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Tower Diner and Synagogue in Danger of Being Demolished, Developer Files Rezoning Application for 16-Story Building

The proposed development would involve demolishing a block of buildings including the Tower Diner and Ohr Natan Synagogue (Google)

Aug. 25, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A development company has filed a land use application to construct a 16-story mixed-use building on a large triangular lot in Rego Park that includes a synagogue and the Tower Diner.

RJ Capital Holdings, under the name Trylon LLC, filed the application in June for the triangular plot at 98-81 Queens Blvd., where Ohr Natan Synagogue and several businesses sit.

The proposed development would feature 170 apartments and 118,000 square feet of commercial space. Fifty-one of the apartment units would be “affordable” pursuant to the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirement.

The developer is waiting on the Dept. of City Planning to certify the project in order for the public review process to take place.

A number of buildings will need to be demolished to make way for the new structure–including the Ohr Natan Synagogue, a place of worship for many members of Bukharian community. The Tower Diner and the Spin City Cycle bike store are among the businesses that occupy space that will be bulldozed.

The triangular plot of land RJ Capital Holdings hopes to develop (Google Maps)

The synagogue occupies the building that once was the historic Art Deco-styled Trylon Theater, which opened in 1939 and closed in 1999. It serves a congregation of roughly 1,000 members, mostly residents of Rego Park and Forest Hills.

The leaders of the synagogue and the development company have been at odds with each other for years.

The dispute began in 2013 when RJ Capital Holdings originally considered developing the lot after purchasing the property at the end of 2012 for $9 million.

The developer Rudolf Abramov, of RJ Capital Holdings, and Rabbi Nahum Kaziev, of Ohr Natan Synagogue, traded harsh words in court and in news reports over the building plans and rent payments.

Trylon Rendering or the proposed development

However, Abramov said he and Kaziev have put the past behind them and are in communications about finding a home for the synagogue in the new building.

“We worked everything out and we are on the same page,” Abramov said. “I did speak to the rabbi because I want him to come back so we’re communicating right now and we’re figuring out how much space he needs and how to work it out logistically.”

The Queens Post was unable to get comment from Kaziev or representatives from the synagogue.

Abramov said he will be reaching out to the other commercial tenants in the triangular property to see which businesses would like to move into the new building.

He said the development is in the very early stages, but he hopes to break ground in mid-2022.

The construction timeline is dependent on when the public review process (ULURP) can begin and how the process unfolds.

The ULURP process typically takes seven months after the plans are certified by City Planning. The plans–as required by ULURP– will need to be reviewed by Community Board 6 and the Queens Borough President, and then be approved by the City Planning Commission and City Council.

The general manager of Tower Diner, who goes by the name Bill K, said he wasn’t aware of RJ Capital Holding’s application.

The manager said that there’s been rumors for years that the developer would knock down the buildings. He said that he had not heard about the recent rezoning application.

Ohr Natan Synagogue, at 98-81 Queens Blvd. (Google Maps)

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Marc Dickerman

I so remember the Trylon movie theater, especially the matron who kept us under control and mad us sit on the left side in the first 10 rows. She even wore a uniform and of course a flashlight

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