By Kelsey Durham
After receiving dozens of complaints from residents and civic associations, the E. Gluck Corp. announced this week it would be making changes to a 36-foot-tall gray wall the company put up last month at the site of its new warehouse in Little Neck.
The wall was erected in April by the site’s developer, Steel Tribune LLC, after construction began on the property, at 60-15 Little Neck Parkway as the watchmaking company prepared to relocate from Long Island City to the warehouse in northeast Queens that was formerly occupied by the Leviton manufacturing company.
After several weeks of pressure from state and local representatives, E. Gluck has agreed to lower the wall, which faces 262nd Street, by 14 feet and will also add nearly 100 trees and plants to soften the look of the warehouse’s exterior.
“The removal of 14 feet from the wall should allow more light to come through, reduce the shadow and mitigate the negative impact that the structure would have had on the neighbors,” said City Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens). “I want to see the property owners follow through on this commitment as quickly as possible.”
In the weeks the wall has stood at the edge of the property line, nearby homeowners have complained that the massive, solid gray structure has detracted from the beauty of their neighborhood, with some residents even saying it reminded them of the walls surrounding a prison.
Homeowners also were aggravated that the wall, which local officials say was not part of the approved plans they were shown last year, blocks television and phone signals into their homes.
“It’s a horrible eyesore and there’s an injustice being done to the people who live here,” Marcia Kops, who lives a few blocks from the construction site, said at an April 22 rally in protest against the wall.
The 14-foot reduction, which will bring the wall’s height down to 22 feet, will decrease the surface area of the structure by nearly 40 percent to reduce the impact.
In addition, to modifying the height of the wall, E. Gluck has also agreed to plant 20 flowering pear trees and 75 white pine trees to help the industrial structure better blend in with the residential area around it.
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) released statements expressing gratitude that the company had modified its plans, and both legislators said they hope E. Gluck considers the needs and concerns of residents surrounding the property as construction continues.
“I am cautiously optimistic about the promises made by E. Gluck and Steel Tribune LLC to significantly reduce the profile of the building,” Avella said. “This is definitely a step in the right direction and I am glad that the owners responded to the cries of Little Neck residents, who were astounded, and rightfully so, with the monstrosity that was built on-site.”
Reach reporter Kelsey Durham at 718-260-4573 or by e-mail at [email protected].