The pasty building at 718-724 S. 2nd St. has looked awful for many years. Most recently, Queen Village neighbors hired a lawyer to make sure a new developer who started work on the building this fall without community involvement was doing it safely.
For at least the past eight years, neighbors have been staring at a blighted construction site in the middle of a well developed residential strip of Queen Village. We first wondered about the site that includes a section fronting Monroe Street three years ago. Then it was owned Queens Mews South LP, a Brooklyn company that after a long, lengthy complicated community process went belly up, according to Mike Hauptman, Queen Village Neighbors Association zoning chair.
“We could sort of tell it wasn't a great project,” said Hauptman, an architect, about those plans. It involved stringing numerous addresses into one parcel. The building looks like single-family homes, but is really one apartment building with a single entrance. One aspect that concerned neighbors then was that the redevelop, developers planned to go deeper underground than the neighboring homes where they would build extra support, a delicate process known as underpinning. So when the developer went bankrupt and the property sat like a worn tooth, neighbors weren't thrilled for a number of reasons.
In February 2013 the property changed hands when The Quarters at Queen Village acquired it for $1.075M. The property sat until this fall, when work began again. According to Hauptman, neighbors wanted it demolished and something new built in its place. They hired a lawyer to compel the developers get a structural engineering report to see if it was sound. A report was produced, indicating it was. What's interesting here is, because of the new zoning code, the developer can actually build a project by right that is "worse" than the project that was initially proposed. It can be higher, among other issues, according to Hauptman.
There was a collapse of some nature, a few months ago, a worker was injured, and L&I issued a stop work order on September 15th. Earlier this year, in June, a previous stop work order had been revoked. Though there have been some fits and starts, it seems our hilarious April Fools' prediction that this stalled project was soon to resume was actually kind of on point. Though before we see these pasty buildings covered up for good, it seems there are at least a few more issues to be resolved.