June 25, 2020 By Christian Murray
A developer plans to demolish at least eight stores on Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside and replace them with a 13-story, 213-unit apartment complex.
Woodside 63 Management LLC., which is led by the Astoria-based real estate firm EJ Stevens Group, is looking to develop a 210,000 square foot building on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue between 62nd and 63rd Streets.
The development would require the demolition of approximately 10 stores–from 62-02 through 62-26 Roosevelt Ave. The properties are currently occupied by an eclectic array of businesses– including a carpet store, laundromat, furniture store, restaurant, barber shop and 99 cent store.
The developers presented the plans to Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee last week and seek to get the block rezoned in order to move forward with the plan. They need the zone changed from a R6 and R6/C1-4 district– to a C4-4 district.
The 13-story building would also incorporate retail and office space—as well as space for non-profit arts groups.
The ground floor would be dedicated to retail, with office space on the second floor. The apartment units would be on floors three through 13. The plans call for 64 of the 213 dwelling units to be “affordable.”
The lower level space would for a fitness center and non profit groups. The sub-cellar would include 156 parking spaces, accessible from 63rd Street.
The developers, according to CB 2 Chair Lisa Deller, are looking to start the ULURP rezoning process later this year. The process typically takes six to eight months and requires community board review and a number of public hearings. The City Planning Commission and the Borough President also get to weigh in.
The approval, however, is ultimately determined by the city council, particularly the council person representing the district where the development is planned. Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents this section of Roosevelt Avenue, did not respond for comment.
Deller said the developers say that the building would beautify the area and provide much needed affordable housing.
Deller, who is also head of the board’s Land Use Committee, said a big concern for the board is the size of the development and how it might overwhelm neighboring residential buildings. The proposed building, she said, is particularly large for that area of Roosevelt Avenue.
The developers, as part of a rezoning, are required by the city to provide affordable housing. They have four options to meet the city requirements, which pertain to the number of affordable units offered and income range.
Deller said the developers seek to set aside 30 percent of the 213 units– or 64 units– at 80 percent of the area median income level, which equates to around $62,000 for a family of three.
Deller said the Land Use Committee believes the 80 percent level is too high for the area and wants the affordable units to be offered at a lower income bracket.
For instance, the developers would be able to meet the city’s affordable housing requirement by setting aside 20 percent of the units as “affordable” but at a much lower income level.
The income level, under this option, would be set at 40 percent of the area median income, or around $31,000 a year for a household of three.
A representative of Woodside 63 Management LLC was unavailable to provide further details.