Developer looking to turn vacant Park Ave. building into apartments

Zoning board considering proposal to convert former LBMC office space into rental units


The Zoning Board of Appeals is expected to vote Thursday on a developer’s request to convert a vacant Park Avenue office building into 23 rental apartments, after its main tenant, the Long Beach Medical Center, closed after Hurricane Sandy.

In December, the building’s owner, Alan Pilevsky, principal of LBH 249 LLC, appeared before the zoning board seeking approval to turn the existing four-story building at 249 E. Park Ave. — next door to New York Sports Club — into an apartment dwelling consisting of 14 studio and nine one-bedroom units.

The building is located in a commercial zone, and Pilevsky is seeking approval for residential use, as well as front yard, height and off-street parking variances to refurbish the building.

Christian Browne, an attorney for Pilevsky, told the board that the building’s proximity to the city’s downtown area, train station and beach would appeal to the young professionals and singles Pilevsky hopes to attract. Studios would rent for $1,150 to $1,250 a month, while the monthly rent for one-bedrooms would range from $1,500 to $1,600.

“It really lends itself well to that type of housing, which I think is in need here in the city,” Browne said. “It is an area in the city where you don't have the density that you do further down to the west. … [W]e think this is an appropriate place for residential use.”

Some residents who live near the building, however, expressed a number of concerns, mainly about parking and quality of life issues, especially since the building shares a parking lot with the adjacent gym.

“The biggest issue for me changing this building from a commercial building to residential is that you are talking about 24 hours of noise pollution, population density, people coming and going,” said Kimberly Vesey, who lives on East Chester Street, behind the property. “When it is a commercial building, there were not really too many issues because we were working during the day as the building is being used. All the residents that live directly behind the building weren't directly impacted by the comings and goings.”

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