Eyesore No More

Owner’s Vision For Homes On R’wood Lot

The owner of a chunk of Ridgewood land that he described as anything but pretty outlined plans to transform it into a residential building Monday, Feb. 25, at the Citizens for a Better Ridgewood meeting at St. Aloysius Convent.

On behalf of the owner of a truck lot on 176 Woodward Ave.- Frank Curtin-Steve Sinacori (left) his lawyer, and Ariel Aufgang, an architect, describe plans of transforming the area into a residential building during the Citizens for a Better Ridgewood meeting as Peggy O’Kane, the group’s secretary looks on.

For the past 24 years, Frank Curtin has used his land at 176 Woodward Ave. as a contracted storage yard for trucks, though the property is surrounded by residential uses on all four sides. He said the area he owns has been a hotspot for crime and many problems because it is very desolate and dark at night.

“People take advantage of it,” added Steve Sinacori, who serves as counsel to Curtin. “It has led to a lot of illegal dumping, and prostitution from Flushing Avenue. A lot of neighbors are tired of the trucks and fumes as well.”

The new plan for the space— which stretches to 45,000 square feet and is in a manufacturing zone—is to apply to rezone the site and put up a residential building secured by a doorman. The building will be threefour stories tall, according to architect Ariel Aufgang.

A coffee shop and some sort of small market is also part of the proposal, as well as a multipurpose community room to be used by artists and civic associations. There may also be a recreation area and a dog-walk, Aufgang noted.

“The idea is that this will be a vast improvement of what’s there,” Sinacori said.

The group is not seeking any city subsidiary for the site. They have an early idea regarding renting figures. Their plan is to set pricing at $1,000 for studios, $1,200 for one-bedroom apartments and $1,500 for two-bedroom apartments—which many attendees of the meeting deemed affordable.

Asked by Peggy O’Kane—who led the CBR meeting and also serves as Community Board 5’s secretary— about parking, the owner’s representatives said it will provide two levels of parking with 120 spaces. In addition, a plan would be in place for trees and lighting to deter crime.

“We’re very cognizant of security needs,” Aufgang said. “The real strategy behind this design is to create something that will fit into the neighborhood that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Nothing high-rise and nothing metal. Just bricks, bay windows, stone and ground flooring with the amenities of a multi-family building.”

O’Kane told the group that CBR isn’t endorsing the plan, and that the organization just wants to consult and find out what other residents think. She did, however, note that the project “looks nice.”

Curtin and his associates will have to meet with Community Board 5’s Land Use Committee in April and afterward, there will be a public hearing regarding the issue. Citing a different piece of land that’s also on Woodward Avenue and that may be reconstructed and transformed, O’Kane expressed subtle optimism.

“I think this area is going through a bit of a renaissance,” she said.

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The CBR generally meets on the last Monday each month at 7:30 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church, located at 382 Onderdonk Ave. However, there will not be a March meeting.

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