Although CB5 voted for residential use on the narrow 25 by 90-foot lot back in 2007, the board shot down a development proposal, 21-13, in favor of either manufacturing or affordable housing at the proposed site.
Walter Sanchez, chair of the CB5 Land Use Committee, sided with the majority of his committee in favor of allowing the developers to build residential space at the location.
“You know how this committee feels about manufacturing,” Sanchez said while reading the report to the board. “We have a number of members on this board and in our committee who are really in favor of preserving as much manufacturing as we possibly can.”
The lot is surrounded by residential properties on three of the four sides.
“There were two members who were against our proposal, but we felt that this lot was too small to adequately build what is demanded for manufacturing today,” Sanchez said.
Committee member Theodore Renz presented the minority report in an effort to preserve the manufacturing use, noting the importance of supporting the newly enacted Industrial Business Zone in the area.
“This board has a long-standing tradition of supporting manufacturing in our communities,” Renz said. “We should use this site for better use of development, and if we have to wait a little for that, that’s not a bad thing.”
Jean Tanler, lead coordinator at the Maspeth Industrial Business Association, said she is confident that the lot, while narrow and limited in space, would be able to attract a manufacturer.
“The economy has cycles and we have just emerged from a cycle of a significant loss of manufacturing in the city and across the United States,” Tanler said. “We are now on the upswing. We are having more industrial businesses, more manufacturing businesses opening and moving to the city.”
She reported that from 2002 to 2012, Queens has gained 762 manufacturing companies, the most throughout the city.
“Until I see the financials, including the incentives that are available to building industrial on the lot, I am not convinced that it’s too small to develop as industrial,” she said. “There is a high and unmet demand for small industrial properties.”