Construction Could Begin Soon On Woodhaven Building

Staff Writer

While the process is ongoing to get construction started at the site of a partially-collapsed building, there is one hurdle that it needs to clear.

The MTA needs to approve the plan for whatever work will be done at the 78-19 Jamaica Ave. site, because of its close proximity to the J train subway line, which runs above the avenue.

According to Dept. of Buildings spokesperson, Alex Schnell, the transit agency needs to approve the plan, as the building is located within 200 feet of a MTA property. He also said there is a court-ordered stay on the property until July 16, which is the deadline to obtain all permits related to the job. If they miss the deadline, it will go back to the court to decide the next action for the property.

The Woodhaven Residents Block Association posted on their website a schedule set by the court, which they say was confirmed by Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) and State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Middle Village). The schedule includes the listed date for when work is supposed to begin, which is July 14.

Miller said the owner of the property has not missed any deadlines set for the job and it depends on the MTA approving the plan.

MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz said the application was approved on June 10 as a full demolition, but it has since been change to a repair instead of a full demotion. The owners have not submitted the new drawings for them to approve the change of plans, Ortiz said.

Dept. of Buildings records show that a repair of the second floor roof and structural walls was approved on June 27.

The building has been a major issue in Woodhaven for the past year. Last year, the structure partially collapsed, forcing the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corp to shut down and for the senior center located there to relocate to the American Legion on 91st Street off Woodhaven Boulevard.

The WRBA said it hopes that the schedule for the building is adhered to.

“We hope that this schedule is adhered to by the courts and by the City and this isn’t just another chapter in the long game that’s been going on. We’ve been promised that time has run out and that this schedule is a strict one – we hope for the sake of the Volunteer Ambulance Corps and our seniors that this is, indeed, the case,” the civic group wrote on its website.

Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127,, or @luisgronda.