Developer Halts Controversial Development at Forest Hills’ Restaurant Row
QUEENS — The owner of a Forest Hills building housing several restaurants on the neighborhood’s “Restaurant Row” has halted his controversial plan to replace it with a new 12-story mixed-use development, according to his lawyer.
The plan, which would have replaced the current 1-story complex at 107-18 70th Road that is home to several popular restaurants, including The Grill, Cabana and MoCA Asian Cafe, sparked numerous protests among locals and business owners including an online petition on Change.org started last year.
“To ALL FoHi Residents! Restaurant Row is NOT going anywhere!,” Oleg Kaz, the owner of The Grill wrote on a local Facebook page for business owners. He also posted a photo of the “For Rent” sign displayed at former Uno Pizzeria & Grill which occupied a now-vacant space until it shuttered in 2015.
Sources said that one of the restaurants currently operating on the “Restaurant Row” is planning to expand into that space.
The owner of a Forest Hills building housing several restaurants on the so called “Restaurant Row” halted his controversial plan to replace it with a new 12-story mixed-use development. (Credit: Oleg Kaz)
The complex has an additional vacant space which used to house Santa Fe steakhouse before it closed in 2013 and also has a “For Rent” sign.
Adam Rothkrug, an attorney for the developer, confirmed on Friday through his secretary that “he is not proceeding with the application at the present time.”
Several restaurant owners said that they were recently told by the developer that he decided to halt the project because of the strong community opposition to the plan.
“The new development is not happening,” said Karen Xiong, the manager of MoCA Asian Bistro.
“I think we are going to be in luck and have ‘Restaurant Row,” said Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz at a Community Board 6 meeting earlier this week. “It’s really very good news to the community.”