Oct. 22, 2019 By Christian Murray
A development team has filed plans to rezone a strip of 52nd Street in Woodside by the 52nd Street 7-train station.
The applicants, Steven and Roy Pomeranz, are looking to rezone a number of parcels on 52nd Street—between Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue—in order to move forward with plans to build an 8-story, 61-unit apartment complex.
The official public review process—known as ULURP—started Oct. 15 with the plans being certified by the Department of City Planning. Community Board 2 will have 60 days to weigh in on the rezoning application as it makes its way to the City Council for a vote over the next seven months.
The Pomeranz family, who are behind the application, have owned the development sites (43-13 to 43-21 52nd St.) for nearly 60 years, when they founded Baby King and operated a warehouse from 1962 to 1996 along the strip.
Their warehouse has been vacant for more than 20 years, since the family moved their Baby King facilities out of Woodside to Jamaica Queens.
“The area is appropriate for additional development,” said Richard Lobel, a landuse attorney with Sheldon Lobel, at a Community Board 2 Land Use committee meeting in September. “Replacing a warehouse with a productive residential building was something City Planning encouraged us to proceed with.”
The property, despite being a warehouse, is zoned for low density residential use—a R5B.
The family need the property rezoned in order to build their 60-plus units. Without a rezoning, they would be limited to no more than 18 units—likely consisting of six, three-story town houses.
The application, which is to upzone the parcels to R7A with a C2/3 commercial overlay, would also allow them to build about 5,500 square feet of ground floor retail space.
The pair, however, would be required to include about 18-20 units of affordable housing in according to the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirements.
The Pomeranz sites are located on the east side of 52nd Street between Roosevelt Avenue and Queens Boulevard.
City Planning wants the east side of 52nd—all the way from Roosevelt Avenue through Queens Boulevard to be upzoned from R5B to R7A—to ensure zoning uniformity. The corner sites on Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt have already been zoned for high-density residential development.
The Pomeranz application includes sites, as per City Planning’s request, beyond its boundaries. The sites that would be upzoned from R5B to R7A are home to El Renuevo Church at 43-25 52nd St., Alpha auto shop at 43-27, and a three-story apartment building at 43-09.
According to the application, these non Pomeranz sites could potentially yield an additional 76 apartments. Therefore, the rezoning could lead to the development of 136 units.
Many buildings have risen in the immediate area in recent times.
The sites are adjacent to a 9-story 66-unit building—called Icon52—on the north east corner of Queens Boulevard and 52nd Street that was completed in 2014. On the south west corner of 52nd and Roosevelt Avenue a seven-story mixed use building—consisting of 40 apartments, offices and stores—is currently being built.
At the corner of 51st and Roosevelt, a 17-story building is slated to go up.