18-story Flushing hotel wants more flexibility
by Andrew Pavia
Apr 10, 2013 | 837 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joseph Sweeney, chair of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 7.
Joseph Sweeney, chair of the Land Use Committee of Community Board 7.
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Developer Richard Xia speaking to CB7 members.
Developer Richard Xia speaking to CB7 members.
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Community Board 7 voted Monday night to allow a new hotel at 42-31 Union Street to allow guests to stay less than 30 days.

Currently, the plan calls for 161 units that would be used for long-term stay. The hotel would not be able to accommodate guests who wish to stay at the location less than 30 days.

Along with the hotel, a nine-story medical facility will be part of the development. An underground parking garage will have roughly 300 spots after the board's Land Use Committee pushed for an additional 100 spots, the rationale being that local residents could also park there if necessary.

Land Use chair Joseph Sweeney said he was “shocked” when he first saw plans for the project, but noted that developer Richard Xia was proceeding “as of right,” meaning that the structure itself complied with all the zoning regulations.

As for the variance permitting short-term guests, Sweeney said he supported the plan because people staying for 30 days or more would be more likely to rent a car and increase traffic in the neighborhood.

Mitchell Ross, a lawyer representing Xia, also explained that the profit margins would be higher if they were able to accommodate short-term stays, however they are still minimal.

“None of the infrastructure will change,” he said.

One of the reasons for building a hotel rather than residential housing is the building's proximity to oncoming planes. The size of the building actually required approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

In order to allow individuals to stay at the hotel without being disturbed, the designer is springing for glass windows that are four inches thick and have a price tag of roughly $7,000 each.

At the meeting, some residents and board members complained about construction noise beginning at 7 a.m. on weekdays and occasionally at 9 a.m. on weekends.

Another complaint was that the project has received a number of citations, although Sweeney said that he personally ensured all but four have been rectified.

Xia said he hopes the hotel can be a benefit to everyone in the neighborhood. “I'm pretty sure that we can make the community part of this project,” he said.

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