Civic leaders are watching a proposed spa for College Point after a notorious hot sheets motel in Kew Gardens Hills owned by the developer was shut down last week in relation to prostitution charges.
The Queens district attorney announced last Thursday that two alleged flop houses were padlocked and five motel employees were arrested following a police raid. One of the hotels caught in the sting was the Kew Motor Inn, which belongs to Kwang Nam Park.
Park also owns a property in College Point that he has been trying to turn into a spa with the endorsement of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).
“Obviously, this concerns me greatly,” Avella said. “My support for the spa was on the condition that everything is done legally. If it is proved that this individual is connected to what goes on at the hotel, that raises serious questions.”
Avella specifically noted only employees have been charged at this point, and Park himself has not been implicated. Avella said he would contact Brown’s office to investigate.
The senator took Community Board 7 and Borough President Helen Marshall to task earlier this year after Park’s proposal to build a two-story spa complete with a rooftop pool, at 131-23 31st Ave., was recommended for denial by both parties.
“I do not agree with the community board’s report nor do I agree with the borough president’s report.”,” he said in January at a meeting with Park and the architects on the project.
The two bodies opposed the plan for structural and parking reasons.
The city Board of Standards and Appeals, which is supposed to take CB 7 and Marshall’s recommendations into consideration for the final say, had not made a ruling by press time Tuesday.
Irwin Park, the son of the developer and member of Delta Kew Holding Corp. & Property Management, declined to comment.
Should the proposal pass, CB 7 Chairman Gene Kelty said the community will keep an eye out on the spa after learning of the prostitution sting at the Kew Motor Inn.
But the amount of money Park is sinking into the spa led Kelty to hope that everything would be above board.
“I would hope that he was going to put a state-of-the-art facility, which is going to run for a reasonable profit and stay for awhile,” Kelty said.
But Park will not be making any profit on the Kew Motor Inn, at 139-01 Grand Central Pkwy., in the near future.
The DA said the motel, along with the Par Central Motor Inn, located next door, allegedly served as havens for prostitutes and their pimps.
“These two motels have been deemed public nuisances that have generated numerous prostitution-related arrests — including those involving underage girls — during the past year,” DA Richard Brown said in a statement.
Employees at the hotels allegedly accepted bribes, allowed the undercover cops to rent rooms without identification, knowingly allowed prostitution activity and in some cases assisted in the illegal activity by acting as the prostitutes’ secretaries, the DA said.
The Kew Motor Inn website, which was taken down soon after the charges were announced, formerly referred to itself as: “since 1969 the most famous, and exotic couples-friendly motel/hotel in Queens!!”
Pictures that were formerly on the site featured mirrors on the ceilings and rooms decorated in different themes.
A call placed by TimesLedger Newspapers in January determined the minimum stay was two hours, which an employee answering the phones indicated would cost $60.
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community News Group
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