Bayside businesses see debris

By John Tozzi

A stop-work order was issued Jan. 30 for failing to post permits at the site, located at 32-55 Francis Lewis Blvd., according to DOB records, and businesses in the center contend there has been little work on the project in recent months.The steel frame of the second level is put up, along with a small piece of the facade, but heavy-duty scaffolding still stands in front of the entrances to stores. A pile of sand, cinder blocks and wood planks sits in the southeast corner of the parking lot.A deli in the complex closed two weeks ago, and a yogurt and ice cream shop was shuttered earlier. Hair and nail salons, a card shop, a pet store, a card store, a physical therapy office and a Chinese restaurant remain in the small shopping center.Messages left for the landlord, Bayside Plaza Association LLC., were not returned. The company is a part of the Manhattan-based Vintage Group. Permits were clearly visible Tuesday.Several of the employees at the stores in the center, who declined to give their names for fear of retaliation by the landlord, said the dormant construction is hurting them. “It's poor business,” said one employee. “It's always filthy dirty around here.””In the summer, it's just pathetic,” the worker said, permeated by “the smell of garbage.”The scaffolding was taken down in November but went back up a month ago, according to the worker. “It's like living underneath a tunnel,” the worker said. “I feel like I'm in the Midtown Tunnel.”Another employee said business had been doing well but dropped off after the scaffolding hid stores from easy view of the street.Others said the construction had not affected business much but had created an eyesore and a danger to customers. One employee said customers had fallen over debris left outside.The permit for the alteration, originally filed in September 2004, was renewed late last year and now is valid through November 2006. The alteration would nearly double the size of the complex, from 12,742 square feet to 23,919 square feet, according to DOB filings.Reach reporter John Tozzi by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 Ext. 188.

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