Mashadi Jewish Community Center discussed in Great Neck

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Michael De Giglio, an associate with Cameron Engineering, reviews the early site plan for a proposed Mashadi Jewish Community Center. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Michael De Giglio, an associate with Cameron Engineering, reviews the early site plan for a proposed Mashadi Jewish Community Center. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Village of Great Neck Board of Trustees adopted site plan and architectural review authority over a proposed Mashadi Jewish Community Center on Tuesday night, moving a project in “very preliminary” stages a step forward.

The United Mashadi Jewish Community of America hopes to construct a three-story community center with a walkout basement and rooftop space for an estimated cost of $18 million, according to the building permit application. The organization would also operate it “in conjunction with their other nearby facilities.”

The Young Mashadi Jewish Center is located at 130 Steamboat Road, while the Mashadi Jewish Center of Great Neck is located at 54 Steamboat Road.

Village officials said the new facility, according to state law, would fall under religious use. This is because it is erected by a religious entity and will be used by its members.

“If they connect it to their facility, it’s religious,” Mayor Pedram Bral said. “They don’t have to go there to pray or go to school, they can say that this is used for their youth as a connection.”

Paul Bloom, a legal representative for the developers, said the center would be for the Mashadi community and also fall under religious use.

Michael De Giglio, an associate with Cameron Engineering who prepared the site plan, said the plan would include a 26-foot-wide fire access road, a staging area, and a secondary access area on the side of the building. There would also be storage for up to 150 bikes and 77 parking spots.

When asked about parking, Bloom said there have been discussions with the Great Neck Park District about shared parking, potentially building a new parking lot and some joint programming.

“This is something that is still in progress and being worked out,” Bloom said.

Citing the preliminary parking and traffic study, Bloom said there are two usable parking lots within roughly half a mile of the proposed center and that a shuttle bus between the locations would likely be provided.

According to earlier concept plans, the building would have nearly 70,000 square feet of usable space on three stories and a roof pavilion, as well as a 24,450-square-foot basement. The space would include a senior lounge, an auditorium for cultural programming, multiple gyms, fitness centers, a swimming pool and more.

Bloom said the organization intends to pursue variances for items like lot coverage and height and present more detailed studies in the future.

The building would take up 31.8 percent of the nearly two-acre lot, above the 20 percent maximum allowed by code. The building height is also above the 30-foot maximum allowed, with it measuring 50 feet to the parapet and 58 feet to the pavilion roof.

Additionally, according to the plan, there would be 115 feet 3 inches of street frontage and a 115-foot front yard, totaling about 230 feet of space between the building and Steamboat Road.

In other business, village officials announced that there would be a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11, where VHB, the village’s consultant on the revitalization of Middle Neck Road and East Shore Road, will present its recommendations for boosting the area.

Resident Jean Pierce questioned the timing, originally set for 8:30 p.m., because it is right as Rosh Hashanah is ending and many residents would likely be unable to attend.

Officials ultimately set the meeting for 9 p.m. that day, saying they don’t want to delay the presentation until October and have it too close to another planned presentation.

In unrelated business, Pricilla Leung, a Great Neck resident, spoke with trustees about erecting a sign for a tutoring center at 617 Middle Neck Road geared toward anyone in third grade or higher.

The Board of Trustees also adopted architectural review authority for a façade upgrade and changes to 733 Middle Neck Road. The plan includes two commercial fronts, a rear residence and two residences above the storefronts. It would also feature vinyl siding and a redone roof.

“It’s definitely nicer than what we have,” Bral said.

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