Parkchester property being eyed for development

An expansive development, just outside Parkchester, will start as soon as the property’s toxic-filled past is remediated.

The ‘Parkchester Crossing’ site encompasses an entire block bordered by East Tremont Avenue to the north, Guerlain Street to the south, White Plains Road to the west and Unionport Road to the east.

Approximately 1.62 acres in size, the site consists of five lots which served a multiple of purposes previously.

One parcel contained Divine Cemetery Monuments at 1584 White Plains Road, Dankofi Fashion at 1586 White Plains Road, Milly’s Salon at 1588 White Plains Road, Belle Brokerage Insurance at 1588A White Plains Road and a laundromat at 1590 White Plains Road.

Another lot housed Orchid Unisex Hair/Nail Salon at 1619 Unionport Road, Lucky Star Chinese Restaurant at 1621 Unionport Road, Lady Afrique International Market at 1621B Unionport Road, Almeda Tae Kwon Do at 1623 Unionport Road, Harmony Records at 1625 Unionport Road, Pizza Italia at 1625A Unionport Road, the Parkchester Bakery at 1627 Unionport Road and David G’s Barber Shop at 1894 E. Tremont Avenue.

The two-island Wave Gas Station and convenience store at 1596 White Plains Road occupied the largest piece of the assemblage.

The former Parkchester Family Practice Dental Office at 1601 Unionport Road, Furniture World at 1603 Unionport Road, One Stop 99 Cents Store at 1605 Unionport Road, Circle of Life Bar at 1607 Unionport Road, Furniture World Bedding Zone and Carpet at 1611 Unionport Road and Wink Check Cashing Center at 1613 Unionport Road formerly were located there. A paved driveway existed at 1594 White Plains Road.

The final parcel housed Leonard’s Bakery at 1572 White Plains Road, Kenmar Shirts at 1578 White Plains Road, Christi Beauty Salon at 1597 Unionport Road, Pete’s Shoe Repair at 1886 Guerlain Street, Aloshe Mini Market at 1889 Guerlain Street, Afrikiko Garden Restaurant at 1897 Guerlain Street, the former location of the Playdrome Bowling Alley at 1897A Guerlain Street and One Stop Convenience Deli and Grocery at 1905 Guerlain Street.

Many of the aforementioned businesses were closed prior to the planned project, have since shuttered or relocated.

A ‘Remedial Investigation Work Plan’ defining the nature and extent of contamination in the site’s soil, surface water, groundwater and other possibly affected parts of the environment will be conducted by ZP Realty, LLC with oversight by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Health.

According to NYSDEC and Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, two dry cleaners located at 1590 White Plains Road, one which was operational from 1961 to 1971 and the other from 2007 until it became a laundromat; a dry cleaner at 1599 Unionport Road which was operational from 1965 to 2012; Parkchester Family Practice Dental Office, Playdrome Bowling Alley and a possibly unregistered fuel oil underground storage tank appear to have led to site contamination.

Additionally, the active Wave Gas Station contains five 4,000 gallon underground tanks and one 550 gallon tank which have been operational since 1953.

An August 2014 Phase II Environmental Site Investigation Report stated the site’s groundwater displayed petroleum-related volatile organic compounds and chlorinated VOC contamination, specifically tetrachloroethylene or PCE, above groundwater standards.

Due to site constraints, limited on-site soil sampling was conducted which did not yield any significant on-site soil contamination. However, soil vapor was discovered to be contaminated with PCE.

Community leaders and elected officials said no official plans have been divulged, but offered their opinions on the project.

“Since day one people have had concerns about what exactly is going to be built there,” said William Rivera, Community Board 9 district manager.

“One concern among the community is gentrification and the end of the mom and pop store era,” said Sepulveda. “If progress is at the expense of residents who’ve invested their time living here then we must do everything possible to ensure their best interests will be protected.”

“If the EPA clears the project this will no doubt be an economic boom to Parkchester,” said Abu Shakoor, Parkchester South Condominium president. “The Parkchester Crossing site will help Parkchester South Condominium’s economic growth and will bring in good renters and investors.”

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