By Nathan Duke
Community Board 11 has approved an expansion for a proposed highâˆ’end supermarket in Douglaston that would allow the project to begin construction along 61st Avenue early next year and open by 2010.
The board voted unanimously in favor of a variance Monday that would pave the way for Fairway Market to add 10 square feet to its proposed supermarket at 242âˆ’02 61st Ave. in the Douglaston Plaza Shopping Center, where a Waldbaum’s chain store currently operates. Waldbaum’s lease expires in 2010, CB 11 District Manager Susan Seinfeld said.
The shopping center had previously applied to replace Waldbaum’s with a Best Buy electronics store, but the community had contended it would be better served by a supermarket. Douglaston residents at the board’s meeting called on its members to approve Fairway’s variance.
“It appears Fairway is the only food store interested in Douglaston,” said Eliot Socci, president of the Douglaston Civic Association. “I think it’s in the best interest of the community board to approve this variance.”
Howard Glickberg, Fairway’s owner, said the variance would provide additional space for the supermarket to operate at the Douglaston site. He said construction could begin as early as the first quarter next year and would take five months to build. Seinfeld said the store could be open by 2010.
“We’re good neighbors,” Glickberg said. “We get along with our communities. You used to have the butcher, the baker, the fish seller in your neighborhood. We have all these little stores in our big store.”
The popular market, which was founded by Glickberg’s grandfather as a fruit and vegetable store at 74th Street and Broadway in the 1930s, also has chain stores in Harlem, the Upper West Side, Brooklyn and Plainview, L.I.
Glickberg said the store’s hours of operation would be 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and that Fairway would hire neighborhood residents.
“Our first preference is for people in the community who can walk to work,” he said.
The proposal for the supermarket, which will be an estimated 51,000 square feet, will go before Queens Borough President Helen Marshall Dec. 18, he said.
Architect Ed Weinstein said the variance would provide for storage space and a glassâˆ’enclosed elevator would take visitors to the market’s secondâˆ’floor parking deck. He said the elevator would be accessed from the Douglaston Parkway.
The community and northeastern Queens elected officials had originally battled the shopping center after it submitted an application for Best Buy. But the center withdrew its plans for that project in January.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by eâˆ’mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718âˆ’229âˆ’0300, Ext. 156.