That 158 New York Ave Proposal (A few thoughts)

Back in July of this year, Long Beach-based Arcadia Management proposed a building for the empty lot @ 158 New York Ave. Residents went nuts over parking and building height. Proposal withdrawn. This past week at the West End Neighbors Civic Association meeting, Arcadia Management presented a new proposal which you can read all about @ the LB Patch: Arcadia Presents West End Apartment Proposal.

I just have a few thoughts on this new proposal.

THE BUILDING:

(Photo Credit Joley Welkowitz, The LB Patch – Arcadia Presents West End Apartment Proposal. More photos @ the LB Patch)

Regardless of the location (158 New York Ave) and parking issues, I happen to love the look of the building Arcadia is proposing. As you can see in the rendering, it’s fairly modern, clean and brings Long Beach up to date. It makes those fucco (fake stucco) buildings look downright old, cheap, exhausted, cheap and really cheap (I feel like years from now we are going to look back at these styrofoam fake stucco buildings and regret that choice of material. I personally would never want to live in a Styrofoam-type house in an area that has flooding, but that’s just me.)

Anyway, According to the LB Patch, this proposed building would be the first green-friendly one in Long Beach (Didn’t the Allegria try to claim that already?). If not built at this location, I would love to see these plans elsewhere, hopefully starting a trend for more LEED certified buildings in our city by the sea. One of the jewels of Long Beach is our environment (duh…the beach). It’s our job to protect it as much as we can. If we’re going to build, let’s do it the right way with the smallest ecological footprint as possible.

THE LOCATION (158 New York Ave):

Part of me doesn’t want to touch this topic because I know most of you will yell “PARKING!” I don’t live in that particular area of Long Beach, so I don’t know what the parking situation is. I’m assuming it sucks like the rest of town. From the LB Patch: “The proposed building would be five stories, with the first story devoted to parking……Each unit would have a parking space and the two-bedroom units would have tandem spaces.” I believe the last proposal involved the developer to possibly use the lot over at the Long Beach Catholic Regional School for parking, but that wasn’t so clear. So does this new parking scheme suffice? I’m sure it doesn’t, but please don’t yell at me in the comments like with that other building. I am not the one building this thing.

I’m not going to argue about parking with anyone in this town anymore, but I am an advocate of all that smart development/complete streets nonsense. What I see here is a proposed building in a location that is walking distance to the beach and the West End downtown (restaurants, shops, bars). I would like to believe that the added vehicular traffic from this building would be minimal, or not as much as you think. It’s the same old battle between Smart Development and Suburban Sprawl.

That all being said: I am really tired of looking at this ugly lot (see photo above). This project is most likely wrong for that location, but something needs to go here. Anything.

THE USE:

This is actually what troubles me the most. The project was pitched as affordable rentals, but only for retired people. From the LB Patch article: “I am mainly looking for retired people,” [Joe Iorio, Arcadia Management] said. “People raise their families here and then want to sell their homes, but want to remain in Long Beach and are not able to do so because of the lack of affordable rentals.”

The last time I checked, it was the young adults who were having problems finding affordable places to live on Long Island. Most people don’t get it. They say we have to lower the taxes and the young adults will come back. I disagree: A) The taxes will never be lowered, so throw that idea out the window. B) Many young adults want more exciting places to live, thus many flock to the city (See Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It’s like lord of the flies, but with hipsters). Long Beach is an exciting place, but we are eliminating options for them to live here. Please keep it affordable for everybody, both young and old, before illegal rentals are the only way to go for most.

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29 thoughts on “That 158 New York Ave Proposal (A few thoughts)”

  1. All for green buildings however we have zoning laws for a reason. This to big for that neighborhood no matter how pretty or green he makes it.

  2. I totally agree it’s not right for that neighborhood, but there is already a high rise just a couple of blocks south.I mean, there are high rises everywhere. What’s to say one can’t be built there? I am not advocating for this to be built in that location, but if people don’t want it, they better speak up.

    Do we know what that property is zoned for? Is it still commercial since there was a gas station there?

  3. Green and affordable? Those two do not go hand-in-hand. So I don’t believe it. I don’t particularly care, because Arcadia has the right to make money however they see fit (and legal), but don’t pi$$ on my leg and tell me it’s raining.

    Also, I don’t see how it will be for retirees or the elderly or the young without making age a requirement for renting there, which they may, but I doubt they will. They’ll rent to whoever shows up with the brokers fee, 2 months security and first and last months rent.

  4. Also, I support the building because the quality of life already kinda sucks so it’s like, what are we preserving, here, folks? But mainly because I have lived in one of Arcadia’s buildings and found them to be nothing but professional and respectful of their tenants.

  5. Laurie, i’m definitely playing devil’s advocate with this article. we all know there are high rises going up all over Long Beach. A new one will go up next to the Allegria, we have the super block. Then we have projects like the recent (let’s destroy 2 homes and build a condo) project that happened on broadway between Franklin and Lincoln. There are parking issues everywhere and so many “small house” next to “large building” situations. This project isn’t any different. Perhaps we have to rethink what kind of Long Beach we want here.

  6. What impact will a building of this magnitude have on the existing sewage and water pipes in the Walks? The Walks pipes are a ticking time bomb waiting to go at any moment. The water and sewage pipes in that rear of town are original and can’t be accessed due to the fact they run in back or underneath the houses. If one of these sewage/water pipes go the city will be facing an extremely expensive repair job. Many residents in the Walks could face having the backs of their houses removed or torn down to make the repairs.

    If a large building of that magnitude is allowed to be built on Penn and NY where else can they go? There are empty lots in the West End on Beech what about building one there? Or Magnolia and Penn maybe the church on the corner would like to make some money.

