2007-03-23 / Community

Sunset Diner Demolished Soon, Says Notice

By Brian Magoolaghan

The old Rockaway Sunset Diner could be demolished any day now, according to a recent notice sent out by the owner's project manager.

While an exact date has not been announced and the city hasn't issued a demolition permit for the property, which is located at 116-01 Beach Channel Drive, the so-called "five day notice" was sent to Community Board 14 on March 15. The Wave obtained a copy of the letter under the Freedom of Information Law.

"This is to advise you that the demolition work will commence at the above referenced site on/after five working days from receipt of this notice," says the letter, a legal formality.

The notice was prepared by KM Associates of New York, a Manhattan-based consulting group that specializes in building code and zoning law. Their client roster includes the City of New York, Macy's, Sony Music Entertainment, Verizon, Lancome and many others, according to the company's website.

A similar letter from another architectural firm was sent out on May 18, 2006 and was reported in The Wave under the headline, "Diner's Demolition, You Can Bank On It". While the diner wasn't demolished last summer, as our source close to the project said it would, HSBC bank recently said it leased the property and will one day open a new branch at the location.

The former diner property has recently come under scrutiny due to its deteriorating condition. The Wave reported late last month that three doors at the property were removed - allowing anyone to stroll right in. A Wave reporter noted potentially dangerous conditions inside and the presence of vulgar graffiti on the exterior walls and vagrants outside.

HSBC and the property's owner, Jeff Sutton of Wharton Realty in Manhattan, both claimed this month that their hands were tied with regard to sealing the property and keeping it from deteriorating into an eyesore.

The Department of Buildings slapped a "stop work" order on the property and sealed the building last month after it received complaints via 311.

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