This story was corrected and updated at 7:50 a.m. on 10.27.12.
Two developers brought their individual proposals to build
multiple-story apartments to the Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday, it what
became a nearly five-hour meeting.
First, Joseph and Steven Iorio, Long Beach-based
developers with several properties in the city, propose to build a five-story,
27-unit rental garden apartment
on their vacant lot at 158 New York Ave.,
across the street from the Catholic Regional School.
The second case involved Jan Burman and Steven Krieger of Engel Burman Group, Garden City-based developers who own the Aqua
condominiums in the East End, who propose a mixed-use, 10-unit
apartment building with a boardwalk-level restaurant at 50 W. Broadway, a
vacant lot immediately east of the Allegria Hotel.
Last year the Iorios re-purchased their vacant lot for $1.1
million, and look to build a 60-foot tall apartment building with a total of 43 parking
spaces, which they tout as the first “green”-certified building in the area.
Rentals will range between $1,100 and $2,700, they said.
At Thursday’s meeting, the brothers faced only residents
who oppose their development, most of them from California Avenue, mainly because they believe it would exacerbate
existing parking problems, cast shadows on neighboring homes and pose as
traffic safety hazard, with its proposed parking lot's exists and entrances on New York
Avenue near the school.
“You need to understand it’s going to have a crushing
effect,” James Lynch, a Walks resident, told the zoning board about the
project. “The West End is about to explode.”
Long Beach attorney Denis Kelly, who spoke on behalf of West End residents that neighbor the property, questioned the legality of the
project, including its change of use from commercial to residential.
During the presentation, Dennis Berkowsky, the Iorios’
attorney, said that the development would benefit everyone in Long Beach, by creating affordable housing and generating tax revenue for the city. Joseph Iorio
said the building would bring all utility wires underground, and that it was
comparable in height the school’s gymnasium, which some residents disputed. His
brother, Steven, noted that the top floor would be set back, out
of view from immediate passers-by.
Some zoning board trustees, including Chairman Rocco
Morelli, questioned whether the development was too large for the lot and “in character” with the surround neighborhood of many two-story homes,
and contended that that parking spaces actually amount to 23, due in part to obstructions. Steven Iorio suggested he could reconstruct the building, at greater cost to their company,
in order to eliminate columns to create more spaces in the ground-floor parking area.
Some board trustees suggested the developers consider scaling
the project down to four to six individual homes. But Steven Iorio said that
they need to borrow money from banks to build the apartments, and that they would likely not get a loan for home development, based on a projected rate of
“Financially unless we are able to go to the bank for
27 units here, we will not be able to get a building loan to do that project,”
he said. “So scaling it down is not an option.”
Looking to Build Next to the
Meanwhile, Burman and Krieger, applying for a variance under the
limited liability company BK @ Long Beach, purchased the 17,000-square-foot
at 50 W. Broadway for $4.6 million. They plan to build a
mixed-use building, at a height of 127 feet, comprised of 10 apartments, one on each floor with 2,700 square feet of living space, and a
Each three-bedroom, three-baths unit,
with a spacious terrace and panoramic beach view, would started at $2
million. The developers anticipate that all units would sell before the
structure is built.
Architect Angelo Corva said he designed the building to have 23
feet of unobstructed view between it and the Allegria to the west, and 84
feet between it and the White Sands apartment building to the east. The ground
floor would have 25 parking spots.
Corva and attorney Albert Dagistino said
the restaurant would seat 42 patrons and would be accessible only from the
boardwalk, even for residents. They described it as a casual, hamburger-style restaurant and that would only sell liquor
at tables, not at a bar.
Some zoning board trustees, as well as
residents who oppose the project, expressed concern with the proposed 25
parking spaces, especially with the anticipated restaurant patrons
and employees. Burman and Dagistino emphasized that they expect the
restaurant would not be a "destination establishment," but rather one used mostly by beach- and boardwalk-goers and neighborhood residents.
Mona Goodman, a former City Council member who lives
across the street from the vacant property, spoke for about 20 fellow residents
at the meeting who strongly opposed the project. They mainly believe it is too
large and dense and would contribute to an already strangulating parking
problem that was made worse after the Allegria Hotel opened more than two years
“We’re choking on this block for parking,” she said.
Goodman, who submitted a petition with 225
signatures opposing the project, also contended that the number of parking of
spaces is only a third of what is required by law. But Dagistino insisted that the project was completely in compliance.
Unlike Iorios’ proposal, though, several people spoke in
support of the project. Among them was Norm Brodsky, who
said he was the original resident at the Aqua. He said he planned to buy an
apartment at the proposed apartment building, in part because it was nearly impossible to find a comparable three-bedroom, three-baths unit in a beachside building on
“I think this property will increase property values,” he
The zoning board is expected to vote on both proposals at
the Nov. 29 meeting.