Confusion arises after allegations of illegal Flushing hotel

A single-family home at 35-20 156th St. has been subject to allegations that it is being renovated to be an illegal hotel.
Photo courtesy of Robert Hanophy Jr.

Questions and rumors continue to fly about a mystery home expansion in Flushing.

Although members of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association have issues with renovations on a single-family home they believe will create a transient hotel on 156th Street, the property’s owner was surprised to learn that these allegations were being spread about what he claims will be his family home.

The Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association has been circulating information that alleges that a three-floor home at 35-20 156th St. will be renovated to have 14 bedrooms and eight bathrooms and operate as an illegal hotel.

Robert Hanophy Jr., president of the Broadway-Flushing Homeowners’ Association, said that he did not get a chance to speak to the Yang family, but that there would be no need for a rally if they were indeed planning to live in the house.

Until they get confirmation that this is the case, though, the demonstration is still set to take place. Hanophy said that the new owners are welcome to attend the rally on Thursday or to meet with the association at a more convenient time to speak directly to the community.

“What we are doing as the homeowners’ association is trying to maintain the neighborhood as single-family residences,” said Hanophy, “whether it’s grandma who lives alone or a family of 15 kids.”

The structure is located in a zoning district designated for only detached, single-family homes. Qira Yang, whose mother, Qiujin Yang is the property’s owner, said the situation is all a misunderstanding because his family does plan to live there once renovations are complete.

“We kind of have a big family here, so my mom just wants to have a room for every child she has,” said Yang, who said that his elderly mother has four adult children. The family plans to grow into the house as his generation gets married and has their own offspring.

Yang said he was not aware of a rally set to take place in front of the house with the homeowners’ association and state Senator Tony Avella Thursday afternoon, and that no one contacted him to tell them of their plans. According to Yang, the renovations taking place will actually reduce the number of bedrooms to 10 and make the rooms larger than they had been before.

Yang said that he was aware of the house’s history as an alleged hotel. The house has 50 recorded complaints with the city Department of Buildings, 42 of which occurred before the current owners came into control of the house in October 2013. Some of the complaints date from as far back as 1989, many of which indicate that the home had been illegally converted into multiple separate dwellings or transformed to accommodate transient hotel rooms.

While there is an order to stop work on the renovations based on one of the most recent complaints, these are related to minor infractions, including construction work that did not conform to the set plan and workers smoking cigarettes on the job site. The other complaints that were recorded during Yang’s ownership dealt largely with construction being done without the proper permits posted.

Avella could not immediately be reached for comment.