BY DOMENICK RAFTER
Editor in Chief
After nearly a decade of waiting – and a controversial change of plans that was rolled back – a plot of vacant land in Whitestone on the East River shoreline may finally soon be developed into a new neighborhood.
Edgestone, the developer of the site, is working on remediation at the site before shovels hit the ground.
In 2008, Community Board 7 approved a plan to build 52 single-family homes on the site between
Whitestone residents rallied earlier this month against the proposal but news leaked a couple days earlier that Edgestone has backed off and agreed to the original plan for 52 single-family homes. Leading the opposition was state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who accused Edgestone of “going to war with the community.”
Joe Sultana, the architect working on the development, said the original plan, dating back to 2008, was for twice that number – 114 homes.
“Senator Avella is wrong about the original plan,” Sultana said, further explaining that Bayrock, the developer who originally bought the land later scaled back plans because they felt it would be easier to sell 52 single-family homes.
In order to facilitate that construction, Bayrock received a special permit to allow the homes to be built closer together, and the site was rezone from being a manufacturing zone to R3-2, which Sultana said allows for two-family homes.
That zoning allowed Edgestone, which bought the property in 2012, to propose the 107-home plan, which Sultana said would have consisted of 98 townhouses and nine single-family homes.
He said the developers wanted to meet with community board to update them on the plan to clean the site and construct the development.
“We asked the CB to give us information on what transpired before and what they were ok with,” Sultana explained. “[Edgestone] really just want to commit to something and they want to commit to a project the community is going to want. They’re not looking to start any arguments or wars with anybody.”
The plans for the community also include a waterfront park, playground, marina and eco-dock where kayaks and boats can be launched.