Rego reconstruction plan draws nearer 1

The area at 98-81 Queens Blvd. may look very different in several years, as RJ Capital Holdings is planning a 16-story mixed-use building.

Community Board 6’s Prameet Kumar acknowledged that plans to demolish the Tower Diner and Ohr Natan synagogue in Rego Park has been met with some pushback.

“I know there’s a bit of controversy around this site so any community members who want to submit a statement about this development have the opportunity to do so at a future public hearing once the project is certified,” Kumar, the board’s Land Use Committee vice chairman, said during last Wednesday’s virtual meeting.

He said the committee had met with the applicant, in an informational session to review the plan, not to vote on it.

A 16-story mixed-use building is planned for 98-81 Queens Blvd. by RJ Capital Holdings. That would mean the demolition of the existing buildings on the block, including the diner and Ohr Natan Synagogue.

More than 2,650 people have signed a petition on change.org hoping to save the block from demolition.

“There is no timing as to when this would begin or end construction just because there hasn’t even been a formal proposal yet,” Kumar said.

He also noted that the Landmarks Preservation Commission said the site, which it reviewed years earlier, is not eligible for landmarking. Some hoping to save the site saw landmarking as a solution.

In other board business, Peter Beadle of the Transportation Committee spoke of some possible safety measures.

One issue, according to Beadle, is Kessel Street, a one way that runs from Union Turnpike to Yellowstone Boulevard. The problem is people coming off Union Turnpike and speeding through.

Beadle said residents on 75th Road and Union Turnpike are asking the Department of Transportation — which previously rejected an all way stop on 75th and Kessel — for a fix, including by starting a petition to study changing the direction of Kessel Street for one block so it would run from 75th Road to Union Turnpike instead of the other way around.

Beadle said he learned the DOT is studying another idea, possibly changing the geometry of Kessel Street.

“Maybe square the turn to slow drivers down,” he said.

The committee approved a formal request to the DOT to study reversing the one block, changing the geometry or both.

Beadle also said lots of concerns have been raised about Union Turnpike.

“It borders along Forest Park as well and it’s a bit of a barrier to get from the neighborhood to Forest Hills into the park,” he said. “There’s a lot of access issues.”

He said he would like the board to request the DOT to study the possibility of a street redesign to improve safety, and maybe installing bike lanes along the turnpike.

CB 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio said the request had already been made.

The board also approved liquor license applications for Gabriel’s at 90-17 63 Drive in Rego Park and DFG LIC, LLC at 108-22 Queens Blvd. in Forest Hills.

Renewal license applications were approved for the following six businesses:

• Metro Taco at 102-15 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills;

• West Side Tennis Club Terrace Bar & Inside Bar at One Tennis Place in Forest Hills;

• Alberto Secondo at 98-31 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills;

• Mojo at 70-20 Austin St. in Forest Hills.

• Village Grill at 73-01 Yellowstone Blvd. in Forest Hills; and

• Tower Diner at 98-95 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park.

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