Developer Needs to Explain What’s Going on at 2800 Bruckner Boulevard

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, the common sense alternative to Bill de Blasio in the race for mayor, held a Wednesday afternoon Bronx news conference with City Council candidate John Cerini (CD-13) and members of the community, to demand answers concerning a building located at 2800 Bruckner Boulevard.

Since this summer, local residents have raised concerns about the planned future use of the commercial building that is zoned for non profits without sleeping accommodations. Local residents have seen laborers moving beds, dressers and other pieces of furniture into building and their concerns were elevated by the fact that one of the buildings new owners is Michael Fernandes of Steward Redevelopment; a company that works with landlords to develop what they term on their website as “Special Needs Supportive Housing.”

Assemblywoman Malliotakis, who has frequently spoken-out against the de Blasio’s administration’s habit of converting facilities such as hotels and apartment buildings to shelters for the homeless without notifying neighborhood residents of the plans, said that, “the secrecy needs to end and local residents need to know what’s really going on.”

2800 Bruckner Boulevard formerly housed professional office space was reportedly sold to Michael Fernades earlier this year, though no transfer of ownership can be found, and in August tenants were being notified to vacate the property. Despite numerous complaints filed with the NYC Department of Buildings and inquiries made with other city agencies local residents are no closer to finding out the real use being planned for the building. Local elected officials and residents have been demanding answers and have received none.

Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis said, “Though, I am a strong supporter of Supportive Housing as a solution to the homeless crisis, what has been going on at 2800 Bruckner Blvd. simply isn’t right. Neighborhood residents have asked repeatedly for answers and have received nothing in return. It’s time that residents of the local community receive the answers they deserve. Today we are asking the owners of this building for real transparency.

“Recent reports in the media have cited a variety of possible uses including a ‘Wellness Center’ and a ‘sensory gym’ for autistic children as well as treatment for post traumatic stress disorder and the inclusion of a pharmacy in the building. It boggles the mind that any developer planning a major conversion of this type wouldn’t conduct a formal presentation to the community to inform them of plans for the building and to hear their concerns about a proposed use. Instead the developers seem to be playing games with the community in a high stakes version of the old street scam known as 3 card monte.

“Perhaps State Senator Jeff Klein summed things up best when he recently stated “His (Fernandes) plans seem to change on a weekly basis and have been repeatedly discredited by myself and my staff, While Mr. Fernandes did appear in front of the community board, critical questions about the future use of the building remain unanswered.” Or, Mary Jane Musano, a CB 10 member, who, in the same article (Bronx Times – 10/6/17) said, “I think the main problem is you cannot get (Fernandes) to be transparent, and when he does tell you something, it doesn’t check out.”

“I strongly support Senator Klein’s legislation that sets guidelines for notification and hearings when a shelter is to be sited in a community. While this legislation has passed the State Senate, it sits Assembly where Bill de Blasio uses his political influence to stall a vote.

“Today, I join with John Cerini and the other community leaders and residents as we call for full transparency, now!”

City Council candidate John, Cerini said, “On behalf of the Throggs Neck community, we are here to demand transparency and accountability from the owners of 2800 Bruckner Blvd. Their story changes weekly and their answers just don’t add up. I thank Assemblywoman Malliotakis for standing up for the Throggs Neck community and I look forward to working with her to keep the owners of 2800 Bruckner accountable to the community.”