Rising to the demand for housing and small business in Kew Gardens Hills, VP Capital Holdings is answering the need with an architecturally distinctive building on Vleigh Place. As we all know, the younger generation is leaving the neighborhood due to lack of housing. We also know that homeowners cannot afford to pay high taxes and don’t want to be bothered with the maintenance of aged homes in the neighborhood, which is very costly.
After many discussions with community leaders on the civic scene and local elected officials, the developer is making a huge compromise by increasing from 22 two-bedroom units originally planned to 60 units. This will significantly reduce income for the developer. The developer is also working with the community regarding parking and traffic concerns with a loading dock where moving companies and ambulances can access the building using a side entrance that will have direct access to an elevator. This new third elevator was introduced based on the community’s needs and will also function as a Shabbat elevator for religious residents.
The developer also compromised by providing free of charge parking for those living in the building which will also alleviate the pressure of parking on the streets, along with valet parking service for the convenience of residents and their guests. The total number of parking spots inside the building will be approximately 130 to 200 depending on the time of the day. There are also approximately 24 spaces which surround the building on Vleigh Place, 77th Road, and 78th Avenue.
History on Vleigh Place location
For three years this site was empty and for sale. Nobody wanted to buy it due to the contamination of the soil. The Matatov firm took the responsibility with supervision from the state to clean and remove contaminated soil. This effort passed certification which took approximately two years’ time to complete. Prior to purchasing, the developer met with the local councilman and the Department of City Planning to understand the community’s needs. After planning the development and various meetings, the city planning gave the development the go-ahead for rezoning. So far, the developer has invested more than four years in the neighborhood and a significant amount of assets.
To make up for the purchase of the site and the cost of the cleanup, the developer is seeking to erect an 8-story mixed-use building that will contain 43,608 square feet of commercial space, 10,433 square feet for a community facility, and approximately 119 residential units, of which 25 to 30 percent would be permanently affordable based on the median income of the neighborhood.
With the Stepping Stone Day School across the street from the construction site, construction is paused during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up, and a flag person directs traffic around the buses and the construction site. “This school is our neighbor. We do not build when children are coming off the bus,” developer Avi Matatov said.
Among the concerns that come with new residential units and businesses is parking, and the Vleigh development responds by exceeding the minimum number of spaces required by the zoning code. “It will have 130-200 parking spaces, which is more than enough. The zoning here only requires 42 spots.”
The city’s approval of this project followed nearly 1 ½ years of investigation into traffic and environmental concerns.
“On the Community Board there were members who supported the Vleigh project and now they’re getting angry phone calls,” Matatov said. “They listened to my presentation and recognized that it fits into the fabric of the community, specifically where the developer compromised on many items which weren’t originally planned.”
The developer and his family are longtime residents of Queens, respected by their neighbors, and active community organizations. Their mission is to deliver on their promises. We know this new “GEM” in our neighborhood will satisfy the community’s needs.