As most readers of the Jewish Voice are already aware of, it appears that a vacant piece of property on the corner of Avenue T & Coney Island Avenue in the heart of the Sephardic enclave of Gravesend, Brooklyn has been purchased by a New Jersey developer. According to reports, this developer shelled out over $5 million for the dilapidated corner property for the speculated purpose of building a hotel on the spot which would house part of the city’s homeless population.
According to a short report which recorded a property filing in July of 2019 on a web site that lists possible real estate acquisitions, it says that “permits have been filed for a four-story hotel at 2320 Coney Island Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. Located on the corner of Avenue T and Coney Island Avenue, the lot is five blocks west of the Avenue U subway station, serviced by the Q train.”
Under the 2320 Coney LLC, Nehalkumar Gandhi is listed as the owner behind the applications.
The report added: “The proposed 46-foot-tall development will yield 30,240 square feet, with 20,806 square feet designated for commercial space. The building will have 88 hotel rooms, with an average unit scope of 253 square feet. The concrete-based structure will also have a cellar and a 48-foot-long rear yard. Michael Kang Architect is listed as the architect of record. Demolition permits will likely not be needed as the lot is vacant. An estimated completion date has not been announced.”
While the tragic plight of the homeless pulls at our heart strings as it has sadly become a ubiquitous sight, (not only throughout the five boroughs of New York City but all over the country), the community in which this shelter may be built does have a right to voice their opinions on the safety of the neighborhood and the children who attend school nearby.
Yes, it is true. Mayor DeBlasio has vowed to substantially reduce the number of people living on the mean streets of New York City by 2022 and his goal is to build homeless hotels in all boroughs and not exclusively in run down neighborhoods.
The only problem with the mayor’s plan, however humane and altruistic it may be, is that is places longtime community residents in grave danger. It is noteworthy to mention that many people living in Gravesend were born and raised there and their parents, grandparents and even their great-grandparents have lived there. So, to say it is home in the truest sense of the word is quite an accurate description.
How will parents of children who either attend the Bet Yaakov School for Girls on Coney Island Avenue or the boys yeshiva just a few blocks from there feel when they must send their children to school every morning? Feeling concerned about one’s children is only natural. The fact that the rampant and abject poverty that spawned homelessness to begin with, inevitably results in violent crime, mental illness and health related issues for those who are plagued with this horrible situation.
The question at this juncture is when will leaders and community board members step up to the proverbial plate and challenge the questionable directives of the DeBlasio administration? When will our local elected officials arrange a meeting with the buyer of the property to inquire as to what his precise intentions are for this space?
An idea has been bandied about concerning the possible construction of an apartment building for recently married Sephardic couples who wish to live close to family and friends. The Jewish Voice wholeheartedly applauds this concept and suggests that the buyer be contacted with an offer to take this property off his hands as soon as possible.
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