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CB 7 approves development of Main St. hotel

By Alex Robinson

Community Board 7 approved a 180,000-square-foot, multi-use complex including a hotel for downtown Flushing Monday night.

The proposed facility, at 36-18 Main St., was originally up for a vote at the board’s November meeting, but was sent back to CB 7’s Land Use Committee after members expressed concerns over traffic problems the building might cause.

The complex would house the Hotel Indigo, a parking garage, a spa and office space. The proposal includes a 12-story tower, where the hotel would be, and a 14-story tower for office space.

At the November meeting, developer CA Plaza sought a variance that would let it build the parking structure and allow it to use one of the towers, now zoned as a medical building, for office space.

CB 7 members voted to approve a permit for the spa and also voted in favor of waiving height restrictions imposed by airports as the development would be within close proximity to LaGuardia Airport. The Port Authority and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had already given permission for the 14-story tower.

Board members, however, unanimously voted to delay a vote to allow the variance on parking and the changed use of the building to office space until a later meeting.

CB 7 members’ main concern was that the location of the hotel’s entrance could cause traffic problems on Prince Street. Although truck deliveries could be done on site, board members were concerned that vehicles turning into the hotel would block up a street in downtown Flushing which already has heavy traffic.

“I don’t think this has been thought through,” CB 7 Vice Chairman Chuck Apelian said at the November meeting. “I’d like to support the project, but I’m not. It’s not there yet.”

“Some more thought needs to go into this before we say yes,” he added.

Attorney Richard Lobel, of Sheldon Lobel P.C., presented changes at Monday’s meeting that the developer had agreed to at a committee session in January. The changes included reversing the lanes of the driveway that would lead to the property’s garage. Lobel said this would make it so cars would not be waiting on Prince Street to turn left into the hotel’s driveway.

CA Plaza also agreed to fund the installation of a traffic light on 36th Avenue.

CB 7 voted 27-2 Monday in favor of approving the development with the changes.

“I’m very happy. We wanted to work with the community,” said Alex Yi-Liang Lu, an attorney for W&L Construction, a part owner of the property. “We understood their concerns and did our best to address them. We wanted a win-win solution.”

The developers have already started excavating the property and hope to start above-ground construction in three months. Lu said work on the complex is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at arobinson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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