By LOUIS FLORES
A vacant, attached house at 37-23 72nd Street, between 37th Avenue and Broadway, in Jackson Heights, is slated to become an 11-story hotel, according to online city building records.
Word of the proposed project has been circulating amongst Jackson Heights residents. As reported by Progress Queens, a query was transmitted by Progress Queens on September 13, 2015, to the Land Use Committee members of Queens Community Board 3 in an effort to ascertain information and to communicate community concerns about gentrification. However, no response has been received in response to the query. An attempt made by Progress Queens on Thursday to follow-up on the query also generated no response.
According to online city building records, the New York City Department of Buildings granted an application for the new build of an 11-story hotel on June 15, 2015, which would call for the full demolition of the half of the attached house, which is situated at 37-23 72nd Street. The lot measures approximately 28 feet by 150 feet. A zoning diagram filed with the Department of Buildings shows that the hotel will be a very narrow building.
The neighborhood surrounding the proposed project lot is designated C4-3, which is a non-contexual zone, meaning, construction can be for either commercial or residential purposes.
That Land Use Committee members of Queens Community Board 3 remain mum about the project make it difficult to confirm whether this project includes an application for a zoning change, or whether the developer can build all 11 stories as of right.
Borough President Melinda Katz (D-Queens) has been advocating for the development of greater tourism to Queens, similar to efforts by Borough President Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn). However, tenant and community activists have questioned the wisdom in creating tourism centers in residential areas outside of Manhattan, when the tourism will only create or add to pressures of gentrification.
Due to perceptions that Borough President Adams is rubber stamping runaway real estate development in Brooklyn, he has faced stinging criticisms from activists, so much so that Borough President Adams' office has reportedly begun to retaliate against some of the activists in an effort to do some political damage control.
Before she became the chief municipal official in Queens, Borough President Katz was a real estate lobbyist.