Pols look to make available Coney building into community center

In the hopes of creating a community space in Coney Island, community members and local electeds are urging the city to act on a Surf Avenue building currently up for auction.

The building, located at 3312 Surf Avenue, was formerly occupied by Federal Employment and Guidance Service (FEGS)  – a non-profit, social service organization that filed for bankruptcy last year after complications on the administrative and financial fronts.

Once the agency’s filing was made public, Councilmember Mark Treyger jumped at the chance to notify the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the mayor’s office that the property was available.

“I notified the New York City Economic Development Corporation months ago about [FEGS’] bankruptcy,” said Treyger. “I am of the opinion, and quite frankly, many of my constituents feel the same way, that not everything should be condos. This is a site that served a very important community purpose and it should remain a community site. I’ve asked the mayor and I’ve asked the NYCEDC to put in a bid. Let’s make sure that this site meets the needs of the community.”

Treyger, alongside Assemblymember Pamela Harris, held a press conference with community leaders and local stakeholders on Saturday, April 30 to demand that the city purchase the Coney building – set to go up for auction on Thursday, May 5 – and repurpose it as multi-use community center.

“Today, there are a lot of needs with regard to education programs and senior programs,” said Treyger. “We’re still down centers from [Superstorm] Sandy and even though FEMA has made some public pledges [regarding new spaces], that’s still going to take some time for everything to take shape. So, this is one thing that, right now, that can be and should be done. I’m strongly urging the mayor and NYCEDC in ensuring that this remains a community space.”

The former FEGS building – used primarily for programs dealing with adult developmental and/or psychiatric disabilities such as vocational rehabilitation, assessment and evaluation, job development and placement, individual supported employment and transitional employment – is on a 49,283-square-foot lot in a medium-density R5 zoning district.

Located in a primarily residential district, the site could house three to four-story buildings and small apartment houses. With a height limit of 40 feet, R5 districts provide a transition between lower and higher density neighborhoods, according to NYC Department of City Planning, which says there are many such zoning districts in Brooklyn.

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