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Dilapidated Restaurant Site on Northern Boulevard Likely to Become Auto Showroom

A rezoning application has been filed with the Dept. of City Planning that would permit the construction of an auto showroom at 58-02 Northern Blvd. if approved. The site was once the home of an Italian restaurant but has been vacant for about a decade. (Photo: GMaps)

Sept. 1, 2022 By Christian Murray

The owners of a Woodside property on Northern Boulevard have filed an application with the Dept. of City Planning to rezone the site in order to build a two-story auto showroom.

The application, which was certified by the Dept. of City Planning in June, calls to rezone 58-02 Northern Blvd., thereby permitting the construction of a 2-story Lincoln showroom.

The proposed 2-story building would be 8,349-square-feet, with the main showroom on the first floor and accessory office space on the second floor. Vehicles would be stored in the cellar, accessed via a car elevator. The showroom would not contain any repair services, or delivery staging areas.

The site is currently zoned for low-density housing (R5), and the applicants listed as 58-02 Northern Blvd. LLC are calling for the site to be rezoned R6B/C2-2 district. The change would permit medium-density residential housing as well as commercial uses.

The applicants, whose corporate address is the same as a Lincoln dealership in Jamaica, bought the Northern Boulevard property in May 2020 for $1,990,000, according to city records. They plan to open the Woodside showroom in 2024 if their rezoning application is successful.

Rendering of the Lincoln showroom planned for Northern Boulevard that was presented to Community Board 2

A one-story restaurant building is currently located on the site– although the building has been vacant for about a decade. A new restaurant would not be permitted to take over the space since it would now be deemed a non-conforming zoning use.

The rezoning application, however, if approved would permit the owner of the site—if desired– to construct a residential building as large as 5 stories, which would consist of about 10 dwelling units.

Since a rezoning is involved and residential apartments would be built, the developer would be required to set aside affordable housing since the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing provision would kick in. As many as three affordable units would be required.

The applicants argue that if the property is not rezoned it will remain unchanged. They say that there is little demand for low-density housing on such a busy roadway. They also note that Northern Boulevard is home to many auto dealerships—and should a developer one day seek to construct a residential building, a 5-story building would not be out of character.

The public will get to weigh in on the application on Sept. 8 when Community Board 2 holds a hearing during its monthly meeting that starts at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom. The full board will get to vote on the project, providing an advisory opinion. The application will then be reviewed by the borough president, before going on to the City Planning Commission and the City Council.

The applicants have already gone before Community Board 2’s Land Use and Housing Committee and have received feedback. They already made modifications based on the committee’s advice, such as pledging to add rooftop solar panels, EV charging stations and street trees.

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