Manhattan-based real estate company Wildflower LTD’s application for a three-story, 235,234-square-foot building on a 10.71 acre parcel at 253-51 Rockaway Blvd. in Woodmere was deemed “complete” by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and ready for the next step in the process.
A final DEC decision on the application is expected “as soon as possible,” according to DEC spokesman Bill Fonda.
Roughly one mile from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens the site was previously a long-term parking lot for the airport. It is adjacent to the Five Towns Shopping Center and a Lowe’s Home Improvement store.
Originally submitted to the DEC on April 4, the application for what is being called JFK Logistics received its positive ruling on Oct. 23. Its impact on the surrounding environment is negligible based on its negative State Environmental Quality Review declaration. Nearby an unrelated project, the construction of a Chick-fil-A, is under way.
“JFK Logistics Center LLC applied for a DEC tidal wetlands permit,” said DEC Public Participation Specialist, Aphrodite Montalvo. “The DEC has determined that the application is complete, meaning sufficient information has been submitted to begin DEC’s and the public’s review of the proposed permit.” A DEC tidal wetlands permit is required for areas where the land meets a waterway.
The public review includes a public comment period that was open from Oct. 23 to Nov. 7. “It should be noted that if DEC issues the permit, it will not relieve the applicant of the responsibility for obtaining any necessary permits or approvals from other agencies or local municipalities,” Montalvo said.
The proposal includes warehouse and office space, and self-storage uses. A one-story, coffee kiosk will also be at the southern end of the property along Rockaway Boulevard.
The coffee kiosk is planned to be 550-square-feet in size and include a drive-thru that can fit up to 20 cars. Wildflower Managing Partner Adam Gordon, the self-described coffee fan, has been overseeing the project.
“As an avid coffee enthusiast, I thought what would be better than developing our own coffee kiosk,” Gordon said. “I look at this as giving back to the community by providing them with world-class coffee.”
With the project having received approval from the Town of Hempstead’s Building Department and with the public comment period wrapping up, Gordon is not waiting long to begin construction, saying he anticipates breaking ground on Nov. 15 and is aiming to complete all the work by the end of next year.
He added that the warehouse and coffee kiosk tenants have not been found yet. “The warehouse and the coffee kiosk will both be leased out on a long-term basis,” he said. “We are still in the process of getting tenants for both the warehouse and the coffee kiosk.”
Though the public comment period began a scant two weeks, Fonda said the deadline is a hard one. “Public comments must be received no later than Nov. 7, 2019,” he said. “The DEC will consider all comments received prior to issuing a final decision on the application.”
Comments will be collected by Cherie Aicher at (631) 444-0403 or SUNY Stony Brook, 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook, N.Y. 11790. As of press time, no public comments had been received, Fonda said.