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Waldbaum’s gets reprieve – QNS.com

Waldbaum’s gets reprieve

In a tersely-worded letter to the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), attorneys for the owner of the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center have abandoned their quest for a zoning change for the building now occupied by a Waldbaum’s.
The developer, AAC Douglaston Plaza, LLC, is a unit of Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation, a Manhattan-based development giant that has acquired over $4 billion in commercial properties since its founding in 1987.
The company bought the Douglaston Plaza mall, located at Douglaston Parkway and 61st Avenue, from Yale University in 2005 for a reported $65 million.
The building which houses the Waldbaum’s is only zoned for use as a supermarket and the lease runs until 2010. The developer set in motion a process almost immediately to ask that the “use group” for that building be changed, to allow a Best Buy electronics store to occupy the space.
Although the developer claimed “hardship, they refused to provide Community Board 11 with any financial figures, citing the fact that as a privately-held corporation, they were not bound to disclose their finances.
According to a source close to the process, the attorney for the developer, Jeffrey Chester, said, “the handwriting was on the wall,” indicating that the BSA would reject their application for a zoning change.
This move spares Ashkenazy a rare defeat in its aggressive campaign to secure prime commercial properties, and generate enhanced revenue and value for them.
For now, nearby residents who were apprehensive of being left without a supermarket — the nearest, Stop & Shop, is about a mile-and-a-half away — have until at least the end of the store’s lease.
According to Ann Levine, a local activist who led the fight against the change, “Waldbaum’s is safe for now.”

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