Sheepshead Bay residents reject 14-story, eco-friendly senior center

Sheepshead Bay residents reject 14-story, eco-friendly senior center
A 14-story commercial and elder care facility proposed for 1508 Avenue Z incorporating floodproofing and environmentally-friendly features is awaiting approvals.
Citiscape Consultants

Sheepshead Bay civic gurus blasted a developer’s scheme to build a 14-story elder-care facility on Avenue Z, with one local claiming the would-be builder’s are nuts to assume community members would support such a massive senior center.

“These people throw things that are totally out of the realm of reality,” said Cliff Bruckenstein, a Community Board 15 member. “It would create a traffic jam that this neighborhood has never seen before!”

Developer SB1 Holdings LLC wants to build an eco-friendly, mixed-use long-term-care facility at 1508 Avenue Z near E. 15th Street, which would features commercial space on its ground floor and 88 living units with 110 beds on floors four and up. The second and third floors ofthe property are planned to incorporate community space for residents and additional space needed to operate the facility.

But the developers need the city to rezone the property before they can build their cutting-edge medical tower up to 14 stories, and locals serving on Community Board 15 voted unanimously against the measure at a meeting on Oct. 30, recommending the city shoot down the application to raise the 6,642-square-foot lot’s building envelope.

In addition to the size, locals questioned the wisdom of housing seniors spitting distance from a subway line — the property is right next to the B and Q lines — saying some of facility’s less mentally fit residents may be disturbed by the noise.

“What you are doing is just plain wrong to people that are not only in a long-term facility but also may have cognitive disorders and are more susceptible to sounds and need more attention,” said Maurice Kolodin.

An attorney for the developer, David Rosenberg, justified the applicant’s request for heavy variances by claiming that no developer could profit off the lot building as-of-right, noting contractors would have to install a pricey retaining wall to prop up the nearby subway tracks until construction had finished, along with other difficulties associated with the parcel’s meager size.

“We calculated it would result in a net loss of negative 6.6 percent if constructed to code,” the attorney said.

And erecting an eco-friendly building — outfitted with trees, a water retention system and a carbon dioxide-absorbing facade — would enhance the surrounding area, while ridding the area of the eyesore that is in place, according to Rosenberg.

“It will take out what is really an eyesore and bring in some productive development,” Rosenberg said.

Just because the community shot it down doesn’t mean SB1’s rezoning application is dead in the water. The board’s recommendation is purely advisory, and Borough President Eric Adams and the City Planning Commission will get to weigh in on the proposal, before Councilman Chaim Deutsch ultimately approves, or kills it amid a council vote next year.

Reach reporter Jessica Parks at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jparks@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @_JessicaParks.
The proposed facade for the long-term care facility will absorb carbon dioxide.
Cityscape Architectural Consultants