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WellLife Network brings affordable housing to Glendale

Housing for homeless, income-eligible folks

After years of planning, vying for community support, and construction, WellLife Network finally cut the ribbon on a brand new five-story affordable apartment complex in Glendale.

Dedicated to serving people across the five boroughs and Long Island with developmental disabilities or mental illnesses, WellLife Network plans to continue its mission to empower individuals to live dignified lives and achieve their goals with this new supportive mixed use apartment building.

The building, located at 80-97 Cypress Avenue, has 66 units, which are a combination of studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom apartments.

Forty of these units are reserved for the homeless, while the remaining 26 units are for individuals in the community who meet low-income eligibility criteria, or 60 percent of the area median income.

Sherry Tucker, CEO of WellLife Network, is saddened by the fact that over 25,000 applications were submitted for the 26 community units, revealing how much demand there is for affordable housing in New York.

The previous property at the site of 80-97 Cypress Avenue was a community eyesore for years.

“At WellLife, we work very hard to be good neighbors, wherever we go, and we are always interested in trying to improve the areas in any way we can,” she said. “We’d love to be an asset to the neighborhood and really try to help in any way we can to make it be the very best it can be, and we always want to be a part of the community in any way possible.”

On June 9, WellLife Network commemorated the official grand opening of the building with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Local officials attended the event to compliment the project, including Ingrid Lewis-Martin, chief adviser to Mayor Eric Adams; Ahmed Tigani, deputy commissioner of NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development; and New York City Councilman Robert Holden.

“WellLife, in partnership with the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development has created a model mixed-housing development for some of our most vulnerable residents in need of supportive services, as well as for New Yorkers who just need good and decent affordable housing,” Lewis-Martin said. “We strongly encourage other developers to ‘honor the call’ to create affordable housing with amenities in communities that systematically have been on the fringes. Kudos to WellLife and HPD for a job well done.”

Tucker said that WellLife’s proposal to open this apartment complex was approved unanimously by Community Board 5.

Walter Sanchez, chairman of CB5’s Land Use Committee, said that the board’s decision to approve was the right thing for the neighborhood.

“We know that every area has to do their part in supportive housing, and we think this fits in very well with us, so our board voted overwhelmingly to approve the project,” he said.
WellLife also held public forums to hear the community’s concerns—many of which they took into consideration when tweaking the specs of the project, such as potential traffic congestion and excessive height.

However, some neighbors on Cypress Avenue are skeptical of what changes the new apartment complex might bring to the community, especially with widespread concerns about the nearby men’s homeless shelter on Cooper Avenue, Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center.

“We’re not happy about this; it’s going to be a mess,” one neighbor, who requested to remain anonymous, said. “That’s why my landlord is selling this house and we’re leaving.”

Another neighbor, Yaffa Tamano, said that she’s also not in favor of the project because it’s out of character for the rest of the block, and might bring unwanted change to the neighborhood.

Councilman Robert Holden, who has openly criticized the Cooper homeless shelter in the past, emphasized that WellLife’s new affordable housing project is in no way comparable to it.

“This is actually a home for people; they’re going to stay there. This is not something like a shelter where they’re transient and they come and they have problems,” Holden said.
“This place actually supports and treats them … Some have mental health issues, some are just falling on hard times, and some are coming from shelters, but they will get their own apartment, which is great.”

Tucker said that the building has various amenities and services that will significantly improve the quality of life for residents, such as 24/7 front desk coverage, on-site support services, a laundry room, gym, and a deck that offers a perfect view of the city skyline.

She noted that the site just passed a final routine HPD inspection, and families could start moving in as early as this week.

“The Cypress Avenue residence helps WellLife achieve its ongoing vision to create income-eligible, supportive, and affordable mixed-use housing developments that offer a safe and nurturing environment where all tenants feel a sense of belonging to a larger community,” she said.

Editor’s Note: Walter Sanchez is the publisher of BQE Media. His recent remarks were made in his capacity as chairman of CB 5’s Land Use Committee.

614 Woodward Avenue repossessed by the city

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Correction*

New information regarding the story “614 Woodward Avenue repossessed by the city” learned by the Queens Ledger after press time, indicates that a tax lien sale certificate has been placed on the property which remains in the possession of Silvershore Properties. Tower Capital Management is handling the sale.

Ridgewood’s biggest eyesore is no longer owned by Silvershore Properties.

The property, left abandoned and unproductive for several years, has now been repossessed by the Bank of New York because of unpaid taxes, NYC Department of Finance records show.

After years of 311 reports, complaints to the Community Board, and efforts to clean up the site, the property was taken back by the city on Feb. 24.

The action was filed to the Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) on March 4.

Tyson Washburn, a resident of Ridgewood, suspects this was the plan all along.

He said that he knew the site would be an issue since the building, where there is now an empty lot, was illegally demolished about five years ago.

“They got a stop work order and a fine for that, and I sort of knew they were going to abandon it. The moment they stopped, they didn’t pay for their dumpster to be picked up, and so the guys who own the dumpster had to pick it up and pay the cost,” Washburn said.

