Bay News building to become a tower

An iconic Sheepshead Bay building is losing the “news” and gaining a “tower.”

Work began this week to transform the former Bay News building — a windowless one-story gray structure on Sheepshead Bay Road between Shore Parkway and Voorhies Avenue that was the former home of this newspaper — into Bay Tower, an airy, 70-foot-tall, four-story office building with ground-floor retail.

“The location of the old Bay News building is a prime spot,” said developer Alex Finkelshteyn, who paid $3.1 million for the building in 2008. “This will be one of the most major and sought-after properties on Sheepshead Bay Road.”

Construction is expected to be completed in a year.

The project includes a valet-attended parking area in the rear of the building for approximately 60 cars — a welcome addition to the area, the developer said, as double-parking has long confounded the commercial strip. Extra parking spots will be made available, for a fee, to area businesses and residents.

The project is as-of-right, zoning parlance that means that it conforms with the area’s zoning and may proceed without a public review or special approvals.

“We don’t anticipate any opposition,” the developer said.

Theresa Scavo, the chairwoman of Community Board 15, wasn’t so sure.

“Once people start to see what is going up there, my phone will be ringing off the hook,” she predicted. “But not until they see the height.”

Finkelshteyn said the new building will not rise taller than its neighbors.

“This will be a presentable office structure,” he said.

Tenants have yet to be finalized, but the project will have a selling point the old property lacked. Architect Bob Palermo, a principal at Corporate Design of America, said the new building will feature front and side windows — an amenity absent in the old structure.