CB 1 asks city to nix hotel on 39th Avenue

CB 1 voted last month to recommend the Board of Standards and Appeals refuse a certificate of occupancy for developer Steve Bahar's planned hotel on 29-11 39th Ave. in Long Island City. Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

At the urging of Dutch Kills activists, Community Board 1 recommended that the city Board of Standards and Appeals deny a Manhattan developer a certificate of occupancy for his nearly complete hotel on 39th Avenue last month, but the action left the developer undeterred.

“Because of the community’s feelings, [CB 1] voted against it,” said Lucille Hartman, district manager for CB 1.

Steven Bahar, the developer for the project, said he has nearly completed construction of the Silvercup Hotel, a nine-story building at 29-11 39th Ave. in Long Island City.

Jeffrey Mulligan, executive director for the BSA, said Bahar did not complete the project within the two-year time frame permitted by the city Department of Buildings and filed an application to extend the time to complete construction and receive a certificate of occupancy Oct. 29. Bahar’s application will be discussed at a public hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, Mulligan said.

Gerald Walsh, president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association, said he is against Bahar getting a certificate of occupancy. Bahar has received multiple complaints and city Environmental Control Board violations on the property, which currently has a partial stop-work order with fines of $5,000 owed, according to the DOB’s website.

“He’s not exactly a very good neighbor,” Walsh said.

He accused Bahar of doing construction on the project on weekends and at other times without permission and said he worried that the hotel would not actually be a hotel, but a residential property.

Bahar denied he was building a residential property on the site and said he planned to make a high-end, boutique hotel that he would operate with another party.

He said he did not believe the community board could recommend against him, especially since the foundations for his property were installed prior to the October 2008 downzoning of the Dutch Kills area, which restricted the height of buildings to 70 feet or less. Buildings which had their foundations installed before the zoning were grandfathered in.

“There’s really very little the community board could say,” Bahar said.

This is not the first time the community has protested against one of Bahar’s properties. Bahar is also building a planned nine-story hotel at 39-35 27th St., which has also received multiple violations and has been a point of frustration for the neighbors, who say the construction at the site has infringed upon and caused damage to their properties. The hotel site at one point had a full stop-work order against it, but the order was rescinded last February.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) wrote a letter to DOB Commissioner Robert LiMandri in August urging action be taken on the 27th Street property.

Bahar said his company began finishing the foundations of the 27th Street property last month.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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