Abandoned Condos Draw Dumping, Students
"They had better try and sell them on a dark night during the winter," one local wag joked at the time, adding that he could not believe that anybody would ever build homes next to the treatment plant, which often puts out smells that spread for miles on a hot summer day.
Locals are not laughing any longer. The condominium project that became a battle between the developer and the city has now turned into not only an eyesore, but a dangerous situation as well. Dumpers have been using the site to deposit their old furniture and construction debris and students from the nearby high school have been using the site as an unofficial clubhouse, locals say.
Last year, city officials said that the eyesore, which consists of more than a dozen abandoned, half-completed condo homes, would be bulldozed in early 2009 to make way for the storage of large equipment and pipes for the adjoining plant.
Officials from the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, in 2005, tried to buy the property, which was then an abandoned Kosher catering hall project that never got off the ground, but negotiations with the owner, identified as Yehuda Cohen, failed. Construction on the condos began in earnest in 2006, but several stopwork orders by the city's Department of Buildings put a halt to the work. The city finally condemned the property in March of 2007 and all work stopped at the site. "A lot of things went wrong here," said Jonathan Gaska, the District Manager for Community Board 14, last year. "Someone dropped the ball [in the original negotiations] inal negotiations] and [the Department of] Buildings should have never issued the permits [to begin construction]." And, although city officials said that demolition will begin in early 2009, some who live near the site have told The Wave that work continues on a sporadic basis.
Those neighbors, however, may have seen the dumping process rather than a construction process, some say.
City officials declined to provide a timetable for when demolition of the structures would begin.The condominium structures have been used, locals say, as a clubhouse for students cutting classes at Beach Channel High School across the street.