Abandoned building continues to be a problem
by Jacob Henry
Jan 20, 2021 | 321 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The city deemed the building unsafe last week and put up new scaffolding. (Photo: Kenichi Wilson)
The city deemed the building unsafe last week and put up new scaffolding. (Photo: Kenichi Wilson)
On the corner of 79th Street and Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, an abandoned building is falling apart, creating not only an eyesore in the community, but a sense of uneasiness around the neighborhood.

It has been going this way for years, with a scaffolding issue taking place last week that is once again shedding light on this building’s notorious history with the area.

Martin Colberg, vice president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, said scaffolding was removed from the building this week due to “non-payment and non-compliance from the owner.”

“That was called into the Department of Buildings,” Colberg said. “They came and revisited the building and deemed it unsafe again. So they put their own scaffolding back up.”

He said that this has been just one of many ongoing issues with the building, where scaffolding has been in place for nearly eight years.

“There has been dumping issues, graffiti, the lighting on the scaffolding is never on,” Colberg said. “Having an abandoned building in the community is not something that anybody wants.”

He added that the building is bringing with it a whole mess of unsavory characters that is putting residents who live on the block on high alert.

“They talk about drug dealing that goes on there because it’s so dark,” Colberg said. “Some of the older residents say that once the sun goes down, they’re concerned about walking through there.”

The building was nearly demolished a few years ago, but Colberg said that with the elevated train being above the building, the structure remained in place.

“The MTA was not prepared to do that at that time,” he said.

Colberg said the owner has been non-responsive on maintaining the building. Colberg said he is reaching out to local lawmakers to see if someone can intervene.

“They need to do something with that property,” Colberg said. “Just having scaffolding up 24/7 is not an answer.”

Councilman Robert Holden said on Twitter that he reached out to DOB and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), resulting in the agencies to initiate “an emergency declaration that would require removal of hazards.”

“The owner of this property for more than eight years has been negligent and the city needs to continue to step in,” Holden said. “HPD should be shoring up the building soon and the city will have to continue putting pressure on the owner to finally be a good neighbor. This has gone on far too long.”

The building is now under the Sheriff Department’s jurisdiction and will go up for auction in February.

Colberg said that he hopes this will lead to someone purchasing the space who can turn it into a benefit to the community.

“What we don’t want is just another owner who’s going to sit on an abandoned property until they feel they want to take their next actions,” Colberg said. “It’s been long enough with us dealing with it.”
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