    Have you seen how the other buildings this property owner owns looks like? DUMPS! How about fixing up those apartments first!

  7. Ok I thought about it. The best location for this building is on E Park Avenue – Where the recently knocked down Beth Sholom once stood. I know it’s a different developer, but development there has stalled. I fear what will be built there – the houses across the street from that developer have to be some of the ugliest in Long Beach. Maybe on our barrier Island.

    A larger building on that property would work, based on the principles of smart development – across the street you have a supermarket, kings, pharmacy, stores, restaurants – and it’s walking distance to the beach. Plus that property is big enough for a parking lot along with the first story lot that this new building proposes.

  8. If you looked at the same corporations other building you would have more concern. They own the ugly brick buildings on the beach on Minnesota and Tennesee and they are an absolute eye sore. If they care so much about the neighborhood, fix those eyesores first. Then talk to us about a scaled down version of this building. Its way too big, doesnt fit into the existing neighborhood. It needs to be much smaller.

  9. According to a real estate broker in Williamsburg who I spoke to a few months ago, most of the hipsters have multiple room mates and the very high rents are being guaranteed by family. As they get older, Long Beach could become a viable alternative because of new construction and lower rents and prices.

  10. I do not have the energy to tackle this right now so all I’m going to say is “affordable rent” and “free parking” is a contradiction in terms as the price of constructing parking and/or obtaining land will be absorbed into the construction and thus increased sales/rent prices. In addition, the value of parking is so high in the West End that the realtors would be utter morons to keep the prices at an “affordable” price. Arcadia’s use of parking facilities as a carrot shows how stupid they think you are.

    Did Arcadia use antiquated parking minimums (SO PASSE!) to come about the number of spaces they’ll construct (please don’t say the word “provide” that insinuates for free. parking is never free.) The …

    Fuck. Now I’m all jacked up on parking economics and I have to go catch a train.

  11. It appears that parking was the most prudent way for Arcadia to use the space on the ground floor because the FEMA rules require that living space must begin at least 7’ off the ground. But even if there are enough spaces for tenants, what about their visitors, home health aids, house keepers etc. If Arcadia intends for this to be for retired folks wanting to stay in the area, is there an elevator from the ground level parking to the top floor?

    The best way to bring green-friendly living to the West End would be to turn this spot into a nice tree filled park with benches, a gazebo and an informational kiosk with listings of the businesses on Beech Street, the Long Beach weekly activity schedule etc. and then ceremoniously donate it to the City. Or, erect an attractive, well landscaped parking garage and secure bicycle parking. West End residents would love a place to store their bikes in the winter.

    But the overriding issue is something that Anthony touched on, which is planning. The City needs a vision for how this town will move forward in terms of land use and design schemes that will update the zoning laws and reduce the need for all these variance meetings. The engineers who prepared the 2007 Master Plan for the City of Long Beach advised: “Determine feasibility and desirability of establishing a Planning Board and enacting a Site Plan Review Law as one means to reduce the need for variances and enhance implementation of citywide visual character improvement initiatives. Consider creation of a full time City Planner position ….to coordinate land use policy initiatives throughout the city.”

  12. Great idea with the park/bike parking. I wonder if there is a type of self-bike storage system the city could make money from – renting bike space for storage.

    As far as this building is concerned: I try to play Devil’s advocate with these articles, like I said – I don’t live in that particular area, so I’m not sure what is appropriate for that location.

    I would love to see an updated Master Plan with updated zoning.

  13. Maybe I’m jaded, but I don’t trust what his supposed intentions are. He says it’s for retirees? Are these the retirees that have been here for 40 years and can’t afford to now pay the property taxes on their homes. As a home owner in LB, affordable housing scares me. Yup, NIMBY.

  14. Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in slandered hipster areas has art galleries, creative children’s programs, outstanding restaurants (my husband and I love to eat there), cutting edge music venues in several genres including jazz, artist’s studios, web developers, coffee shops, streets that are lively and safe into the wee hours of the night, and extremely high rents and property values. Long Island will continue to lose young people to Brooklyn if it doesn’t provide more of what young affluent people want. All of us who own property had better wake up.

  15. I don’t either, Tom. The jobs aren’t here, they’re in New York City, and the commute just isn’t fun. The public schools in some parts of NYC are excellent. The building trend in Brooklyn is to build more rental units and fewer condo units, which will further accelerate younger and retirees moving there. [I attended a major conference on real estate in Brooklyn this summer and heard from city officials and developers all day]

  16. Note that the Americans with Disabilities Act will require elevators or eqivilent accommdoations, no worries there. Note that parks don’t make developers any money. If the variance sought is only for a minor height issue, based on a recent ZBA decision, I’d say the proposal will pass the ZBA.

  17. The city should have employed eminent domain and turned this spot into two municipal tennis courts or better yet, a multi-story parking structure that would help relieve some of the hellish parking congestion in the area.

  18. One of the last open spaces in Long Beach absolutely needs to be reserved for public use in a way that benefit residents & community. Either by using it to ease congestion in the neighborhood, or by actually adding something to the community.

    Do we have a dog park? no

    Tennis? Only if you belong to a private club.

    There are a TON of useful things that could be done with this space.

  19. Actually I think Arcadia is seeking several variances at the Sept. 27 Zoning Board meeting: usage (the area is currently zoned commercial) rear and side yard size, height and off street parking. Apparently the amount of on-site parking is not up to the code requirements.

  20. Not everything needs to be a fight…..Look at what the west end looks like…vacancy after vacancy….Maybe if we bring a modern hip apartment buidling, we will increase people with some disposable income, and give small businesses a chance to survive….(even in the off season)… no wonder this place is looking like detroit in the early 80’s… anytime anyone wants to do something, people fight like it’s a life and death situation

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