City Considers Mall On Local Nature Preserve

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by Marina Fridman-Rybner

A new retail project is being proposed on city-owned property near Kings Plaza, and the city is looking for your input.

Four Sparrows Marsh Retail Mall, named after the 67-acre preserve that it will be built on,  is a proposed 15-acre development that will expand the existing Toys “R” Us lot at 2875 Flatbush Avenue.

Details of the plan are still being drawn up, according to NYC Economic Development Corporation’s project description, but a key component of the plan includes a commercial building will go on the left side of the existing Toys “R” Us building and will house Kristal Auto Mall, which is moving from it current Kings Highway location. That building will house the dealership, showroom and the service space.

Aside from that, there are two options being considered for the other side of Toys “R” Us. The first is for two commercial structures that will house multiple commercial tenants. The second option is for one large commercial structure that will house one tenant. They’re also planning on-site parking for approximately 820 vehicles.

Nature enthusiasts will find more than just a shopping option in the space, as a nature path will be created with a publicly accessible waterfront open space. However, the trail is both small (400 feet) and placed in only a corner of the marsh, on the far end of the retail center parking lot.

A public scope meeting for the Four Sparrows Retail Center Project is scheduled for January 11, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kings Plaza Community Room (5117 Avenue U) to answer questions and concerns from the public.

Among the topics that will be discussed are:

  • A detailed project description, including new jobs created and economic benefits to the city
  • Land use and rezoning necessary for the project
  • Socioeconomic conditions, potential displaced population, and how it may affect existing businesses
  • Urban design, meaning the overall look of the development and the effect on the water and marina views
  • Effects to the area’s ecology, including local parkland and wetlands. This is important, as Four Sparrows Marsh Preserve is the larger and older of the two remaining salt marshes on the north shore of the Jamaica Bay estuary system. It serves two critical roles besides nesting habitat. It is a rest stop for up to 326 species of migrating birds on the Atlantic Flyway, and filters pollution and excess nutrients from the Bay
  • Transportation: potential traffic, parking and transit impact on the neighborhood of the proposed project.
  • Effect on air quality, and the potential effects of additional traffic generated emissions
  • Impact on the neighborhood quality
  • Unavoidable adverse impacts

You can find out more about the project here.

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