“And it’s just kind of getting worse and worse. I’ve reported multiple times about the sidewalk being in terrible disarray and the scaffolding that has been up for more than two years. At one point, there was water constantly leaking from it.”

At least a dozen 311 service requests have been made regarding dirty conditions, graffiti, rodents, and illegal dumping at 614 Woodward Avenue in the span of the past month.

From February until now, eight summonses have been issued to Silvershore Properties by the Department of Sanitation, as a result of people illegally dumping their garbage there.

Washburn suspects that since the building was torn down illegally, the city may have to demolish the remaining property.

“It’s definitely unsafe,” he said. “If you look at that building, you can see it is crumbling. I’m not sure what they can do with it.”

Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said that the board has requested that the Department of Buildings reinspect the site.

“I don’t know what the Buildings Department is going to be able to do as far as gaining safe entry goes,” Giordano said. “So if they could see the property from the roof of someone nearby, they would get a much better idea about the condition of the property. Often, if the roof is a problem, the inside is going to be a real problem.”

He added that it’s hard to say if the site will be demolished, and that the “best situation” would be to have extensive work done on the property as opposed to demolition.

Giordano suggested that if there’s no demand to operate a business at the site, and the building can be salvaged and renovated, that people could eventually live there.

“There is a shortage of housing, and I haven’t seen anybody doing anything there that has been of any use for at least seven years. I think it would be a good site to have some apartments on the first floor,” he said.

“But you would have to go to the Department of Buildings to get that done. It would be hard to have something there for public use, in any period of time, where the property doesn’t sit there for a while.”

A representative from Silvershore Properties could not be reached for comment.

Juniper track construction sees further delays

By Jessica Meditz

[email protected]

Renovations to Juniper Valley Park’s track and field were put on the back burner when a large concrete clog in its main drainage line was discovered.

The project cannot resume until the concrete clog, as well as additional damage to a smaller section of pipe, is repaired.

Supply chain issues and a lack of registration with the comptroller’s office has shut out park goers from the facility for well over a year.

Gary Giordano, district manager of Queens Community Board 5, said that the change order was registered with the comptroller’s office in mid February, which was primarily for the subcontractor hired by the contractor, Applied Landscape Technologies, to remove drainage pipe from the site and replace it.

The contractor is supposedly working on getting permits from the Department of Buildings and the Department of Environmental Protection.

Giordano said they will need a temporary sheeting permit from the Department of Buildings, because the main sewer connection is 26 feet underground.

“That way, after the area around the pipe is excavated, the metal sheeting will prevent the rest of the Earth from covering the pipe again so there is room to work on it,” Giordano said.

Giordano said that it’s “hopeful” the contractor will start work in late March or early April.

“I am told that Applied Landscape Technologies is really on the ball with this, so if they can get their permits and start working, I would hope that they could start working by late this month or early April,” he said.

Giordano said that the long term closure of the track and field affects not just Middle Village, but its surrounding communities whose residents also use the facility.

“Soccer is more and more popular, and children and teenagers need to be able to run around and get some exercise. So now, the prime place for playing soccer in our neighborhoods is not available,” Giordano said.

“It’s forcing the soccer teams that had permits there to try to get permits elsewhere, which costs a lot of money. Children have a hard time not being able to practice close to home,” he continued. “Local football and soccer organizations are closed out of there, not to mention all the people who simply love to walk or jog around the track.”

Giordano added that if Applied Landscape Technologies can get back to work as planned, there is hope that the project will be completed before the end of 2022.

CB5 to hold virtual meeting on Wednesday

Community Board 5 will hold a virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m.
On the agenda is a public hearing regarding a citywide health and fitness zoning text amendment. Currently gyms, martial arts studios, spas, licensed massage therapists and many other health-related businesses require a special permit from the Board of Standards and Appeals to open in most parts of New York City.
The Department of City Planning is proposing new rules to ease these restrictions. Under this proposed zoning text amendment, the special permit requirements would be removed. The BSA process for obtaining a permit can be extremely costly, often adding six months and as much as $50,000 in startup costs to open a gym or other physical culture establishment.
There will also be a public hearing regarding a citywide Open Restaurants zoning text amendment. The City Council has passed legislation making the Open Restaurants program permanent.
The Deptaartment of City Planning has worked with the Department of Transportation and other city agencies to draft regulatory changes that would allow sidewalk restaurants and cafes to remain.
There will also be a public forum to review applications for the sale of alcoholic beverages and building demolition notices, and committee reports, as well as nominations and elections for Executive Committee positions.
Members of the public can view the meeting at youtu.be/9UIGFJ2c4xg or nyc.gov/qnscb5.
Anyone wishing to offer a statement at the public hearing or during the public forum is asked to submit a typed statement to [email protected] by 2 p.m. on JUne 12, so that it can be read into the record.
For additional information, call the Board 5 office at (718) 366-1834.

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