2010-11-12 / Community

Shopping Center Revitalization Moving Along

By Miriam Rosenberg

New gates are installed at Thriftway Drugs by workers from Thompson Overhead Door Co., Inc. on October 29. New gates are installed at Thriftway Drugs by workers from Thompson Overhead Door Co., Inc. on October 29. Following years of neglect and broken promises, the Far Rockaway Shopping Center is finally showing signs of revitalization. The owner of the property, Rita Stark, has hired several contractors to spruce up the place and pull the site out of the doldrums.

“I have been involved in several aspects of its renovations since last November,” Jimmy Seiferheld, the owner of Coastal Siding, Inc., told The Wave. “During the past year there have been several other contractors also involved with the shopping center upgrade.”

Work that Seiferheld’s company has done includes roofing repairs, rebuilding of awnings near the Associated Supermarket, removal of signs and redoing all the store fa├žades, and repainting of buildings and working gates.

“It has been improving,” said Seiferheld, a retired police officer who grew up in Rockaway. “[But] it seems that nobody wants to rent [the stores].”

Graffiti-free gates and walls now adorn the Far Rockaway Shopping Center. Graffiti-free gates and walls now adorn the Far Rockaway Shopping Center. He added that “a couple of stores are cleaned up and ready to go.”

Among the other contractors who have done work at the shopping center is Thompson Overhead Door Co., Inc. which installed new gates inside the shopping center and in the back.

Residents have noticed the improvements. In a letter to the editor in our September 3 issue, Norman Silverman wrote, “Far Rockaway residents and visitors saw a visible change in the center on Mott Avenue this week. Workers were cleaning trash out of stores [at the shopping center] and painting the steel gates on the empty stores.”

In August Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, said that Stark was “looking for [financial] help from the city. I know the councilman was involved in trying to get it going.”

Also this summer, a source told The Wave that the discussions on potential developers had begun.

Councilman James Sanders Jr. began the renovation process when he met with Stark earlier this year after the owner allowed the site to go into decline over the last 30 years. Sanders’ office did not respond to requests for comment for this article, keeping to the Councilman’s promise of not giving constant updates to the press.

“We don’t negotiate in the press. This is not for public relations,” said Sanders, as he stressed the importance of the issue at a meeting with area residents this summer. “This is serious. We either win or lose right here. You won’t hear about it. It’s too serious … I won’t risk it.”

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