Parking plans worry Sunnyside designer 1

Designer Steve Madden, which has had operations in Sunnyside for nearly three decades, reportedly is concerned that a housing project proposed by Phipps Houses in a parking lot would remove parking for its employees.

Phipps Houses, a noprofit housing developer, may have made a fashion faux pas in its effort to build 167 units of affordable housing on a parking lot it owns in Sunnyside.

The New York Post reported that Steve Madden, the designer shoe company, may be looking to leave its Sunnyside headquarters on Barnett Avenue, as many of its 400 employees use spaces that the fashion giant rents.

Phipps is seeking to have the city approve a zoning change for the parking lot at 50-25 Barnett Ave., adjacent to the Long Island Rail Road tracks.

The company has owned and operated the Phipps Garden Apartments across the street for decades.

The proposed building would be at least six stories tall, and it has been a source of controversy among many area residents, some of whom have accused Phipps of being a poor landlord or a bad neighbor over the years.

But the developer’s rezoning request did win approval from Community Board 2 back in December by a vote of 28-13, and the City Council approved the plan last week.

The Chronicle was not able to reach Andrew Luskin, an attorney representing Steve Madden, or officials with Phipps Houses for comment prior to Wednesday’s deadline.

The Post quoted Luskin as saying that Steve Madden, which has been in Sunnyside for 28 years, isn’t opposed to affordable housing, and is just interested in maintaining available parking.

He also said Madden employees patronize neighborhood businesses and support community causes in the area.

The paper quoted a Phipps spokesman as saying that parking will be a part of the new development.


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