Residents in Long Island City who have been trying to landmark the historic Elks Lodge on 44th Drive spotted construction workers and scaffolding set up outside of the building this morning.
A petition was recently created to save the space, located at 21-42 44th Dr., from demolition. According to plans filed with the Department of Buildings (DOB), the property is owned by a company called 44th Drive, LLC, which plans on demolishing the Elks Lodge and erecting luxury condos in its place.
Amadeo Plaza, the president of the Court Square Plaza Association, began receiving notifications from residents walking by that the façade was altered.
He said construction workers told residents that they were performing asbestos abatement. Many, including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, are skeptical.
“We were notified this morning on social media about the work that was being done there,” Van Bramer said. “We immediately got on the phone with the mayor’s office and Department of Buildings and asked if there were permits on file for demolition work of any kind.”
Van Bramer was told that no demolition permits were granted to the developers. He added that construction workers seem to be removing parts of the façade and the architecturally significant parts of the building that would make it worthy of landmarking.
The councilman sent a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last week and thinks that the developers were “shaken” by the community’s efforts to save the building.
“It’s outrageous that this work would be done, particularly with no permits,” he said. “It should be stopped and we have asked the mayor’s office to have the DOB go out there and stop it. [The building is] historic, it’s beautiful and it should be saved.”
QNS reached out to Miguel Oks, the manager at 44th Drive, LLC, and is awaiting feedback.