Business owners and community members near 29th Street and Astoria Boulevard in Astoria see the freshly paved parking lot like a tease — something they can look at but can’t park in.
About five years back a city parking lot was sold. Now in its place sits the George Douris Tower, an apartment building and senior center run by the social services nonprofit Hanac.
Next to the tower, the nonprofit built a parking lot — meant for residents and the public — about two thirds the size of the previous lot.
But neighbors of the space don’t have concerns about less room, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said, because the lot wasn’t fully utilized before. They just want access.
According to a worker at the Hanac security desk, who wished to stay anonymous, the lot has stayed empty because Con Edison equipment is in the way.
“They took out the pole, but the box is still there,” she said.
Removing it has to be coordinated or inspected by Con Ed, Verizon, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department of Buildings before the facility can open, Vallone said.
He called the project a “bureaucratic nightmare,” saying, “I’m as upset as the business owners.”
“We are loosing money every day,” Victor Kassi, the owner of Domenick’s Wine and Spirits located across the street from the lot, said.
Down the block at the Istria Sports Club — a restaurant and community center for individuals from Istria, Croatia’s peninsula in the Adriatic Sea — the president of the senior women’s group, Maria Santalesa, said the group is losing members every day.
“That’s the only parking lot around and parking is very, very bad here,” Santalesa said. “They said it would be open in September, but now it’s February.”
Regular metered parking is available on the street, but Santalesa said those spots are hard to get.
The manager of the senior center in the Hanac building said they don’t have an issue with the parking lot because most of their members walk or take public transportation.
The Hanac employee said the nonprofit expects the lot to be open — for a fee — by May.