The first step in an attempt to convert a rent-stabilized building, formerly known as the Academy Gardens Apartments, to a luxury, 68-unit condominium began last week at the Village of Great Neck Board of Zoning and Appeals meeting.
Paul Bloom, attorney for David Adelipour, presents proposed plans for conversion of a rent stabilized building on Middle Neck Road to luxury condos. Photo by Carol Frank
An owner of the building, David Adelipour of Kings Point Gates, LLC, was represented by attorney Paul Bloom.
The applicants are seeking a variance from the height requirement of the village, which limits a building to 31 vertical feet. The proposed 68,000 square foot, three-story building, as designed by the Newman Group, would exceed the height limit by 9 feet 4 inches in order to accommodate a mechanical structure on top and to allow for parapets to add visual interest to the flat roof according to Mr. Bloom.
Due to the fact that the evening's agenda was full of continuing hearings and this application was a new one, board chairman Dennis Grossman limited the discussions and questions from board members and noted that the hearing on the matter would continue at the next BZA meeting on March 6 at 7 p.m.
Although the evening's business ran late before the application was heard, many of the current tenants attended the meeting to watch the process unfold.
It is important to note that any move to convert a rent-stabilized building to a high-end building in Nassau County faces an uphill battle.
Already, the record indicates that the Nassau County Planning Commission has passed a resolution against the proposal. The resolution states that the commission "discourages the elimination of affordable housing units without the replacement of the development with affordable housing options." They also noted that the application does not comply with the newly passed affordable housing law in the Village of Great Neck.
According to Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, any such proposal would be subject to the village law because it exceeds the 10,000 square foot size.
If the proposal is approved by all the village boards, BZA, Planning and Architectural Review that would have oversight, it would then go to the Division of Housing & Community Renewal in Nassau County for review. Administrator Christopher Ducie told the Record last fall, when plans for the conversion were revealed, that the applicant must show evidence that comparable housing is available in the proximate area along with the financial means to assure the moving costs, and any difference in the rent for the next six years for all displaced residents. The applicant would have to show that all families with school-age children would be relocated within the same school district.
If the Division of Housing denies the application, the owner may petition for an administrative review. If the agency approves the application, the tenants also have the right to petition for an administrative review. According to Mr. Ducie, this review process can take from one year to 18 months to complete.
Finally, if the applicant does not win the case, he could file an Article 78, which would go for a ruling in the New York Supreme Court.
After the meeting, Julia Shields, president of the tenants association commented, "Paul Bloom referred to our building as 'antiquated and tired.' Well, we're tired too. We're tired of being treated like we don't exist. The management company has not done anything since they bought it to make the building better. They have not even had the courtesy to inform us directly of what they plan for this building or for us. Yes, we are tired." Ms. Shields added that the 20 families remaining in the 40-unit building are determined to fight to stay in their homes and in the community where their jobs, schools and churches are located.