BY LUIS GRONDA
With the rising cost of living in many other parts of the City, there is a rising interest in moving and developing in one western Queens neighborhood.
There has been much interest in the past year, from both a residential and business perspective, in developing Ridgewood.
Several building permits have been filed within the past year, proposing to build housing and new businesses, like bars, in that neighborhood, including one permit recently filed at the three Ridgewood Towers locations at 3-36 St. Nicholas Ave., 3-50 St. Nicholas Ave., and 54-27 Myrtle Ave.
Other proposals that were already approved include one proposal to build 50 apartment units above the Ridgewood Theater at 55-27 Myrtle Ave. and a mixed-use building at 176 Woodward Ave. that will have 88 apartment units as well as 7,000 square feet available for commercial use. That project will also allow local artists to rent space within the building to use for work on their projects at a reduced price.
The Woodward Avenue location was approved earlier this year by both the City Council and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
As part of its application, the developers proposed a zoning change to R5B and R6B to allow for the apartments to be built. The area was previously zoned M1-1, which is geared towards manufacturing establishments. Katz approved it but recommended that some units be available at a price close to other nearby apartments.
Other spaces that have drawn interest from developers include a proposal to turn an empty building at 56-06 Cooper Ave., the site of the former Kitchen Boro Cabinets furniture store, into a restaurant/bar establishment called The Back Yard. That proposed business would have a capacity of 999 people and includes an outdoor dining/drinking area.
Another recently-opened new business is the Trans Pecos music venue, located at 915 Wyckoff Ave. The establishment operates as a community center during the day and hosts concerts at night.
Gary Giordano, the District Manager of Community Board 5, said that Ridgewood has drawn significant interest because there is a need to build more housing in New York City and people from other parts of the country are looking to move to New York.
“The demand is here. The movement seems to be to move to larger cities,” Giordano said.
In particular, the areas surrounding the Myrtle/Wyckoff L train stop and the Jefferson Ave. L train stop have seen more development, according to Giordano.
The District Manager said the new development will most likely be a positive for Ridgewood but there are concerns of overcrowding in the neighborhood, including a proposed restaurant at Cooper Ave. and the Maspeth-based Knockdown Center, which has been hosting concerts and other types of shows for the past year.