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Photo courtesy city Economic Development Corp.
By Joe Anuta

A Bayside developer was selected Monday to breathe new life into a downtown Flushing eyesore.

A company called Success 88, headed by Betsy Mak, won a bidding process to develop a vacant building on 40th Road that had once housed city offices, according to the city Economic Development Corp. Mak paid $1.5 million for the property.

“Today’s announcement will lead to the complete revitalization of this currently vacant site, creating new retail and commercial space, as well as space that will be specifically developed for community use,” said Seth Pinsky, president of EDC. “In this way, the project will ensure the continued growth and success of this critical Queens neighborhood and the borough as a whole.”

The new building, which will replace the current one at 135-15 40th Road, is set to contain retail on the ground floor and commercial uses above. Those uses typically require parking spaces, but Mak will likely apply for a waiver to bend at least some of those regulations, according to EDC.

A clause in the contract between the city and Success 88 stipulates that at least one floor of the building, or no less than 1,000 square feet, must be dedicated to space for the community. And Mak will work with the neighborhood to decide the occupant of that space, EDC said.

That community space also allows Mak to tack on a maximum of 3,500 extra square feet to the structure.

Space for community facilities falls into a special category of the city’s zoning laws, and including it in a building’s plans typically allows a developer to build bigger.

In this case, the zoning laws would normally allow a maximum of 8,500 square feet of retail and commercial development.

But because the structure will have this extra use, Mak has the option to add up to 3,500 square feet of space to house it.

This arrangement would produce the maximum building size with the most retail and commercial space, though a smaller building with other ratios is possible. EDC said the new structure could be a maximum of 12,000 square feet, in which case it would be at least six stories tall.

Businesses that fall under the community facility category are wide-ranging in scope. Religious institutions, nonprofits and doctor offices are just a few, but EDC said any future tenants will be picked with input from residents.

The organization touted the project as a way to contribute to Flushing’s vibrant economy, citing a 2011 report by state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli showing that the number of small businesses in the area grew by 37.6 percent between 2000 and 2009.

“This will provide an economic boost to Flushing by creating new opportunities and jobs,” Mak’s firm said in a statement.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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