BY JON CRONIN
A Manhattan development firm has filed for demolition permits to knock down Forest Hills’ Key Food chain store, according to the city’s Department of Buildings.
Slate Property Group plans to create an 11-story, 230,000-square-foot building with 170 units and 40,000 square feet of retail space at street level at the site of the Key Food store, located at 69-65 Yellowstone Blvd. The group filed for a permit with the DOB on June 26, according to the agency’s website.
There are few details available on the site’s design, but the developer is building as of right. This means that the plans do not have to go through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), but still have to be approved by the city Department of Planning and built in accordance with the new Zoning for Quality and Affordability, which theoretically could limit the height.
In 2015, as previously published in The Real Deal, Slate began a joint venture with Key Food’s owners—the Gross and Grobman families—and embarked on a project in Manhattan’s Clinton Hill. The owner of the site did not want to sell the property and Slate did not want to pay for such an astronomical property value, so they joined forces. Together, they created a 114-unit, eight-floor apartment building at 325 Lafayette Ave., which has a supermarket on the first floor and residential apartments above.
Manhattan-based firm Aufgang Architects designed the Clinton Hill building and has been hired to design the Forest Hills location. The building, which was completed in February, reflects, as stated by Aufgang Architects, “the forward-looking ambiance on the Clinton Hill neighborhood.”
Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, said that she was not surprised to hear that the Yellowstone Boulevard site was being developed.
“The idea has been thrown around for years,” she said.
Brown said that she was disappointed to hear that the Key Food was being demolished.
“We don’t have a plethora of supermarkets in the area, [and] an 11-story building is just adding more population that maybe we can’t support,” she said, adding that the neighborhood’s subways and schools are already overcrowded. “It can put a strain on things. It would be great if they did create affordable housing, but I highly doubt they will.”
Brown said that after seeing that a supermarket was added to the group’s similar project in Clinton Hill, she was happy to hear of the possibility of another one in the community.
“It’s the perfect location,” she said.
Slate has not contacted the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce yet, Brown noted, but added that “from the perspective of local businesses, the business owners will be happy that there will be an increase in population to go to their stores.”
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.