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Queens Chronicle

Collapsed building is to be torn down soon

Pol: Progress made at Woodhaven site

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:30 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Thu Jan 30, 2014.

The Woodhaven building that collapsed nine months ago, damaging the neighborhood’s ambulance corps and senior center, could be demolished soon.

The vacant two-storey structure at 78-19 Jamaica Ave. partially imploded on April 12 of last year, crushing at least one vehicle. No one was injured.

Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) said at last weekend’s meeting of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association that the owner of the building has been fined, has paid the fines — over $18,000 total — and is working with a contractor to tear the building down.

“I know that the owner of the building paid the fine,” he said. “I know that he hired an architect to work on plans for the building. I know we’ve gotten to that point. It took a long time, but I think he’s working on it. He’s doing something and the Buildings Department did put pressure on him.”

The 110-year-old building at the corner of 79th Street and Jamaica Avenue was issued a vacate order in February 2012, when the DOB noted structural flaws, including bricks missing from the facade.

The collapse badly damaged the kitchen area of the adjacent Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps, forcing the closure of the ambulance corps building and relocation of the Woodhaven Senior Center, which had just moved into the location a year earlier.

The senior center, operated by Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, was merged with the Ozone Park Senior Center for six months. It reopened at a temporary location last October in the American Legion Post #118 hall at 89-02 91 St. Several seniors have complained about the location because of its distance from public transportation and the size of the building, which is much smaller.

The corps itself is operating out of its garage only, which was undamaged. The situation is another financial setback for the cash-strapped corps, which pays for its operations partially with the rent from the senior center.

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