BY JAMES FARRELL
Development Company AB Capstone has filed an application to build a three-story building on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows, according to Department of Buildings records. The application was filed on Jan. 26 and is currently awaiting zoning approval.
The property, located at 179-24 Union Tpke., is currently a one-story commercial building that previously held a variety of businesses, including the Carol School Supply Store, which closed down in 2015. The filed plans call for a three-story building, with the top two floors devoted to “day-care services for children between 2 years and 6 years old.” The first floor proposes a mix between retail and day care for younger children between 6 months and 2 years. The plan includes a total of 16,799 square feet for the day care and 4,841 square feet of commercial space.
The plans were first reported by New York YIMBY.
Renderings of the project can be found on AB Capstone’s website. They feature a glass building façade with the logo for Children of America, a child-care company with educational centers all over the country, including Jackson Heights.
However, Children of America did not respond to an email or phone call requesting a comment.
In an interview with the Queens Tribune, Meir Babaev, president of AB Capstone, described the project as a “retail and commercial building with a community facility component that’s already leased to a day care,” and he confirmed that the day care was leased by Children of America. He said the building would contain retail, office and day-care components, and anticipates that it will open by spring 2019.
“This is going to significantly improve the walkability of Union Turnpike and try to bring back some of the luster that Union Turnpike has lost over the years,” he said.
Architect Dinah Klamert, of Koh Architecture PLLC, is listed as the applicant of record, but Koh Architecture declined to comment.
The zoning in the area is R2A, limited to single-family detached houses, but there is a C1-2 retail district overlay, which typically sees commercial buildings at one or two floors.
Jim Gallagher, president of the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Association and a member of Community Board 8, said that since the building would hold a community facility, it may not need a variance, as community facilities are permitted to use extra floor area space under certain circumstances.
He added that the community would have some concerns about the facility that would need to be addressed.
“The neighborhood is changing, that’s for sure,” he said. “The only problem is parking. Where are they going to find parking to go with these facilities? I know we just got approved for two-hour parking along Union Turnpike, but we need more parking in the back or wherever they could make that. That’s my only concern right now. I’d have to take a closer look at the photo; look at the zoning a little more.”
Babaev said the project is looking at six parking spaces and seven drop-off points for the day care.
AB Capstone has several properties in Queens. In June, The Real Deal reported that it also purchased a strip of commercial buildings, including a Rite Aid at 187-16 Union Tpke., just up the street from the Carol School Supply location, at the intersection with 188th Street. No plans have been filed on the Department of Buildings’ website, and Babaev said they are planning to keep it as is for now.
Reach out to James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.