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Developer puts Sunset site of mega-project on the market

The developer has bowed out of a mega-project proposed for Eighth Avenue and 62nd Street in Sunset Park.

The Commercial Observer reported on Weds., Feb. 20 that Flushing-based 62-08 Realty LLC had put the property on the market, listing it with Cushman & Wakefield for $150 million after unsuccessfully trying to push forward with a development that would have transformed the border of Sunset Park and Dyker Heights.

According to the Observer, the move comes after developers stumbled for the second time as they attempted to shepherd the project through the city-mandated ULURP review process.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, said the board had not expected the developer to market the site. “We’re very surprised,” she told this paper. “There was no indication it was going to go up for sale.”

Board members, she said, had passed a long and carefully worded resolution expressing its concerns about the development, because of its size and scope, and its impact on local infrastructure, already burdened with a burgeoning population in the area.

The Census tract in which the site is located experienced a 12 percent increase in population between 2000 and 2010, as well as gaining 98 new residential units, “a very high concentration within the study area,” according to an extensive review of the broader area in terms of demographics, economic growth and the built environment written by Michael Devigne, then a community planning fellow for CB 10, in preparation for the board’s consideration of the impending project.

In its most recent incarnation, architect Raymond Chan had designed a project that incorporated a two-story retail complex, intended to function as the base for a total 12-story residential tower with 250 apartments fronting on Seventh Avenue, a 12-story commercial tower fronting on Eighth Avenue and an 11-story hotel tower planned for mid-block.

With a garage that was supposed to contain over 1,800 parking spots, the complex also had been planned to include, among other things, doctor’s offices, a 498-seat pre-K, a private day care facility and a “bookless” digital library, as well as a rooftop garden and terrace, and a 10,000-square-foot sculpture garden.

The site had previously been rezoned to enable the construction of a mixed-use project by developer Andrew Kohen. That project, which was proposed back in 2007, had incorporated a Home Depot big box store within an 11-story mixed-use building that also included doctor’s offices, apartments and just over 900 parking spots.

Because the land was at that time zoned for manufacturing, the developer had to go through an extended process to allow his planned mixed commercial/residential structure to be built there. However, before it could be built, there was the economic downturn and the project was abandoned.

More recently, there had also been concern over dueling mega-developments, as the MTA had announced that it was looking for a developer for a mixed use residential-commercial development to be built in the air rights over the Long Island Railroad train tracks (currently used for freight trains by the New York and Atlantic Railway) between Eighth Avenue and Fort Hamilton Parkway, on the border of Dyker, Sunset Park and Boro Park. That project, based on the MTA’s specifications, could potentially result in 12-story buildings being constructed on a platform over the right of way for a length of two avenue blocks.

With the potential cumulative effects of both projects in mind, as well as the general dimensions of the proposal for 6208 Eighth Avenue, CB 10 panned the project back in September, 2018 due to “the overwhelming size, scope and impact it will have on the community,” which, the board stressed, is comprised of “small residential homes and communities, with small commercial areas, and manufacturing facilities.”

In addition, the board, at that time, had expressed concern about the proposal’s “negative visual effect” and the strain that would be put on public transportation in the area.

The news of the developer’s move hasn’t eased that concern.

“I think certainly the board will be following the sale closely and will await the submission of new plans,” Beckmann said.

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