QUEENS — A site where a new 12-story mixed-use building will soon be constructed in Kew Gardens has to undergo cleanup first after elevated levels of contaminants were found at the location, which used to house a dry cleaning business, state officials said.
The new development, at 124-22 Queens Blvd., will replace the building currently located at the site, where Elena Cleaners was operating from 1986 to 2015. The building, which was purchased by New Jersey-based developer Luciano LLC for $6.5 million in 2015, also included office space and a Chase ATM, according to city records.
The building will soon be demolished, but before construction of the new development can begin, the developer is required to do remedial work because a state study found tetrachloroethylene, a substance commonly used for dry cleaning of fabrics, at potentially hazardous levels in the soil beneath the site, as first reported by the Queens Chronicle.
Specific levels of the chemical, which may possibly be carcinogenic and cause skin irritation, were not immediately known, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in a fact sheet about the site that a so called "interim remedial measure" is planned for the site, meaning a cleanup which “can be conducted at a site relatively quickly.”
During the cleanup, the contaminated soil will be excavated and removed from the site, the DEC said.
The new development, across the street from Queens Borough Hall and Queens Criminal Court, will include retail stores on the ground floor, offices on the second and third floors, and a health facility on the fourth floor, according to the application filed with the Department of Buildings last August.
Mark Dong of Luciano LLC said that the building will contain a total of 32 condominium units on the remaining floors.
There will also be 10 parking spaces for cars and 14 for bicycles in the basement, according to the application.
Dong said that the cleanup will begin as soon as the old building is demolished, and he expects it to take about a month.
The company hopes to complete the project in two years, Dong said.