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Point 128 to undergo scrutiny by city

Architect Raymond Chan displays a rendering of the mixed-use Point 128 project currently under construction in College Point. Photo by Connor Adams Sheets
TimesLedger Newspapers

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) plans to meet this week with the city Department of Buildings about architect Raymond Chan’s Point 128 development now under construction in College Point.

Chan said the project, dubbed Point 128, will include a 114-room, environmentally conscious, independently run boutique hotel called Hotel de Point, 124 parking spots, restaurants, retail stores and a rooftop cafe.

The meeting was to follow a Tuesday conversation between the DOB and Chan, during which representatives of the department spoke with the architect about possible technical issues with the project. Chan said Monday he expected the DOB would not halt the ongoing work at Point 128.

“We should be compliant with what they’re looking for. It’s just the normal process. They want us to explain what everything is and to show all the data to support it, in terms of zoning, egress and these types of things,” he said. “This usually happens with all projects. If there’s a major issue, they would issue a stop order, but it’s only an audit.”

Jen Friedberg, a spokeswoman for the DOB, said “the department is working with the owner to ensure that the site is in compliance with all city rules and regulations.”

The DOB sent a letter to Chan last week saying it had found possible technical problems with Chan’s proposal to turn the Gelmart building, at 20-07 127th St., into a massive, mixed-use development and that it will undertake an audit to ensure it meets all criteria for construction to continue. If the plan is not fully compliant, the agency wrote in the letter that it may take steps to stop work at the site.

The DOB acted in response to a letter Avella wrote to the agency, asking it to examine whether there were any issues with the property and whether anything could be done to stop the overhaul. Avella is opposed to the project along with many community members, who are concerned it will increase traffic and parking woes.

Avella did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but an aide said he would meet with the Buildings Department this week.

Chan said he believes Avella is just looking for a way to stall the project.

“All these things have been previously asked for in the first application, but they’re just doing it all over again,” he said. “When someone wants to cause a problem with a project, this is the process they usually take.”

Earlier this month, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission wrote a letter to Avella saying it would not be acting on his suggestion that it undertake a study to determine whether the historic factory was eligible to be landmarked because the building had been altered too much from the original structure.

Chan contended in September that he was “all ears” if the city wanted to take steps to relieve traffic, but that because the site was zoned M-1 and the project was going in as-of-right, there were few restrictions.

He said the L-shaped, 140,000-square-foot building — expected to open early next year — will also include an organic farmer’s market, supermarket, 200-person conference center, home center, Laundromat, office space, food court and probably a Denny’s restaurant as well as more than a dozen retail shops to include a florist, pizzeria, tea house, clothier, Mexican restaurant, souvenir shop and more.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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