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Former White Castle Office Site May Become School, Officials Say

By Katie Honan | May 6, 2015 12:30pm
 The building sold in November to a developer, but the city may buy the land for an elementary school.
The building sold in November to a developer, but the city may buy the land for an elementary school.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

JACKSON HEIGHTS — The neighborhood may get something it's been craving at the site of the former White Castle regional office, officials announced.

The School Construction Authority is in contract with the new owners of the site at 69-01 34th Ave. to acquire the land and eventually build a 450-seat elementary school, they said. 

Once the process is completed, the building should open by September 2019, according to officials.

SCA officials presented their plan to the land use and education committees of Community Board 3 Tuesday, and the project is currently in the middle of a 45-day comment period before official approval for the purchase is obtained from the city. 

Kenrick Ou, the director of real estate services for SCA, said the availability of the space was shared with them by City Councilman Danny Dromm.

"What's driving this is need," Ou said, noting that District 30 is the second most overcrowded in the city. 

The former White Castle office building was purchased by a developer last November for more than $5 million, and would eventually become apartments, the broker said last fall. 

Dromm, who had been working with the SCA to add more schools, said the new plan was "exciting."

"It's such wonderful news for all of us," he said. "Apartments would have added to overcrowded schools." 

The school, if approved, will be four to five-stories high and have 450 seats from pre-K through fifth grade, including at least 4 dedicated pre-K classes, Ou said.

They haven't started the design process yet, but would try to match the look of houses nearby and find a "cohesive way to compliment the neighborhood," he said.

Once they gain approval from the city council and the mayor, they'll begin environmental impact studies and will eventually demolish the building.

In addition to the new school, Ou said the SCA is eyeing the upper floors of the fire-damaged Bruson Building on 37th Avenue between 74th and 75th Streets as potential space for universal pre-k classes.

The building could not accomodate a full school, but they are in talks about adding some classes there, he said. 

The SCA will present the new school plans at Community Board 3's general meeting on Thurs, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Louis Armstrong Middle School, 32-02 Junction Blvd.