TNS meets with Steward owner on 2800 Bruckner

“They were there for an hour and a half and there was a complete discussion as to what is going on in the building.” – Steve Kaufman, Throggs Neck Strong coalition chairman in regards to a meeting with 2800 Bruckner Boulevard owner.

The Throggs Neck Strong coalition got a second face-to-face meeting with a landlord concerning the future of an important building.

Leaders of the coalition met with Steward Redevelopment leaders and lawyers on Wednesday, September 13 to discuss community concern and renter grievances at 2800 Bruckner Boulevard, an office building sold to the company over the summer.

Coalition leaders, including TNS chairman Steve Kaufman and co-chair Bob Jaen, said that the meeting, which took place at Kaufman’s office, seemed to be bring about more progress.

According to Kaufman, Michael Fernandes, the owner of 2800 Bruckner Boulevard, and others in his company, were present at the meeting.

“They were there for an hour and a half and there was a thorough discussion as to what is going on in the building,” said Kaufman. “He was giving us assurances that he would not have things going on in the building that would be upsetting to the community.”

No deals had been finalized, according to Kaufman and Jaen, but among the assurances was that it wouldn’t be a homeless shelter, as some in the community had first believed.

“It was a fruitful meeting and we straightened out a lot of issues,” said Jaen, adding “It was a good meeting, very transparent; the only thing I had an issue with was that they were thinking of putting a pharmacy in there.”

Jaen believes that a pharmacy would require 24-hour security as they can be targeted for controlled substances thefts.

“We are still in negotiations, but things look much better and brighter than it was before,” said Jaen.

Based on Jaen’s understanding, there will be a sensory gym for autistic children and some kind of treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.

The meeting builds on a dialogue from an earlier meeting between TNS and Steward Redevelopment on Thursday, August 17.

Community near the building had been concerned when Steward Redevelopment, a well-known developer of supportive housing, purchased facility because the company was unclear about its intentions.

Tenants in the building were equally as concerned, after they received eviction notices from Steward Redevelopment, only to receive another letter on Monday, August 21 that indicated they would not be evicted.

Steward Redevelopment markets itself as “New York’s preferred special needs housing provider,” and as a behavioral health provider.

According to a source, Steward Redevelopment’s proposal for the building is ‘Miracle City,’ a wellness center that Fernandes spoke about in a previously published interview Bronx Times.

The types of services provided at Miracle City could be related to nutrition and fitness, internal medicine, behavioral health, certified training and vocational programs, as well as transportation services, according to the source.

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, along with representatives from Senator Jeff Klein and Councilman James Vacca attended the meeting, according to Jaen.

A Klein spokesman said that the senator would continue to investigate the validity of Fernandes’ proposals with regards to the building.

“Nothing Mr. Fernandes presented at the meeting has changed my opposition to his plans for 2800 Bruckner Boulevard,” said Klein.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Members of the Throggs Neck Strong coalition, tenants at 2800 Bruckner Boulevard and elected officials met with the new owners of this building in Throggs Neck.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

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