MAS new york
Bronx Muslim Center
Help us expand and support the growing Muslim population in Bronx
with the support of generous donors like you we have steadily made progress
Expansion Project Progress
• October to December 2013: The land with 2 old houses was bought in the fall of 2013 and closing happened just before the end of 2013.
• January 2014 to January 2015: Tenants’ evacuation and demolition of the 2 buildings process including Court orders, demolition plans and permitting. Total demolition completed in January 2015.
• February 2016 to April 2018: Local zoning does not allow for new buildings to be built over the entire land (100 Ft x 100 Ft). Local zoning does not allow new building to be higher than 2 stories. Local zoning also require permission to change use of land from residential to a Place of Worship. Therefore, we had to start the legal process of obtaining these variances from the City Authority through their Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA). In order to start this process, we needed:
- Conceptual Plans showing how big and tall we need to build
- Environmental Study Report
- Report to justify Community Need for such large place of worship
- Traffic Analysis Report
- Attorney Office specialized in BSA cases
This process typically takes 2 to 3 years. We had to go through 3 BSA hearings held in December 2017, January 2018 and March 2018. Finally, approvals for variances were obtained in April 2018.
• May 2018 to June 2019: Architect started working on completing the plans and submitting to the Building Department for review and approval. Note that the plans could not be completed before BSA approval. Building Department would not accept to look at plans that include variances without BSA approval first. We obtained a permit from the Building Department to do the excavation and build the foundation.
• July 2019 to November 2019: We advertised the project, received 6 different proposals for the excavation of the rocks to 18 Ft below street level and build the foundation. We signed a contract with best offer contractor in November, 2019.
• January 2020 to May 2020: City stopped all construction work due to Covid 19.
• June 220 to September 2021
Excavation of rock and building of foundation took 1 year and 3 months due to hard rock on the entire land area down to 18 feet below street level. In addition, the contractor had to support weak buildings foundation adjacent to the excavation from 3 sides. Also, we encountered contaminated soil materials that required special treatment and disposal as per the City regulations.
• September 2021 Until Now (October 2022): The construction work on the building was not allowed to continue until the Sewer issue is resolved to the satisfaction of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Please read below regarding this issue.
• August 2020 to October 2022 (The Sewer Issue): The last 26 months, from August 2020 to October 2022 we were dealing with the Sewer Issue or the project.
Sewer Issue Background:
- Amethyst Street fronting the new building does not have sewer lines. The old, demolished houses were connected to sewer lines through the sewer lines of adjacent buildings. Since the demolished houses were built approximately 80 years ago, they connected through adjacent neighboring buildings sewer without the legal rights to do so. We first believed that we could connect the sewers of our new building in the same manor.
- The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) the authority to oversee the sewer issues in the City told us the following:
- DEP would never approve or allow any connection through other adjacent building sewers without the legal approval of the owner of the adjacent building.
- Even if the owner legally approved, a new separate sewer line shall be installed under the adjacent building, and then connecting directly to the City sewer.
- We approached all building owners and tried negotiating a deal, but they all rejected.
- Then the DEP told us that the only way we can build is by constructing a sewer line on Amethyst Street, starting from our building going all the way down to the intersection of Amethyst Street and Rhinelander. The length of the sewer line is 240 Ft.
- We hired an Engineering Company, and they prepared the Street Sewer plans and submitted to DEP for review and approval.
- DEP decided that we must also replace Existing Water Main on the Street because it is old and would break due to excavation for new sewer nearby. As a result, the cost of the installation of the sewer on Amethyst Street alone escalated to One Million dollar.
- Finally, we convinced the DEP not to replace the Water Main. Final approval from DEP was issued October 7.
- We hired a separate Contractor to install the sewer on the Street. He is obtaining Street Closure permit now and expected to start rock excavation on Amethyst Street on November 15.
- Once the Sewer is installed -anticipated in 3 to 5 months- the work on the Building can resume.