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Residents Object as 20-Story Hotel Rises in Kew Gardens

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 27, 2013 10:01am
 The 20-story Queens Savoy Hotel and Residences is under construction in Kew Gardens.
The 20-story Queens Savoy Hotel and Residences is under construction in Kew Gardens.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — As a 20-story hotel nears completion in Kew Gardens, residents who opposed the tower say they fear it will soon overwhelm their neighborhood with traffic and late-night noise.

The Queens Savoy Hotel and Residences, on the corner of 82nd Avenue and Queens Boulevard — across the street from Queens Borough Hall and the Queens Criminal Court — is scheduled to be completed in April 2014. The 95,000-square-foot tower will have 83 hotel rooms, 43 apartments, commercial space and 47 basement valet parking spots, according to William B. Tabler Architects and the Department of Buildings.

But as construction progresses, residents say their concerns about the project's size have not been addressed.

“It doesn’t belong on that block,” said Sylvia Hack of the Kew Gardens Improvement Association and chairwoman of Community Board 9's Land Use Committee. “It’s a busy block and I think it’s a disaster, but there was nothing we could do about it.”

One of residents' biggest concerns is that the new building won't have enough parking.

“The formal objections we raised when the plans were first announced centered on our belief that parking provisions were — and still are — most inadequate for Kew Gardens, but were told that they conformed to the relevant codes,” said Murray Berger, executive chairman of the Kew Gardens Civic Association, Inc., in an email.

“We recognized that it is an 'as-of-right' development and were certainly sorry for the terrible impact the hotel/residence has had and will have on the adjacent apartment house,” Berger added.

Representatives of Forge Realty, which owns the hotel as well as Pasta Lovers, a restaurant on the site that is now closed, did not respond to requests for comment.

Even before the hotel opens, residents of Hampton House, an adjacent co-op building on 82nd Road, said construction has made their lives difficult.

“Shareholders are screwed,” said Charlie, a restaurant worker and resident at the Hampton House, who did not want his last name used for fear “of repercussions.”

“It’s noisy as hell, it blocks my access to my garage and I had four flat tires within six months from nails,” he said, adding that he has lived in the building for six years.

Dozens of complaints have been filed regarding the hotel's construction, including that it caused damage to the Hampton House, a claim that the city inspector said was unfounded, because the “cracks appeared old,” according to information provided by the Department of Buildings.

The site received several other violations from the city, including one for missing guardrails and another after a worker was injured by an iron beam in August this year.

“We don't need a hotel here,” Hack said.