Today’s news:

Elder Ave. project revised

Architect Paul Bonfilio (r.) illustrates his application to add an addition to a home in Bowne Park. Later in the evening, Community Board 7 approved an amended application for a 12-story building in Queensboro Hill. Photo by Rich Bockmann
TimesLedger Newspapers

A spokeswoman for the company planning to erect a 12-story, mixed-use building in Queensboro Hill said developers plan to start excavating the vacant site this summer after Community Board 7 approved a revised plan for the project Monday night.

The board had previously rejected an application for the proposed building at the corner of Elder Avenue and Main Street, citing concerns over a requested parking waiver. The decision went to the city Board of Standards and Appeals, which ultimately approved plans for 28 residential units, retail and medical office space and 58 parking spaces in 2009.

Nora Martins, the attorney presenting the revised application, said the project had stalled due to the poor economy and the building’s planners thought they would have better luck selling smaller condos.

“A two-bedroom unit is not going to do as well,” she said, and explained that the developers hoped to attract more buyers by decreasing the size of some of the units, thus increasing the number of units from 28 to 36.

By shrinking the medical office space on the second floor, the revised plan also added three parking spaces for a total of 61, thus eliminating the need for a variance.

“Although this is a building with a whole bunch of issues, the only issue now is they’re going from 28 to 36 units,” said Third Vice Chairman Frank Macchio.

Several board members said they still had concerns about parking, specifically whether or not the cellar ceilings would provide adequate clearance once a sprinkler system was installed and if the parking spaces were wide enough to accommodate vehicles.

The community board approved the application 31-2 with a request that the BSA review the parking plans. The application is on the BSA’s calendar for an initial hearing March 30.

The site, previously occupied by a gas station, is contaminated as a result of leaking underground storage tanks. Martins said the state Department of Environmental Conservation would oversee the site remediation.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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