TNS presents its demands to 2800 Bruckner owner

“We are standing strong and tall with Throggs Neck Strong,” – Bob Jaen, TNS co-chairman, adding the coalition is working with elected officials including Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Councilman James Vacca.

The Throggs Neck Strong Coalition’s list of community demands has been forwarded to the owner of the problematic building.

TNS coalition members delivered a ‘letter of intent’ to Michael Fernandes concerning the future of 2800 Bruckner Boulevard.

The letter, which they want Fernandes to sign, was delivered to his office on Wednesday, August 30, said Bob Jaen, TNS co-chairman.

This development comes on the heels of a meeting that Fernandes had recently with the renters of the Bruckner Boulevard commercial building. Several tenants told the Bronx Times they had received eviction letters from Fernandes.

Members of the community concerned about Fernandes’ track record as a developer of supportive and transitional housing joined the tenants at the meeting.

Fernandes operates Steward Redevelopment, a known developer of supportive housing.

The meeting took place at the law offices of Steven Kaufman, TNS chairman, and lasted for about two and half hours on Thursday, August 17.

“We hope, of course, that he becomes a good neighbor and that he continues to rent to commercial tenants and not look at (social) programs,” said Kaufman.

The TNS letter enumerates and memorializes Fernandes’ “points of understanding that arose from recent dialogue.”

Among the guarantees Fernandes allegedly made regarding 2800 Bruckner Boulevard were it would not become the site of transitional housing or a homeless shelter, or become an “facility offering addiction treatment services, mental health services or services to those involved in the criminal justice system.”

The letter of intent would also have Fernandes negotiating with his current tenants in good faith and being “transparent in any all arrangements pertaining to the leasing and usage of 2800 Bruckner Boulevard.”

They’d also like him to commit to ongoing dialogue with community leaders, elected officials and Community Board 10.

“I hope he understands and that he sees we are serious about maintaining the quality of life in our community,” said Kaufman.

Jaen said that the group is keeping its cards close to its vest as it deals with Fernandes.

“Right now we are in a pretty positive negotiation with Fernandes,” he said, adding that he understands that the community would like more information but reiterating that the negotiations remain at a sensitive juncture.

He does not want to telegraph the TNS’ plans, but said that they will continue fighting and hold another general meeting soon.

“We will be standing strong and tall with TNS,” said Jaen, adding that as president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, he would like to thank the merchants as well as elected officials including Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and Councilman James Vacca for supporting TNS.

TNS has formed a Facebook page with the help of Denise Perez: Friends-of-Throggs-Neck-Strong.

Elected officials continue to express concerns about the building’s unclear future.

“The stipulations being presented by the Throggs Neck Strong coalition are important because the community needs answers,” stated Gjonaj.

“An air of mystery surrounding Mr. Fernandes and his plans for 2800 Bruckner Boulevard remains,” stated Klein.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Throggs Neck Strong, a coalition looking to protect the community and local businesses, has its own set of priorities when it comes to 2800 Bruckner Boulevard.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

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