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Debate continues over vacant lot in East Flatbush

October 4, 2012 5:18:35 AM PDT
The fight continues in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, over what will be built in a vacant lot.

Plans to build a hotel on East 59th Street and Foster Avenue had residents concerned about the kind of clientele it would attract.

But now the tide is turning.

It's is a great example of the power of a protest, as the owner of the property has now come to the table to work with residents on what business should be developed in the neighborhood.

The vacant lot looks the same as it has for several months, boarded up and padlocked, except for one key difference. The lot is now for sale. The owner, Danny Mehta, had planned to develop a hotel, but has had a change of heart.

Residents took to the streets in protest back in May after plans for a small budget hotel were being discussed. Community leaders worried about who would come to a hotel in a neighborhood full of auto body shops and salvage yards.

New York Councilman Jumaane Williams spear-headed the efforts.

"I think this is a sort of great example of the community coming together and being united and saying we want more for our community," he said. "And I think eventually the owner heard that and decided to say I'm going to come together and work with the community."

The lot is listed with a local realtor and community activist Roy McKenzie, who says the owner is now committed to being a good neighbor.

"He's been working with us very, very well. He had given us three months to try and sell the property," he said. "And he's also say well, guess what, if you have something going, he will extend it."

Williams took suggestions from residents about what they would like to see in the space, which ranged from drug stores to bakeries. Letters have been sent to close to a dozens companies. we will keep you posted.

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