CB7 gives Flushing Commons green light
by Holly Tsang
Apr 06, 2010 | 4671 views | 0 0 comments | 81 81 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It might not be long before Municipal Lot 1 in downtown Flushing becomes one of the neighborhoods largest developments. On Monday, Community Board 7 almost unanimously voted to allow the Flushing Commons project to move forward, but not without a long list of stipulations.

Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian, who also chairs the board's Land Use Committee and the special committee reviewing the development project, said the board wanted assurance that DOT’s modified traffic plan wouldn’t exacerbate the already congested traffic situation in downtown Flushing.

“If it doesn’t work today, it’s not gonna work when we build this thing,” he said.

The $800 million development project includes 1,600 public parking spaces, 620 condominiums, 142 units of affordable housing, 1.5 acres of green space for public use, and a 62,000-square-foot YMCA facility.

The general sentiment is that Flushing could use the development dollars, but there are a host of concerns, including other parking issues. The board wants parking rates to be capped, and there is concern that the current plans do not include parking for tenants of the affordable housing component of the project.

CB7 called for the project developers to make direct reinvestment in downtown Flushing’s programs and infrastructure.

“We want the purchase price for this project to be reinvested into those programs so we don’t have to keep chasing after the budget year after year after year,” said Apelian.

Other stipulations request that the YMCA, which is getting a brand new building, provide some benefits to Flushing residents, and asked that CB7 be included on any land use discussions regarding the fate of the old YMCA building on Northern Boulevard, which the board would like the School Construction Authority to purchase for use as a much-needed school.

“It needs to be proper development,” said Apelian. “Proper development will be beneficial to everybody, not only in downtown Flushing but in all the surrounding communities.”

However, Paul Graziano of The Coalition to Reconsider and Evaluate Development Opportunities at Municipal Lot 1 in Downtown Flushing, which has been critical of the project, noted that the board's stipulations are not set in stone.

“The developer could choose to pull out of them at any point,” he said.

The Flushing Commons project now proceeds to Borough President Helen Marshall’s office. A public hearing is scheduled for April 20.

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