“To make a long story short, we’re developing the property,” said Curtin on Monday. “We’re not trying to flip it. If I was trying to sell, I would have sold years ago.”
Local residents have been concerned since the site was listed for sale for $33 million in an e-mail blast sent out February 6th from Greiner Maltz Investment Properties, which handles other properties for developer Slate Property Group.
The site had been the subject of protracted negotiations with community boards and local elected officials, including Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Antonio Reynoso, about affordable housing during its rezoning from manufacturing to residential.
Slate’s proposal calls for a mixed-use building with 88 residential units and one to two floors of retail space.
The City Council granted Slate a rezoning for the property in August, with the developer agreeing to allocate 43 of the 88 units for affordable housing.
However when construction stalled and the $33 million listing was e-mailed out earlier this month, community members criticized Slate for trying to flip the property after being granted a residential zoning permit, which greatly increased the value of the property.
“This is the first time in the 44 years I’ve been on the Zoning and Land Use Committee that we have seen an applicant take a piece of property after we have given them the relief they’re seeking and flip it,” said Paul Kerzner at a Community Board 5 meeting on February 12 during discussions about the site. “That is a very bad precedent.”
At the time, CB5 members discussed reverting the lot back to manufacturing over fears a new buyer wouldn’t have to honor terms previously negotiated with Slate.
However on Monday, Curtin, who owns over 700 units across Maspeth, Ridgewood, Bushwick, and other neighborhoods, said the listing was simply a mistake. Greiner Maltz President Swain Weiner, who sent out the original email and a retraction on February 6, said the same.
“It was a simple misunderstanding between me and the owner,” Weiner said. “Frank and I had spoken about listing it [in the future]. I thought I had the green light, I was mistaken. I sent out a retraction. That’s the end of the story.”
Weiner wouldn’t elaborate on the original conversation, or say whether any developers had responded to the listing.
For now, Curtin said that he was waiting on approval from the Buildings Department, and the project would break ground within the next two to three months.
“I’m going to be involved,” he said. “I’ve been there so many years. I’m happy to be there.”