Luxury apartment developers seek variance on Woodward
by Andrew Shilling
Mar 19, 2014 | 3454 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Steve Sinacori, a partner with Ackerman LLP, at the last CB5 meeting.
Steve Sinacori, a partner with Ackerman LLP, at the last CB5 meeting.
Tom Loftus, architect with Aufgang Architects
Tom Loftus, architect with Aufgang Architects
Sarah Feldman and Neil Meyers
Sarah Feldman and Neil Meyers
A four-story luxury apartment building is proposed in Ridgewood on a site in the middle of a shrinking manufacturing zone, so developers are required to pursue a zoning variance to make their plans a reality.

Representatives and architects of the proposed development site at 176 Woodward Ave. presented their plans for the $18 million, 138-unit building at the Community Board 5 meeting last week in Middle Village.

Steve Sinacori, a partner with Ackerman LLP, representing the developers, said the project has been a long time coming for his client.

“There have been problems with dumping of illegal materials in the evenings, there’s been a lot of criminal activity over the years,” Sinacori said of the current state of the neighborhood. “The owner has owned the site for 27 years, and over a number of years he has been approached by many people asking him to do something with the site; to have it cleaned up, to apply for a rezoning and develop it residential.”

If the developer gets approval from the city, the 45,000-square-foot lot will soon be home to the next wave of luxury housing. The plans call for both three and four story development with room for ground level commercial space, including a 118-space underground parking garage, a rooftop dog run and a 1,150-square-foot multi purpose room for community outreach programs.

Sinacori said that while the surrounding buildings are used as residential, they too are currently in the middle of the same manufacturing zone.

“Essentially, this is taking an underutilized site, surrounded by residential use currently occupied by trucks, and allowing it to be cleaned up, beautified and provide housing,” he said.

With a proposed range of one, two and three-bedroom apartments, from 500-square-feet studios to 1,200-square-feet three-bedroom units, developers say the prices are expected to be comparable to the current market rate.

Tom Loftus, architect with Aufgang Architects, said the designers focused on creating a project that looks like the existing neighborhood.

“Really, one of our focuses here in the design of the project was to not come in with a contemporary-designed residential building and create a juxtaposition of the different archetype,” Loftus said. “We really wanted to focus on the existing urban fabric of the neighborhood, and we reflected that through the rhythm of the different materials shown on the building.”

Andrew Robinson, owner of a property next to the lot under consideration for development, said he has several concerns about allowing residential development in the manufacturing zone.

“There is manufacturing in the zone that actually has stuff happening, so this is about how it effects that,” Robinson said. “I’ve heard people say there is no traffic on this block, but that is not true. There is a lot of traffic on that block.”

Robinson said there is a driving school for trucks on the block, as well as a significant amount of traffic moving through the area on a daily basis.

“I am, at this point, not for or against, however I have questions on how they are going to mitigate the issues around water and sewage and how they are going to address the traffic problems that exist there today,” he said.

Neil Meyers, a resident of Ridgewood, agrees that mixed use for the community would be most appropriate to allow for commercial development opportunities as well as residential, however he has some concerns.

“I think 118 cars might be overdoing it, “ Meyers said. “It would add some real traffic.”

Sarah Feldman, founder of Ridgewood Social, said she too has some problems with the current design, however she hopes continued work with the project could prove to be a positive addition.

“I think it’s not really appropriate, and it doesn’t really go with the architecture round here,” Feldman said.

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