Proposed music venue at former Long Island City sushi restaurant gets approval from Board 1

Photo credit: Angela Matua/QNS

Plans for a new music and cultural venue in Long Island City, accommodating up to 2,070 people standing, received support from Community Board 1 during the advisory body’s meeting on Tuesday night in Astoria.

John Belitsky founder of DMNDR (pronounced “demander”) proposed the plan to build The Arc at 36-30 36th St. in Long Island City. The space is a 20,000-square-foot former sushi restaurant that Belitsky plans to convert into a performance and concert hall combined with a “hermetically sealed” recording studio for musicians and artists to use 24 hours a day.

“We’re thrilled that we have community board approval to realize our vision for The Arc as a first-class performance venue, recording studio and local cultural center,” said Belitsky, who is a native of South Ozone Park.

On the weekends when the space isn’t being utilized for performances, he told the board that he plans to open up the space to the community for master classes, educational workshops and general advocacy for the arts. In addition, The Arc would also serve food to patrons and alcohol during 21 and older events.

Though board members raised concerns about the potential noise levels from late night and early morning activity, Belitsky assured them that the plans for the building’s infrastructure would prevent sound from being heard on the street.

Other concerns that residents brought up were regarding the hours in which alcohol would be served to patrons. Belitsky said that alcoholic beverages would only be consumed inside the venue and would stop being served after 2 a.m.

According to their website, DMNDR is a community of music lovers, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, writers, curators and creators around the world that was formed in 2014. Their goal is to “elevate art” which Belitsky and other members of DMNDR hope to achieve with The Arc.

“We’re in exciting talks with corporate sponsors, local performing artists, community festival organizers, film and television producers who are interested in developing projects with us, and with emerging and highly acclaimed artists who want to perform here,” he said. “We are moving forward with a mandate from our community to improve the creative ecosystem, a promise we will tirelessly pursue.”

He added that he hoped all of Long Island City would benefit from this new development and also that it would contribute to the growth of the local economy.

Belitsky said that he had received a lot of positive feedback from local creatives and residents that he spoke to when canvassing the neighborhood. An online petition addressed to the community board in support of the venue amassed 280 signatures on the DMNDR website.

“The DMNDR artist community passionately supported this important project because they feel it is what music and the arts need right now,” Belitsky said. “Just as importantly, we heard from local residents who told us it’s about time this exists in Queens, and now it will, soon.”

Plans for the venue’s construction are underway, but no date has been set for when the project will be completed.

Edit made on May 22, 2018 at 3:28 p.m. to correct the number of people the venue can accommodate.

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