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Motel developer prepares lawsuit to finish construction

Construction on a controversial motel in Springfield Gardens is currently halted, but the attorney representing the developer contends his client has the right to finish the project.

Jordan Most, who represents Saliesh Ghandi in court, said he is preparing to fight the city Department of Buildings proposal to revoke the permits for the construction of the lodge at 219-05 North Conduit Ave. during a hearing March 9 in Queens Civil Court.

Ghandi has been trying to build the motel for two years, but residents have protested the business because they claim it will charge by the hour and it does not belong right down the block from Springfield Gardens High School.

The DOB issued a stop-work order at the site Feb. 11, a couple of weeks after construction resumed, because Ghandi failed to complete work on the foundation within an allotted time frame and was zoned out. Most said construction was stalled due to lawsuits from the concerned community members and there were provisions for delays that were caused by further court actions.

“It is a case of whether Mr. Ghandi’s construction was grandfathered in,” he said.

Michael Duncan, a community activist who has been fighting the construction for years, filed a lawsuit against Ghandi in 2009 after the developer was given permission from the city Board of Standards and Appeals that he could continue construction despite new zoning laws that went into effect in 2008 prohibiting a motel at the site.

Duncan lost the suit in August and two months later the DOB gave Ghandi the permits to restart the construction.

Most said his client had to clear up other issues dealing with previous DOB violations and was only able to begin work again in January. When Duncan learned that construction was continuing, he called the DOB and filed more complaints.

After Duncan spoke with his attorney, Isa Abdur-Rahmanl, he found out the BSA stipulated that the foundation had to be completed within six months of its decision in order for the construction to be legal.

“After checking all the facts, we found that there was no way he could have continued construction,” he said.

Most, however, said that there was an additional stipulation that said the six-month provision would be staid pending further legal action and the lawsuit and work to remove the DOB violations stalled the construction.

A representative from the city Law Department could not comment on the case.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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