We have all become painfully familiar with the many buildings in our neighborhood that are surrounded by scaffolding. This article deals with one site in particular and it fits the description of the good, bad and ugly.
The good would be the fact that the scaffolding has been removed, the bad relates to the fact that after two years nothing tangible was done to rehabilitate the buildings and the ugly deals with the reality that without the scaffolding the sealed and closed businesses look even more ominous.
I speak of the vacant businesses located on Woodhaven Boulevard from 63 Road south to Dana Court in Rego Park. With the exception of the still open and thriving Bridies Restaurant which is located at 6328 Woodhaven Boulevard, all the businesses south of that location are empty, and in terrible condition, the result of rents being raised to the point that discouraged tenants from renewing their leases. Some of the abandoned storefront businesses have tenants living in the upper floor. Also part of this ownership is the apartment house with the address 8453 Dana Court, just around the corner from Woodhaven Boulevard.
We did contact Ken Lazar of the Department of Buildings (DOB). He's our neighborhood liaison for information about DOB issues. He told me that there was a permit issued for the scaffolding and sidewalk shed but for general maintenance on the buildings such as pointing the brickwork, no permit is required. He also said that since the businesses facing Woodhaven Boulevard are sealed and closed, many with their iron gates down, the DOB couldn't do anything with them. He said that any mold issues should be reported to the Health Department.
With regard to the property at 8453 Dana Court, Ken Lazar stated that ownership will be putting a new heating unit into that building.
We did speak to a tenant in one of the storefront buildings and she was totally critical of management. She said they've never done anything productive with the site and the only thing you can count on is the fact that they are disinterested absentee landlords and they are liars! Another tenant told the same story of no work being done on the buildings. They even spoke of mold in some of the apartments.
As of this writing and after complaints by the Juniper Park Civic Association we have started to see some maintenance of the site being done by building ownership, Keystone Properties.
In the meantime the JPCA is attempting to get more information from the owner, Highpoint Associates, LLC, Keystone Properties located at 16165 Ventura Blvd. Ste 1, Sherman Oaks California, 91403-3373.
There is no question that when there is this much blight in any neighborhood it is a prelude to further decay. That means we all have to stay vigilant, elected officials as well as the local civic associations and not let these buildings deteriorate any further. The location is a lucrative business site and should be turning a profit albeit in a tough economy. We in Middle Village do not have any tolerance for absentee slumlords who neglect their properties.
On a bright note we do know that Bridies Restaurant is thriving well and when we spoke to Bridies' owner, James Munson, he said he looks forward to sprucing up his restaurant now that the scaffolds are gone. As we all know Bridies has been around a long time and the food is consistently good. We should all make an effort to patronize this neighborhood restaurant and make them feel welcome since they're in such a negative environment courtesy of neglect from their buildings' ownership.