March 2, By Hannah Wulkan
The Astoria Sports Complex is looking to nearly double in size and add a hockey rink, indoor soccer field, and a rooftop restaurant, among other amenities.
The Astoria Sports Complex, located at 34-38 38th Street, has been an athletic facility for about 25 years, and now the owner has filed plans with the Building Department to add two new floors to the existing two-story building, which has a small portion towards the back that is already four stories high.
In addition to adding amenities, the expansion would greatly increase the occupancy capacity and the height of the building.
The new plan must be approved for a variance by the Board of Standards and Appeals, but if approved it would increase the occupancy from 422 people allowed in the building to as much as 3,944 people at one time, including on the rooftop.
The plans would also increase the height of the building to 83 feet, or the equivalent of approximately an eight story tall building, and would nearly double the square footage of the building from 64,649 square feet to 118,951 square feet.
According to the plans, owner Steve Poliseno hopes to add a regulation size hockey rink on the third floor and a regulation size soccer field on the fourth floor of the building, both with mezzanine levels overlooking them with seating, snack bars and bathrooms.
The first and second level would continue to have the pool, gym, some parking, and either a smaller soccer field or basketball courts.
The new plans would eliminate the existing banquet hall, but according to the plans Poliseno is looking to open a rooftop eating and drinking establishment, which could hold up to 526 people, according to the Building Department documents.
Before moving forward with the plans, which are estimated to cost just over $1.2 million according to building department documents, Poliseno must obtain a variance from the BSA to allow him to forgo the 30-foot back yard that is required under the zoning laws.
Community Board 1 members questioned the plan at a Land Use Committee meeting last night, though Poliseno was not present. Though all present members agreed that the added amenities would be good additions to the neighborhood, many expressed concerns about whether increasing the height and capacity so drastically would be detrimental to the rest of the neighborhood, standing well above the shorter surrounding buildings.
The members also spoke on whether the application would meet the BSA standards for granting a variance, specifically whether Poliseno would be able to demonstrate that he would be financially burdened by not expanding. They also wondered whether the expansion needed to be quite so large, and considered asking that Poliseno reduce the size of the enlargement before they supported the plan.
Poliseno did not respond to questions about the expansion except to write in an email, “We are working very closely with the community board and what we are doing is for the better health of the Community.”
The entire community board will consider the plan at the monthly meeting on March 21, when Poliseno will present his case and the board will vote on whether to support the plan or no