Owner sought variance to construct catering facility and 89-room hotel. Tikvah Realty LLC, owner of Le Marquise Caterers, a catering facility located at 815 Kings Highway in Homecrest, Brooklyn, applied to BSA for a variance to construct a new catering facility with 89 hotel rooms, ground floor retail, and 394 below-grade accessory parking spaces. The project exceeded the limits on floor area and failed to provide sufficient parking. The proposal called for the catering facility to be located on the first through third floors and the hotel rooms on the fourth through sixth floors. The existing catering facility, which has served the Jewish community in the area for more than 50 years, would be demolished because, according to Tikvah, it could not be altered to provide adequate parking or accommodations for weddings with 700-1,200 guests.
Following several public hearings, Tikvah reduced the proposal to 94,379 sq.ft. by eliminating a full floor of catering and replacing it with a mezzanine area. In so doing, it reduced the number of required parking spaces to 304, which eliminated the need for a parking waiver. However, the proposal still exceeded the allowable floor area by 24,523 sq.ft.
Brooklyn Community Board 15 voted 1-33-0 to disapprove the proposal. Their district manager, Ben Akselrod, told CityLand that the facility was too large and the garage did not support the parking needs of a large catering event. Akselrod added that the residents would welcome a small hotel, however, traffic from an enlarged catering hall would disrupt nearby schools and nursing homes. Senator Charles E. Schumer strongly supported the project, stating in a support letter that it would become a destination for family celebrations and help neighboring businesses flourish.
Following BSA’s Executive Session, Tikvah withdrew its application. When asked for comment, BSA told CityLand that Tikvah did not show uniqueness or prove that the project would not change the neighborhood’s character. Since Tikvah’s catering business was fully operational, BSA questioned the claim that the facility was obsolete. BSA also noted that soil contamination was common in the area, since the district allows automotive uses, and the site’s irregular shape was the result of a recent zoning lot merger. Finally, BSA noted the size and intense use of the proposed catering facility would likely generate disruptions and traffic that would affect the neighborhood’s character.
BSA: 1702 East 9th Street (26-05-BZ) (March 28, 2006) (Barbara Hair, Cozen O’Connor, for Tikvah Realty). CITYADMIN