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‘White Castle’ in limbo

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An apartment building that neighbors have nicknamed the “White Castle,” a reference to its heavy white brick façade is nearly complete but its future is in limbo.

Not completed within a two-year extension of pre re-zoning rules, the four-story, eight-family building has not been able to secure a certificate of occupancy. Construction on 2031 Burr Avenue began in 2005; the building boasts two ground-level apartments designed for handicapped residents.

Burr Avenue was downzoned in 2006. Because construction had already begun at 2031 Burr Avenue, the Department of Buildings issued a two-year work permits “vestment” or extension, according to a spokeswoman. Four years later, the building is only nearly complete, the building department permits lapsed and were not renewed and because of this the DOB has withheld a certificate of occupancy.

“[The] apartment building is technically under constructi­on,” DOB spokeswoman Ryan Fitzgibbon said. “The owner had two years to complete the construction and get the CofO. The owner did not finish and work permits expired in August 2009. Now he needs to go to the Board of Standards and Appeals and get the permits reinstated so he can finish.”

Pelham Bay Taxpayers Community Association president Ed Romeo, a Burr Avenue resident, described the building as “an eyesore.” Romeo is concerned that it will remain vacant.

“Whether or not this is something that would be positive for the community, [the owner] should be allowed to finish the building,” Romeo remarked. “It would be unfortunate to have to have him take this down and demolish it after so much investment. He couldn’t build the same size of building at the location under the new zoning rules.”

The PBTCA president doesn’t understand why the DOB allowed the owner, Peter Delovic, to continue construction only to withhold a certificate of occupancy.

The delay has caused Delovic hardship, he said. Delovic thinks the problem is one of paperwork and has asked an attorney to pursue the matter, he added.

Delovic had yet to request a BSA hearing as of press time, a BSA spokesman said.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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