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City pushes to redevelop Flushing Sanitation building

TimesLedger Newspapers

The city put out a call last week to develop a lot in downtown Flushing that is currently occupied by an unused city Sanitation Department building, citing future development in the area as one of the incentives.

The 2,500-square-foot lot is currently zoned for commercial use and in the heart of downtown Flushing at 135-15 41st Road, across the street from an entrance to the Long Island Rail Road’s Flushing-Main Street station.

“While the property is small in size, it represents a meaningful step towards creating a brighter future for downtown Flushing,” said Seth Pinsky, president of the city Economic Development Corp. “To reactivate this vacant building presents an opportunity to the private sector to be a part of Flushing’s incredible, ongoing renaissance.”

The two-story, gray brick building that sits on the lot was constructed in 1950 and subsequently used by Sanitation until 2005, when it was damaged by nearby construction, according to the EDC.

Any developer interested in the project would be responsible for demolishing the structurally compromised building before constructing a new one.

In the request for proposals issued Dec. 6, the EDC lists one incentive as the lot’s proximity to Flushing Commons, a proposed mixed-use, $850 million development that would take the place of Municipal Lot 1, which is between 37th and 39th avenues between 138th and Union streets.

“The nearby development of Flushing Commons indicates the growth potential and strength of the Flushing demographics,” the EDC said in the document.

Yet the project that was once scheduled to break ground in 2012 has been put on hold due to lack of funding.

In fact, the city-owned property has not even been turned over to the developer, TDC Development.

Nevertheless, the EDC’s announcement was met favorably by area lawmakers, including City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), who saw the sale of the city-owned property as another means for the corporation to generate income in tight fiscal times.

“It is encouraging that with a looming budget deficit, the EDC is looking for revenue generating opportunities. EDC has decided to develop the old Sanitation building on 40th Road to help Flushing continue to prosper economically and provide more jobs for local residents,” Koo said.

The RFP has a clause requiring developers to include plans on how to comply with the EDC’s HireNYC initiative, which is designed to connect the local labor pool to future job opportunities associated with development.

In addition, the RFP said any applicants must demonstrate that the building will be either Gold or Silver LEED-certified, a measure of how energy efficient a structure is, or outline steps to make the building green.

Whatever goes into the lot should ideally not require zoning changes, according to the EDC, and the proposal should meet parking requirements pursuant to zoning.

The EDC planned an informational meeting Jan. 10. Any interested parties are required to indicate their desire to attend by Jan. 5.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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