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Handout provided to QNS
The state of the Farmer's Market and Metropolitan Restaurant Equipment on Myrtle Avenue in Glendale on Aug. 8, more than a year after a fire destroyed the building.

It’s been 14 months since a fire ripped through a Glendale storefront and caused the business to shut down, but after all that time, the decrepit building looks virtually the same.

The Farmer’s Market and neighboring Metropolitan Restaurant Equipment on Myrtle Avenue are a shell of their former selves, with no siding or signage left on the exterior, gaping holes in the wooden structure and a completely collapsed roof. Many local residents will remember the blaze that gutted the stores in June of 2017 and left 11 firefighters injured.

In the weeks after the fire, a green construction fence and sidewalk shed were built around the property and Department of Buildings (DOB) permits showed that “emergency shoring work due to fire” had been approved. As of Aug. 2, however, all of the permits at the site had expired and multiple complaints had been filed against the building.

After a concerned resident contacted QNS about the property and Councilman Robert Holden also fielded complaints at his office, the lawmaker attempted to get some answers.

I spoke to the owner of the property, and he relayed to me that he is doing everything in his power to get that building back up and running,” Holden said in an Aug. 16 Facebook post. “While he doesn’t have an ETA on when he believes all the work will get done, he told me that he cares deeply about the community and understands their frustration.”

Holden explained that, according to the owner, the DOB “denied their initial requests” and a new architect has since been hired to “move things along.” The owner also told Holden that he intended on filing the new permits for the work this week and the building will remain residential with a storefront on the first floor, according to the councilman.

The owner listed on the DOB permit applications is Nazim Hodzic, who is also associated with the Albanian-American Islamic Center, located next to the burned properties. Multiple attempts by QNS to reach Hodzic prior to publication of this article have been unsuccessful.

A spokesperson for the DOB had no knowledge of any “requests” that were denied by the agency, and explained to QNS that all permits filed, whether approved or denied, are kept in its online database.

June 25 2017 2

While the details of the reconstruction remain unclear, the real concern from local residents lies in the official complaints about the building. The first complaint after the fire came on Nov. 11, 2017, and stated that “the scaffold is leaning and I believe it’s unsafe.”

A second complaint about the building on April 12 claims that “animals live in it.” The third and most recent complaint on July 30 again points out the scaffold, stating “it’s leaning and never know when it’s going to fall.”

Upon investigating the third complaint, the DOB served a violation to Total NYC Construction Corporation on July 31 for the sidewalk shed failing to meet code specifications, according to online records. While there is a large sign at the property with the company’s name and phone number, an employee of Total NYC Construction had no knowledge of the project when reached over the phone on Aug. 21.

Records show that no compliance with the violation has been recorded yet.

The broken-down building also adds to the recurring problem of storefront vacancies along the Glendale section of Myrtle Avenue. In 2016, there were close to 40 empty stores along the commercial strip when the economy was down, and not much has changed since for small businesses.

As everyone in the community still searches for answers as to why this particular property has not been touched, Holden said, “I stand ready to assist in whatever way I can.”

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