Locals push back against Emmons Avenue condo design

Emmons enclave: The plans for the seven-story tower that will replace the El Greco diner include ground-floor retail shops, a pedestrian plaza, and a pool — construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in six to nine months.
GFI Realty Services, Incorporated

Condos or condon’ts?

The design for the new seven-story condo building set to replace Emmons Avenue’s iconic El Greco diner which shuttered last year has some residents calling for the developers to go back to the drawing board.

The president of the Committee to Save Sheepshead Bay started a petition to convince Rybak Developers, which purchased the property for $13 million, to change their plans because, he says, the current design clashes with the character of the neighborhood.

“We’re not against the development of the building — we’re against the design of this building,” said Ed Cheney, who said the building resembled public housing. “To be quite honest, it has the look of the projects.”

The plans for the development, which will be larger than nine basketball courts, include a ground-floor retail shops, a pedestrian plaza, and a pool. The chairwoman of Community Board 15 said the board is meeting with the developer and his attorney, Eric Palatnik, on April 13 to discuss the building.

“They are going to bring design plans,” said CB 15 chairwoman Theresa Scavo, adding that she doesn’t want to comment on the design until after the meeting.

Cheney said 200 people have already signed the design-change petition — and he said he plans on collecting even more signatures.

“That was sort of an hors d’oeuvre,” he said.

A member of CB15 agreed that the building doesn’t fit the neighborhood’s character, but he said as long as the construction adheres to the zoning regulations, the board can’t stop the developer — especially because the neighborhood doesn’t have a uniform apartment style.

“It is an extremely modern-looking building, and does it fit in? Not exactly,” said Cliff Bruckenstein, a member of the board. “But there are other apartment buildings … we can’t stop every one.”

Cheney said he isn’t trying to halt the construction — he simply wants a new design more amenable the residents of the seaside neighborhood.

“To have that building be at the heart of the bay, we thought that was just not right,” he said.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.

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