2007-02-09 / Editorial/Opinion

Build, Or Get Off The Plot

It was a year ago this week that Steve Good, the owner of the Rockaway Sunset Diner, announced that he was closing down the last diner in Rockaway. At the time, he would not say to whom he had sold the building or for how much and speculation was rampant on the west end of the peninsula. The eatery actually closed in mid-February of last year and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. It was later revealed that the property was slated for an HSBC bank branch with a couple of drive-in windows. That was 2006 and this is 2007. With the exception of stripping the property of anything that had value and removing the air conditioning unit from the roof, the building stands today as it did a year ago - forlorn and useful only as a parking lot for people who work in the Beach 116 Street stores. A quick perusal of the Department of Buildings website reveals that no permits have been either sought or issued for work on that piece of property. We have to wonder why HSBC has not started demolition of the diner building or construction of its bank branch. Certainly, in an entire year, there should be some indication of interest in the property on the part of the bank or the developer who bought the plot. That land is too valuable to the community to remain fallow for more than a year. All we can say to the bank is build, or get off the plot and let somebody else do it.

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