DOB to audit Middletown Road project

The former site of a union hall at 3030 Middletown Road (above) has been demolished. But the developer, 2419 LLC, has had its construction put on hold so that DOB can audit all of the building’s plans before development begins. - Photo by Walter Pofeldt

In a rare move by the Department of Buildings, the 44-unit apartment project proposed by a known jackal landlord, Jacob Selechnik and his partners, at 3030 Middletown Road will be put “on hold” pending a complete audit of the building’s plan.

Many in the community believe that though something will ultimately be built there, the footprint of the project which covers over 80% of the vacant parcel will have to be scaled back, and that the current plans have created a project too dense for the area’s already generous R7-1 zoning.

More insulting to many community members, is that according to a reliable source, the partners of 2419 LLC, whom Selechnik has denied being a part of despite his name being on 3030 Middletown’s demolition permit, are applying to city agencies for tax breaks on the property.

While DOB examines the self-certified architectural plans, no construction whatsoever will occur at the site, which has now been cleared of the former structure, a one-story office building.

“The job is on hold. We have raised multiple, significant objections to this project,” said Councilman James Vacca, who was partially responsible for the DOB’s move. “I feel he [Selechnik] cannot build what he wants to in regard to density and height on this parcel.”

Mary Jane Musano, of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association, has been working tirelessly with representatives from Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Borough President Adolfo Carrion Jr.’s offices to see about bringing the project back onto scale with surrounding blocks like Hollywood Avenue, which are zoned for low-density housing.

“An audit into this project is absolutely needed,” Musano stated. “The situation warrants the most scrutiny, and I hope that the DOB will be doing the scrutinizing.”

Musano also wondered how a man with a reputation as poor as Selechnik could obtain rent subsides, such as Section 8, on his 100 plus other properties, including those in the west Bronx.

Selechnik was violated by the DOB an astounding 23,000 times, according to published reports, before turning over operations of his real estate empire to his daughter and son-in-law Michael Goldstein, who is listed as the president of the development company 2419 LLC. Other principals in the partnership include David Katz and Ron Katz.

“I am a little disappointed in Community Board 10,” said Ed Romeo, president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and a CB 10 member, who feels the local municipal agency should be doing more to fight buildings of this nature from being erected in the area.  “We should do whatever we have to do to [look into this project],” he continued. 

The building plans called for the residential entrance to be on Hollywood Avenue, with professional office space abutting it, and retail space on Middletown Road.

The plans presently call for primarily two bedrooms apartments, with some one-bedroom units also included.

Each floor would have 9,000 square feet of living space, except for the 7th story, which would have fewer apartments.

But Vacca is confident that changes will have to occur, stating, “I think the DOB placing the project on hold means they are seriously accessing what the next step will be.”

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