Sept. 19, 2018 By Tara Law
The controversial 82nd St. development, which will include a small-scale Target, will now move forward as the Department of Buildings has revoked a Stop Work Order on the property that had been issued last month.
The Department of Buildings lifted the order after the developers, Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group, revised their design for the controversial building located at 40-31 82nd St. The department had implemented the order after finding that the previous design did not comply with zoning code.
Under the new plans, the building would feature five ground-level retail spaces and a second-floor healthcare facility. Target, which has signed a lease with the developer, will occupy one of the retail spaces and the cellar, according to a spokesperson for the company.
The Stop Work Order had been issued in response to a challenge from anti-gentrification civic group Queens Neighborhoods United, which had argued that the project does not meet zoning requirements.
Queens Neighborhood United, along with a vocal segment of the Elmhurst community, has fought the 82nd Street project for over a year. Amidst intense local pressure, the developers rescinded a rezoning application this July, which would have enabled them to build a 13-story residential and commercial building on the property.
The developer then submitted plans for a 2-story building, which planned to place a single store— Target— on the first floor.
Queens Neighborhoods United submitted a challenge to the DOB on Aug. 29, arguing that the design does not conform to the zoning code. The code prohibits the construction of a single large store, according to the Department of Buildings.
After the DOB issued a Stop Work Order on Aug 28, the developer submitted new plans to the department.
The new design also calls for a 2-story building, but the structure would instead be divided into five storefronts which would each be 10,000 square feet or smaller. A healthcare facility would be located on the second floor.
A spokesperson for Target said that the company will split the Target into two levels— one in the cellar and one above ground— which has accommodated the zoning rule in other parts of the city.
The DOB found that the new design complies with the zoning code and removed the Stop Work Order on Sept. 17.
Queens Neighborhoods United issued a statement on Facebook in response to the DOB’s decision. The group called for the department to conduct an audit of the site and share all documents with the public, and asked its members to contact the DOB and ask for answers about the decision.
The developers, Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group, and the realtor, Inline Realty, declined to comment for this story.