A year after the Common Council changed the zoning in the Midtown Plaza neighborhood to make it possible for a Queens paint roller company to move operations to a former Grandoe building, council members may have to reverse that move.
The paint roller company that needed the zoning changed from commercial to manufacturing never bought the property on Bleecker Street.
But just recently, city officials said, a New York City developer has purchased the former Spring Street Fitness Center building, which abuts the former Grandoe building, and is proposing converting it to apartments. Apartments are an allowed use in a commercial zone, but not in a manufacturing zone.
City officials said Thursday they expect the issue will be discussed at the council’s Tuesday work session.
Mayor Dayton King said Friday he will advocate for the rezoning and the project, which may create nine apartments.
King met with the developer recently and said the project appears ready to start as soon as the zoning can accommodate it.
While King said he knows spot zoning should be avoided where possible, this proposal warrants an exception. Not only does the project utilize a vacant and important building, it also helps the city accomplish its goal of creating more housing in the downtown area.
King said he is optimistic the council will see the wisdom of changing the zoning again.
“It was unfortunate the zoning was changed before there was a real commitment,” King said.
A call to the developer was not returned.
City officials and former Mayor Tim Hughes were excited early last year when the Queens company, Master Paint Roller & More of Oceanside, made overtures about moving to Bleecker Street and creating up to 50 jobs.
Hughes told the council then that Master Paint Roller was serious about the move, but would not proceed until the zoning was changed to allow manufacturing.
The council moved quickly and made the change but the project never materialized.
In an interview in April of last year, Hughes said Master Paint Roller was also interested in buying the Fitness Center.