After Denial, What Will Happen to Former Scandinavian Shipping Co. Property?

In Queen Village, the construction of nine new homes at 112-20 Christian St. is on hold after a denial from the ZBA regarding a project that was supported by members of the Queen Village Neighbors Association, Planning Commission, and Councilman Mark Squilla's office, according to Mike Hauptman, QVNA zoning chair.

The building

Back in the fall, QVNA asked developers for this project, which would raze the former Scandinavian Shipping Supply Co. warehouse and erect nine single-family homes in two rows along Christian Street, to reappear at a later date with plans for shorter homes. Since then, according to Hauptman, developers met with neighbors and hammered out various height kinks, except for a few neighbors who still were unsatisfied with the project. Nevertheless, the ZBA didn't provide the height variance. So developers went back to the design board, tweaked and refined the plans to the point where only one variance was required, though it was still the height variance.

“This has been a very interesting case,” said Hauptman. “[…] They did a bunch of little things that hadn't been part of the original submission,” he added, referring to developers' tweaks. 

According to Hauptman, the site, which sold in December 2012 for $1.6M. and thus the plans, designed by Harman Deutsch, are subject to a sloping street. That means, because of the slope of the street, the homes fronting Christian are 41' high, while the homes in the rear that backup to Shot Tower playground are below 38' feet. According to Hauptman, developers can build a 41' 29-unit apartment building on the site by right, as it currently zoned for mixed-use residential. “They certainly didn't threaten this as a way of leveraging,” Hauptman said.

But, after a good deal of work with developers, an apartment-building here is certainly out of the vision QVNA have for the area. “The building they can put there [by right] is not something we want.” So stay tuned, as neighbors attempt to maneuver here through bureaucratic tape.