The site of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

Rendering of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

An enormous commercial development slated for Coney Island Avenue in Midwood is facing opposition for its proposal to cut out 74 required parking spaces, but its backers say it’s moving forward regardless.

The construction site at 1504 Coney Island Avenue, at Avenue L, is to be the largest retail development in the neighborhood, according to boasts from its leasing team. Councilman David Greenfield is calling it a “mega development,” saying it will feature more than 160,000 square feet of space. Zoning requirements call for a minimum of 346 parking spaces, but the owner has requested permission from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals to scale that back to 272 spaces.

The site of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

The site of the proposed development. (Source: CPEX Retail Leasing)

That’s unacceptable, according to the pol. The intersection is already home to one of the neighborhood’s most popular markets, Pomegranate, and adding more development without sufficient parking would bring that stretch of Coney Island Avenue to a standstill.

“I frequently drive by Avenue L and Coney Island Avenue and am stuck among double and triple-parked cars. It’s really ridiculous that anyone would suggest that the lack of parking is not a problem in this neighborhood. That is why I am fighting to make sure the community gets the required amount of parking for this new mega development,” Greenfield said in a press release.

The project’s developer expects the site to be a shopping destination, with a 50,000-square-foot department store as its anchor, with 25,000 square feet of additional retail and 3,400 square feet of office space. A 56,000-square-foot section of the building will be set aside for ambulatory medical care, and another 28,000 square feet will serve as community space and home for a non-profit, the developer’s representative, attorney Howard Goldman, explained during a meeting last week of the BSA. (The BSA is empowered to grant waivers to zoning regulations if the situation meets certain conditions.)

The parking would be underground, served by an entrance on Coney Island Avenue, and the building will use a robotic system to store and retrieve vehicles. According to Goldman, the system won’t requiring any on-street queuing which would otherwise lead to congestion.

Greenfield, who is also chair of the City Council’s powerful Land Use Committee, and Community Board 12 District Manager Barry Spitzer, who is also Greenfield’s deputy chief of staff, testified against the developer’s application, saying that the parking just isn’t sufficient in the neighborhood. Greenfield spokesperson Jane Carey, who testified on behalf of the councilman, and Spitzer both focused on double parking and truck traffic caused by Pomegranate, which only has 40 parking spaces. Though that may be Pomegranate’s fault, the BSA should enforce the parking minimum at the new, unrelated development to prevent the problem from getting worse.

Their plea appears to be in vain. Goldman said they’re going forward with the stated amount of parking whether or not the Board approves it – they’ll just reduce the medical office’s square footage, which requires more parking than other uses.

“If the request is not granted by the Board, it doesn’t mean the project won’t be built. What it means is that instead of the medical office, we will have the non-profit office space,” he said before the BSA. “So, matter of fact, it’ll be the same amount of spaces but a different mix of uses.”

Goldman added that, for all the bellyaching about parking, the new project will help ease the burden created by Pomegranate.

“This is a congested intersection. And the reason it’s congested is because there’s a very popular supermarket across the street called Pomegranate,” Goldman said, noting that their analysis showed congestion was worst on Thursday evenings and Friday afternoons. Pomegrenate’s parking “is really insufficient. Our garage’s excess capacity can handle some of that excess overflow from Pomegranate and the net result will be a benefit to the neighborhood, not a detriment to the neighborhood.”

The developer submitted a letter of support for the project from Pomegranate’s owners. The BSA has another hearing on the development scheduled for September 9.

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  • Local Broker

    Do you know who the owner/developer is?

    • Ned Berke

      “1504 CIA LLC” – DOB has Baruch Singer as one of the partners.

      • Local Broker

        I know who owns it i was asking if you knew.

  • Lisanne!

    Coney Island Avenue is a 19th century throughfare, and one used for local deliveries by countless trucks. UT’s sumply not wide enough for a mega-development without adequate parking. In a perfect world this would not be built at all. It’s not necessary.

    • BrooklynBus

      You are correct. Besides the parking issue, cars will still have to use local streets to access the cite. If it were adjacent to a highway, it would be a different story.

      The City causes all the congestion by creating overdevelopment. Then they blame you for driving there when the buses run every half hour because they don’t keep to schedule and say driver’s cause the congestion. The cite should be developed but not overdeveloped.

  • Street Equity

    Sorry, what? Greenfield has it totally backwards — more parking generates congestion. The last thing this city needs is more car parking.

    • BrooklynBus

      You obviously are not from around here and are talking theoretics. You probably believe that for every new parking space that is created, someone goes out and buts a car. That is so BS. Buying a car is a complicated decision involving many factors. When you over develop, you create congestion by forcing people to go around in circles to try to find a parking space and when they can’t, they restrict capacity by double parking. And if you are going to suggest, switching to transit, you better improve it first. The MTA only adds service after the riders show up, not before, and they won’t show up when they have to wait 30 minutes for a bus, or stand in overcrowded vehicles.

      Greenfield is right on target. You are the one who has it totals backwards.

      • u-know-nothing-allen-rosen

        You’re not taking into affect that people with cars move to areas with easy parking. That’s what attracts them. The overdevelopment causes congestion by providing opportunity for car ownership which can be taken advantage of by current car owners.

      • BIG Steve

        You are correct!

  • Lady Deborah Moody

    Wouldn’t a better question be why aren’t they out ticketing those who are double and triple parking?

  • jw

    “a 50,ooo square foot department store”??? Anyone know WHICH dept store???