FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 19, 2018 • THE QUEENS COURIER 11
Jackson Hts. rezoning plan halted after pols voice opposition to developers
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Th e developers of the controversial
82nd Street rezoning made the decision
to shelve the proposal following consultations
with local elected offi cials.
Sun Equity Partners and Heskel Group,
who proposed the rezoning of 40-31 82nd
St., the site of the former Jackson Heights
Cinema, said that they would no longer
go through with the proposal.
“Aft er conversations with Council
member Francisco Moya and Assembly
member Ari Espinal, and taking the
borough president’s recommendations
into consideration, we have decided to
no longer pursue this rezoning application.
We are continuing with construction
as permitted under the current zoning,”
said Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesman
for the developers of the project, known
as the Shoppes at 82nd Street.
Back in March, Th e Courier reported
that the developers proposed the rezoning
of the property to Community Board 4.
In the proposal, the developers wanted
to rezone the R6 zone into an R7X zone,
both of which have a commercial overlay,
but with the latter allowing the building
to be built higher. Th ey also requested
that the site be designated as a Mandatory
Inclusionary Housing (MIH) area, which
requires a portion of new housing to be
permanently aff ordable.
If the proposal was approved, Th e
Shoppes at 82nd Street would consist of a
13-story, 120-unit building, 30 percent of
which would be aff ordable housing. Th e
ground fl oor of the building would house
a Target and other commercial space.
Councilman Francisco Moya, who
along with Queens Borough President
Melinda Katz was for the proposed rezoning,
withdrew his support, according to
a statement from Assemblywoman Ari
Espinal on July 14. In it, Espinal thanked
Moya for his change of heart.
“I want to thank Council member Moya
for hearing our community concerns and
withdrawing his support for a project
that was fl awed from its inception under
the previous Council member. Th is was
never the right proposal for our neighborhood,
and we need to keep the pressure
on to stop the retail development that
will increase traffi c and congestion in our
community,” said the assemblywoman.
Moya told Politico that his reasons
for withdrawing support came from the
desire to give his constituents as much
aff ordable housing as possible. He proposed
that the developers submit an
application to the city that would codify
42 below-market units in the building,
but they declined.
“Th is is a project that I inherited from
my predecessor in the Council. It was a
terrible project to begin with. I tried to
manage it the best that we could, given
the circumstances,” said Moya, who referenced
former Councilwoman Julissa
Before Moya rescinded support, Espinal
sent a letter to the councilman in May
asking him to change his mind about the
82nd Street rezoning. Other critics of the
rezoning, including Assembly Candidate
Catalina Cruz, also called on the assemblyman
to block the development from
Last week, Cruz cited the dangers of the
rezoning for the neighborhood, following
the City Planning Commission vote to
move forward with the project.
“Th e safety of our community is paramount,”
Cruz said in a statement. “I
am immensely disappointed in the City
Planning Commission’s vote to allow this
proposal to move forward despite the
groundswell of opposition by the community
board, local residents, small business
owners and medical professionals.
Th e EMT union, which represents the
ambulance drivers working at Elmhurst
Hospital, has publicly stated that this
development will be an obstruction to
their ability to save lives.”
Th ough Sun Equity Partners and Heskel
Group will no longer be building the residential
tower, they said that they will
move forward with the commercial component
and Target development “as of
right.” Espinal called on the developers to
rethink their decision altogether.
“Th e fact that something is ‘as-of-right’
doesn’t make it morally right,” Espinal
Rendering courtesy of Inline Realty Inc.
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