flying all over the place. Scare of possible asbestos affecting neighboring properties,” according the department’s website.

The architect, Robert Polermo, said that a Department of Environmental Protection spot-check revealed the cancer-causing substance in a “little corner” of the roof. Polermo said that most of the structure is safe and asbestos-free, but that older portions of the roof date back to before the 70s, and this is likely where it was found.

Construction is allowed to continue on the interior, but the roof must be treated by a licensed asbestos removal team which the builder has already hired. Removal should happen some time this week, Polermo said.

The Department of Buildings has received a flurry of complaints about construction, though, all coming in this week. Aside from the initial complaint on Monday, four other complaints were filed, but inspectors found them to be unsubstantiated.

The building is slated for a September 2011 completion, and will feature a 70-foot, four story structure with retail and office space. A 68-car attended parking garage will be at the rear, and the neighboring storefront will be demolished to make way for driveway access.

Construction begins on the former Bay News / Courier-Life headquarters at 1733 Sheepshead Bay Road, as fencing goes up in preparation for the erection of a four-story, 70-foot-tall office and retail building.

Architect Robert Palermo, of Corporate Design of America, said the site is slated for a September 2011 completion. Palermo designed the original building “way back when,” and said the new property will include an attended parking garage for approximately 68 cars. The storefront next to it, a travel agency at 1737 Sheepshead Bay Road, is being torn down to make an entryway to the garage in the rear of the building. All work is being done as-of-right and within current zoning laws.

There are no tenants signed yet, said Palermo, but he expects one prime retail tenant on the ground floor, and the remaining three to have a single tenant each.

The building has sat empty since March 13, 2009, when Bay News / Courier-Life moved to Downtown Brooklyn. The building was sold to Alex Finkelstein in August 2008 for $3.1 million. Finkelstein is a local landlord and developer who owns other buildings in the neighborhood, and has no plans to sell the property after construction is finished, Palermo said.

Thanks to Erica S. for the tip.