A closed-door meeting between the developers of a controversial tower and selected local leaders raised more questions than answers about the plan to demolish the Trump Village Shopping Center, said a local pol who attended.
Representatives of Rubin Schron, the owner of the shopping center, met with a few members of Community Board 13 and a handful of elected officials and their staffers privately on Nov. 17 to discuss the plans to replace the center with an as-of-right 40-story tower.
The site — a former manufactured gas plant — is still contaminated with mercury and cyanide, but an elected official said in addition to chemical concerns, he has many other worries about building on the site.
“Number one is health — and quality of life, traffic, congestion,” said Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), who attended the meeting. “These are serious concerns. We want to make it very clear to them that these are concerns that must be met.”
The plans for the tower include replacing the current shopping strip with a residential building that has “upscale” shops and restaurants on the ground floor. The owner’s representatives told attendees that some of the complex’s current essential shops and offices — like the post office — will be relocated to a vacant building that is adjacent to the center.
The representatives also said that the tower would have ample parking for residents and include as many spaces as units in addition to a dedicated lot specifically for shop patrons.
But Treyger said there were no plans for upgrading local infrastructure or the over-taxed sewer system, and there were no representatives from any current tenants there to confirm Schron’s promises that some would be relocated.
Treyger was also taken aback that the meeting didn’t include representatives from National Grid, which is responsible for cleaning up the site, or from the Department of Environmental Conservation, an overseer of the cleanup.
A source close to the developer said the owner would work under the guidance of the relevant environmental authorities — and added that the clean up of the contaminated site would ultimately improve the entire area.
But Treyger said that while the cleanup is underway, the senior population that makes up a large part of the neighborhood will be especially susceptible to health threats.
“We’re dealing with a very vulnerable population,” he said. “There are serious health concerns that we have to have addressed.”
Another elected official said he is insisting that Schron’s representatives share the plans at a public meeting so members of the community can voice their opinions about the plans.
“I stressed to them a number of times — they need to bring them to a public meeting,” said Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay), who added he is trying to schedule something for after Thanksgiving.
“I thank them for meeting with elected officials, but this is just a start. It is critical for them to have an open dialogue and have community dialogue.”