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Activists, Elected Officials File Lawsuit to Stop Target From Coming to 82nd Street

Photo: Queens Neighborhood United

Oct. 8, 2019 By Christian Murray (Updated Oct. 9)

Community activists and elected officials have filed a lawsuit against Target and a pair of developers to block the retail giant from opening on 82nd Street.

The lawsuit filed by Queens Neighborhood United Sept. 30 in state supreme court looks to overturn a decision made by the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals in June that gave the developers the green-light to proceed with the project.

A two-story commercial building is currently going up on the 40-31 82 St. site that will contain a small-format Target when it is complete.

The lawsuit, which names Target, the BSA and developers Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group, is just the latest salvo in an ongoing dispute between activists, Target and the real estate companies.

The developers originally sought to build a 13-story, luxury residential building with a shopping mall on the lower floors, but withdrew their plans after fierce opposition. Instead, the developers filed plans for the two-story building, to be called The Shoppes.

The development is currently going up on a site zoned R6/C1-3, which permits retail stores that “serve local consumer needs” and prohibits them from exceeding 10,000 square feet in size. The planned Target will occupy more than 23,000 square feet, although more than half the store will be in an underground cellar.

Opponents argue that the store is too big and fails to meet the definition of a local need. They argue that it exceeds the 10,000 square feet and is a “regional destination” that could potentially put mom and pop stores out of business.

The BSA rejected that argument, however, in its decision June 4. The BSA cited a New York Supreme Court ruling where cellar space was deemed not to count toward the total floor area of a building/store. Therefore, Target was in compliance.

But opponents disagreed with the decision, prompting them to file a lawsuit.

“We’re asking the high court to step in and enforce the law before it’s too late,” said Paula Segal, an attorney with TakeRoot Justice who represents QNU in a statement. QNU is joined in the lawsuit by Council Member Francisco Moya and State Sen. Jessica Ramos, among others.

Moya, in a statement today, also challenged the decision.

“When a zoning regulation clearly states that stores are ‘limited to 10,000 square feet of floor area per establishment,’ that’s exactly what it means,” Moya said. “It does not mean a store can completely disregard that limit if it hides part of the establishment in the cellar. This store does not conform to the spirit of this regulation and I remain opposed to letting it flout the zoning rules.”

The activists also argue that a Target store will put pressure on neighborhood infrastructure.

“I am worried that the store will bring lots more people into our already crowded neighborhood,” said Tania Mattos Jose, a resident and QNU leader in a statement today. “It is going to make it harder to park, to walk on the street and to take the train here.”

However, Target has no plans to go elsewhere.

“We continue to be excited about the opportunity to better serve our Queens guests with a new small-format store later this year,” a Target spokesperson said in a statement when asked about the lawsuit.

The developers and the BSA could not be reached for comment.

 

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14 Comments

ELMHURST

so they protest Target, but don’t protest the prostitution and drugs. they don’t protest the ppl drunk walking around and sleeping anywhere on the sidewalk they please. they don’t protest that…but Target, oh my!
maybe start protesting the crime and the detestable condition the neighborhood has been in. how about they go to the 110 community meetings and demand safety and security for the children and old people. do they not see the guys standing on the corner of 82nd & roosevelt? the pimps, social security counterfeiters?
hmmm, but Target, oh my!

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Juan garrido

If Astoria is getting one. Jackson heights u can have one to. We aren’t the only one that should get nailed with blockbusting.

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Uncle Joe

So this building is already under construction, and I suppose Moya and Ramos would rather it sit empty—not generating any property or sales tax dollars, nor any jobs—for their constituents in this neighborhood?

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Queen’s resident

We are sick and tired of QNU. They do do represent the views of the neighborhood and I think much less of Mota for jumping on their band wagon. This is the guy who originally supported the apartments that were going to be build there so he clearly has no integrity and is running scared of QNU. We should have a neighborhood petition to support Target so that the majority voices do not get lost in all the shouting.

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Lucy Montemarano

That area of Jackson Heights needed a facelift. It was always scary to walk on that block. Im looking forward to Target being there

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Henry

I would love to shop at the ‘Mom and Pop’ stores in JH. However, I’m tired of having my shopping opportunities limited to factory stores on 82nd Street. I am also tired of the impassable sidewalks on the east side of 82nd Street after exiting the subway station. These stores are not even owned by members of JH! The clothes on the rack look like total junk and are priced to be eco unfriendly throw away clothes. Then you go to the south side of Roosevelt Ave on 82nd Street and you have drug stores (probably ‘drug’ in more than one sense) and green grocers selling nearly spoiled fruits and vegetables. Also, shop on Roosevelt Ave-pick your store-and if you are not a fluent Spanish speaker you cannot get any sales staff to wait on you. The neighborhood deserves better than this. While Target is not on the top of the pile for great places to shop it is certainly a move in the right direction to make JH a livable community.

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jose sanchez

let me express a little bit of what i have been seeing in jackson heights for the past 40 years this aera has been neglected by all this so call politician they come tell the people what they going to do for the neighborhood and so far nothing has been done now for the first time queens is changing and they are protesting mom and pop store still the same they should put some money and fix the stores inside and out they look like rat hole going inside to buy anything and the smell is horrible let try to make jackson heights look better not like 40 years ago let this so call politician to bring some money to the neighborhood like the one from astoria.

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Gary

The city wants to put all the Mom and Pops out of business it seems there’s too much development in the Boros already thank Diblasio

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Latinos for Trump

This is funny: “I am worried that the store will bring lots more people into our already crowded neighborhood,” said Tania Mattos Jose, a resident and QNU leader in a statement today.
Well…If you get rid of the illegals and repeal the so called Sanctuary City laws, that neighborhood would not be crowded.

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Curious

Curious. I wonder how many people in this neighborhood actually want a Target versus those who don’t. Would love to see an actual vote. I’m not sure if it’s actually a harbinger of gentrification as most would think it is. Elmhurst and East NY (they had a target prior to big developers I believe) don’t seem to be gentrifying at a quick pace. If anything, it might bring additional safety to Roosevelt Avenue that it needs?

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Question

Do these people have jobs/a life? LEAVE THE TARGET ALONE. Literally the entire community, minus these 12 or so losers want this Target.
WE NEED THIS TARGET.
Roosevelt Avenue NEEDS THIS TARGET.

QNU, if you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Otherwise…STOP. We are sick of you.
Sincerely,
ALL OF JACKSON HEIGHTS

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