Oct. 2, 2018 By Tara Law
A former executive of the auto dealership Major World who was convicted of tax fraud in July has filed an application to rezone and redevelop a Northern Boulevard auto lot into an 11-story residential and retail building.
Bruce Bendell, who was a senior manager for the 43-40 Northern Blvd. car dealership, pleaded guilty to tax fraud on July 22. He is set to be sentenced on Nov. 30 and faces up to three and a half years in prison.
In the meantime, however, Bendell is pursuing another project— redeveloping a car lot and show room into a mixed-use building with 244 dwelling units and ground floor retail. Between 25 and 30 percent of the units would be designated as “affordable,” in accordance with the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing guidelines.
The development would require the City to approve a rezoning for the property, which is currently zoned for manufacturing use.
Bendell filed a land use application for the property on Sept. 27, and the application is currently awaiting environmental review— the first step before the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the city’s process for authorizing rezonings.
Under ULURP, the proposal must be reviewed by the local community board, the Queens borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and the Mayor.
When asked if Bendell’s criminal history would be factored into their review process, the City Planning Commission said in a statement that all applications are reviewed on the basis of their “land use merits.”
“Any applicant has to submit a Doing Business with the City form and be honest and forthcoming in all their materials,” a spokesperson for the commission said.
Bendell told the real estate publication The Real Deal that he doesn’t feel that his criminal conviction will be a major issue for the rezoning.
“What I pleaded guilty on took place 10 years ago. It is what it is,” Bendell said.
Bendell could not be reached for further comment.