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The team behind the Cherry Hill Gourmet Restaurant and Market to open in Lundy’s has finally revealed why it ripped up part of the historic building’s exterior – it didn’t know the building was landmarked.
Apparently, the architect hired for the project never checked city records.
“Our architect did not do that,” project manager Anthony Kelley told residents at last week’s Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association meeting, which was held in the famed Emmons Avenue building.
As a result, workers replaced the concrete in front of the building with small, colored tiles and installed a black iron railing near Lundy’s main entrance.
“The awnings were taken down and the outside was started – yes, our fault,” Kelley admitted.
That resulted in a stop-work order, which was recently lifted.
Now, the railing must be removed.
“The railing outside is illegal. They never got a permit for it,” Kelley acknowledged.
As for the tiles, Kelley said it’s up to the community. If residents want the tiles removed, workers will do so. If residents want the tiles to stay, the Cherry Hill team will head to court to fight to keep the illegal stone work.
Kelley and his workers had removed the Lundy’s signs. They’ve been repainted and will soon be reinstalled.
“The outside of the building will be restored back to new and will look exactly as it did years ago,” Kelley said.
Preserving the Lundy’s building has been a major concern of community residents.
Since construction work began more than a year ago, the Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic has received “numerous complaints and questions about the desecration of our landmark,” said civic President Kathy Flynn.
There’s also the question of whether or not the gourmet market is a suitable fit for the Lundy’s building since supermarkets are prohibited under Emmons Avenue’s special district zoning laws, which were established in 1973 to transform Sheepshead Bay into a fishing village.
“If the zoning says you can’t do it, then why should you be allowed to do that? That sets a precedent for the city of New York,” said Steve Barrison, president of the Bay Improvement Group.
Those wanting to uphold the special district restrictions should focus on Emmons Avenue’s other new developments, particularly condominiums, asserted civic members.
“There’s so many buildings and developments that have deteriorated Sheepshead Bay. That’s something to get excited about. Not this,” said Laura LaPlant.
Kelley said the business the market will generate will help keep the entire Cherry Hill establishment afloat financially. He noted that in the current economic crisis, it’s unlikely that a developer could open only a restaurant in the Lundy’s building.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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