Kingsbridge apartment building plans get favorable ruling

September 12, 2011 01:45PM

Residents in Van Cortland Village in the Bronx have lost a fight with
GRA V over development plans at Giles Place, Crain’s reported. In
2004, the Fort Independence Park Neighborhood Association had
successfully petitioned the city to have the neighborhood rezoned to
allow only single- and two-family homes to be added to a mix that
includes some apartment houses. But as soon as the changes were
approved, GRA V started constructing its apartment building at 3329-3333 Giles Place, to
complete the foundation in the ground before the new rules could take
effect.

Neighbors said the rushed construction went into the night,
and that the developer did the demolition without proper asbestos
abatement. “This is a particularly egregious example of where the
developer did everything wrong and the neighborhood did everything
right,” said Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, whose district includes
Giles Place. “The property was bought with the simple vision to build a
multi-family building,” said Jordan Most, a lawyer with Sheldon Lobel
who represents GRA V. “When it became clear the zoning change was
afoot, construction proceeded fast because [the developer] was trying
to protect his investment.” In 2004, the Department of Buildings
stopped work after discovering that the building’s foundation read too
far On The Sidewalk And The Road, in violation of local ordinances. In
2005, the department revoked one of the building permits.

But in
August, in response to a an appeal by GRA V, the Board of Standards
and Appeals ruled that GRA V had invested enough money in the project
and had installed enough of the foundation prior to the zoning change
to establish a “vested right to complete construction.” FIPA may take
the issue to court, and vows to report any further violation.
[Crain’s]