The owners of a partially collapsed Woodhaven building have prevented the city from demolishing their building by coming to a settlement to repair the collapsed roof by Oct. 15, according to court records and the lawyer representing its owners.
The building on 78-19 Jamaica Ave., considered an eyesore by many in the community, had originally been given a stay of demolition which expired on July 16. But the owners were able to prevent a demolition of the building after they sued the city for “arbitrary and capricious” conduct. The owners settled, agreeing to have the building fixed and completed by October.
“The engineer is working diligently to comply with the Department of Buildings,” , said Elio Forcina, the owners’ lawyer. “Once the building is finished, it will be very beautiful and the community will love it.”
The building was originally occupied by a furniture store until it was vacated in April 2013 when the middle of the roof collapsed. It is now wrapped in scaffolding and its next-door neighbors, The Catholic Charities Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center, also had to closed, relocating to the nearby American Legion Post 118 building.
During a meeting on the issue, held by the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, Department of Buildings (DOB) representative Kenneth Lazar told residents that construction would begin after Independence Day, according to the DOB.
But after Forcina sued the DOB and Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the two settled on the October completion date.
“As of now, my client’s done everything he can,” Forcino said.
The building had been deemed unsafe by the DOB, prompting the call for demolition, but Forcino said that the dilapidated building didn’t pose any public health risk and therefore it wasn’t fair that the city was going to demolish the structure.
“We felt that the city was being capricious because this was never a public safety issue.”