By Alex Christodoulides
Dan Berger, vice president of design and construction for Vornado Realty, told the board that while the three-story retail component was moving ahead and expected to be completed by this summer, the proposed residential tower that was to be built above the shopping area was being put on hold for the time being.The site behind the Rego Park Mall, bounded by the Horace Harding Expressway, Junction Boulevard, 62nd Drive and 97th Street, is to see a Home Depot move in along with department stores Kohl's and Century 21. But Berger told CB 6 that “we need a couple more months” to see if the residential space would be worth pursuing.CB 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said Vornado planned to continue building with an eye to completing the residential tower, which is to have a lobby at ground level, in the future.”The structure is being built to accommodate the tower and the lobby is going to be built,” he said.Gulluscio said the most likely culprit for the moratorium on the residential tower was the economy, but that Vornado was planning to weigh its options during the summer and then decide the fate of the housing.”They'll tell us if it's ruled out,” he said.Calls to Vornado's public relations officer for further information about the fate of the project or a firm deadline for the developer's decision went unreturned.When first announced in 2005, the residential component was an amorphous, 450,000-square-foot proposal. By 2006, when Vornado updated CB 6 again, the shopping center had two residential towers above the retail space with some 400 units spread over two towers ranging in height from 18 to 21 stories, depending on when the information was released or whether the climate control units above the residences were figured into the height.With time, the design has been scaled back to one tower and now — possibly – none.The entire project was estimated to cost $550 million as of the official groundbreaking last year, but it is uncertain what the truncated version would cost.Reach reporter Alex Christodoulides by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.