Tag Archives: Michael Wilner

CB5 chair: Glendale homeless shelter could be environmental nightmare


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Community concern caused by a rumored homeless shelter in Glendale may have been premature.

The site in question, 78-16 Cooper Avenue, “does not meet Building Code requirements for residential occupancy and, due to the age and condition and previous occupancies, could be an environmental nightmare,” Community Board 5 said in a release.

Rumors began circulating last week that the owner of the property, Michael Wilner, was in talks with a nonprofit that could potentially use the site for a homeless shelter.

No application for a shelter has been submitted, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) said.

“The building, which currently has several active Department of Building violations, may contain lead paint, asbestos and various PCB contaminants. The cost and time to convert this structure to a residential facility would be extensive and possibly twice as much as new construction,” Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB5 said.

The vacant factory currently has nine open Department of Building violations.

Prior occupants included an aircraft parts manufacturer, knitting mills, machine shops and Eastern Cabinet Company, Arcuri said, while adding there are rumors the facility was also used as part of the Manhattan Project.

“The site is located adjacent to a known Brownfield site and, due to its low elevation and location, may contain underground pockets of PERC (dry cleaning fluid) from the many defunct knitting mills in the area,” Arcuri said.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley came out against the site being used for a homeless shelter, saying the nearly 3 acre space should serve the community.

Wilner would not return requests for comment.

If Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an emergency condition, the site may be able to be used, however.

Nine new shelters have opened in the city recently, prompted by the homeless population’s record numbers. There are 43,774 people currently in homeless shelters, according to the DHS.

 

Possible Glendale homeless shelter met with opposition


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

A potential plan to house a homeless shelter in Glendale may be evicted before it even moves in.

Michael Wilner, the owner of the proposed site at 78-17 Cooper Avenue, has been in contact with a nonprofit agency, said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, with the idea of turning the former factory into a homeless shelter.

“The councilmember does not support any attempt to put a multiple dwelling shelter on Cooper Avenue and will do everything in her power to prevent it from opening,” said Lydon Sleeper, Crowley’s chief of staff. “Elizabeth has been pushing for that space to be a recreation and community center that serves the public and we will keep pursuing that with the city and the community.”

A Facebook page has also been created in opposition to the proposal.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has yet to receive an application for the site and Community Board 5 said they have not been contacted regarding the shelter.

Wilner refused to answer questions at the site or when reached by phone.

Any plans to transform the factory into a shelter are still in its infancy, said a source with knowledge of the situation. The long-vacant factory would need significant work before it would be ready for occupants.

The factory, zoned M1-1 for manufacturing, sits on a nearly three acre plot of land south of Cooper Avenue. The zoning also allows for hotels, an exemption the city has used before for homeless shelters, Crowley said.

Nine new shelters have opened in the city recently, prompted by the homeless population’s record numbers. There are 43,774 people currently in homeless shelters, according to the DHS.

The city has maintained an open-ended Request for Proposal (RFP) since 2006 to meet capacity needs, a DHS spokesperson said. The proposals move forward based on the number of individuals seeking temporary shelter.

According to Department of Finance records, the estimated market value of the land is $1,160,000.

Kathy Masi, president of the Glendale Civic Association, said she is still waiting on concrete information on the plans, which she believes may be further along than anyone is letting on.

“We really have no idea what’s in store for us,” Masi said. “Our direction right now is to find out exactly what’s going on.”

Masi said the best use for the land would be a park, noting its proximity to schools and the Atlas Park shopping complex.