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Riverdale address brings Kingsbridge a mess

The developer of a large residential building on the border of Riverdale and Kingsbridge boasts a Riverdale Avenue address but wants to roll 150 cars down Irwin Avenue in Kingsbridge.

North Manhattan Construction Corporation has asked the Board of Standards and Appeals for permission to build and rent 67 more parking spots than zoning laws allow at its building, under construction at the triangle intersection of Irwin and Riverdale avenues. North Manhattan has argued that unexpected construction expenses will render the building unprofitable if the BSA nixes the additional spots. Community Board 8 is opposed to the plan.

So are some residents of Irwin Avenue, who attended a Tuesday, September 22 BSA hearing. Martha Rodriguez owns an apartment at Irwin Avenue and W. 232nd Street.

“Irwin Avenue is a safe side street, one-way [between Riverdale Avenue and W. 232nd Street],” Rodriguez said. “There are too many children in the neighborhood. To add 150 cars would be unacceptable.”

North Manhattan needs to build the garage, lawyer Joshua Rinesmith countered. It has encountered three “hardships”. First, the property is steep. Second, its soil is watered down. Third, it abuts the Riverdale Avenue retaining wall that collapsed in 2002. These items pushed North Manhattan to spend more money than anticipated and dig an additional floor below ground. It wants to use that floor as a garage.

Rodriguez thinks that the 150-car garage would clog Irwin Avenue, pump exhaust into the air and affect property values. The garage wouldn’t result in congestion, Rinesmith said. North Manhattan originally planned to build 26 condos but has altered its blueprint to 46 residential units. Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, who opposed North Manhattan at the BSA hearing, suspects that the units will be rented.

“People in the neighborhood shouldn’t have to suffer the consequences of [North Manhattan’s] stupidity,” Dinowitz said.

North Manhattan wants to charge $300 a month for the additional parking spots, Dinowitz added. Even if there were demand for parking, the garage wouldn’t be affordable to Kingsbridge residents, he said. The garage needs to empty onto Irwin Avenue because North Manhattan would lose two floors to ramps if it were to empty onto Riverdale Avenue. The residential units will be market-rate, Rinesmith said. Dinowtiz fears North Manhattan would rent parking spots to a limousine or taxi outfit; that would be illegal, Rinesmith said.

Whether or not the BSA permits the additional spots, Irwin Avenue homeowner Manny Delgado dislikes North Manhattan. Delgado has dealt with construction dust and noise for months. So has Rodriguez, who compared the Irwin Avenue garage to a servants’ door.

“We aren’t their servants,” she said.

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