No-tel! East Flatbush locals, pols rally against new inn going up in nabe

No-tel! East Flatbush locals, pols rally against new inn going up in nabe
Kevin Fagan

They want this hotel developer to check out!

A builder must stop work on its in-progress inn rising along Kings Highway in East Flatbush, locals and pols demanded at a recent protest.

Roughly 30 opponents including Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush) and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D–Flatbush) came together on Nov. 10 to blast the out-of-town developer for erecting the hotel on land between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road, a historically industrial area where visitors seldom want to spend the night, according to Williams.

“This is not an area that needs hotels, this is not a destination spot for tourists,” he said.

The lodge’s lot is bordered by the busy Kings Highway and a freight-train track, and surrounded by auto-repair shops and scrap yards, with few amenities and subway and bus stations nearby.

In August, Department of Buildings bigwigs approved Queens-based developer Sandhu Builders’s plans to construct the three-story hotel on the property, which is owned by Long Island–based firm Kings Hwy NY LLC, records show.

But any building that goes up there should benefit locals — not visitors — according to a neighborhood leader, who said the developer should scrap the project and instead erect a commercial facility such as a grocery store that would improve residents’ everyday lives.

“We want something here that will benefit the community on both sides,” said Roy McKenzie, who runs neighborhood-improvement group the E. 59th Street United Block Association.

Weinstein echoed McKenzie’s criticism, saying no constituent has requested an inn in the neighborhood in her decades representing it in Albany, and that officials should first prioritize other projects, including the development of more so-called affordable housing in the area.

“In my 30-plus years of representing this community, not a soul has come to me to say, ‘We need a hotel,’ ” she said. “This is not an asset that our community has asked for, or needs.”

And critics expressed concerns that the out-of-the-way location of the so-called “transient hotel” could bring undesirable activity to the neighborhood, with Williams noting some residents’ concerns that it could turn into a hot-sheet hotel for bad actors looking to get up to no good.

The East Flatbush residents aren’t the only Brooklynites up in arms over new lodges going up in neighborhoods where locals say they don’t belong.

Civic gurus on Community Board 7 established a committee to address the city’s habit of turning newly built Sunset Park hotels into homeless shelters, a trend Mayor DeBlasio promised to phase out by 2023, two years after his second term wraps.

And Mill Basinites in 2015 rallied against an inn rising there, which they feared would also become a hot-sheet hotbed.

But that hotel, like the Kings Highway project, was built as of right, meaning there was little opponents could legally do to stop it.

Still, McKenzie said he has no plans to stop protesting the East Flatbush inn.

“We are going to picket, we are going to talk, we are going to do what is necessary to stop it,” he said.

The property owner could not be reached, and reps for the developer did not return a request for comment by press time.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Not very scenic: The lot between Foster Avenue and Farragut Road is bordered by the busy thoroughfare Kings Highway, a freight train track, and is surrounded by auto repair shops and scrap yards.
Photo by Kevin Duggan