Friday, May 21, 2010

Uncertain Future for Atlas Park Property by Michael Cusenza - Queens Chronicle

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The Shops at Atlas Park opened to much fanfare in the spring of 2006, boasting stylish architecture and amenities, dozens of specialty shops, restaurants, a movie theater and parking garages.

Currently, the beset Glendale mall is in foreclosure, poised to be sold at auction at Queens Supreme Court on Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica.

"We believe it will be put up for auction in the next month,” said attorney Paul Millus, who is the court-appointed receiver of the property.

According to The Secured Lender magazine, a receiver is a person “placed in custodial responsibility for the property of others.”

Millus said the exact date would be set by a court-appointed foreclosure referee, when it would be sold “like any other property to the highest bidder.”

Damon Hemmerdinger, former development director of Atlas Park, brusquely declined comment and referred all questions of mall matters to Millus.

According to a report earlier this month in the Daily News, CB Richard Ellis, an international commercial real estate services firm, also is engaged in Atlas Park operations.

“We are involved, as has been published, but we have no comment,” a CBRE spokesman said.

Earlier this year, City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) unofficially proposed to convert several vacant mall spaces into City University of New York classrooms.

Currently, Crowley’s office said she is searching for more viable options, such as medical facilities and breast-imaging centers.

“She’s actively engaged in trying to find a solution to keep Atlas Park in the community and make it an economic engine,” said Crowley spokeswoman Meredith Burak.

State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) said he doesn’t want to see the land revert back to the days when it was littered with abandoned industrial buildings.

“Abandoned buildings don’t provide jobs,” Addabbo said. “It’s prudent upon anyone who has power to keep the stores that bring economic viability.”

At least two Atlas Park shop owners said they have been kept in the dark in recent months regarding the fate of the once-promising property.

“We’re hoping to get some new ownership in here so they can open more stores,” said, Danny Gerson, manager of The Fair.

Peter Faccibene, co-owner of the restaurant Shiro of Japan, said that although he hasn’t heard anything, he’s optimistic about the future of the Shops.

“Seems pretty simple: They need to lease the space out,” Faccibene said. “We just need some help with some rented spaces.”