More unused rentals cleared to go condo

Gaku Takasu, who works at the Yoshinoya Japanese grocery, said in November 2005 that his boss rented this parking space for him on Vail Court. Many of the units in these buildings are vacant. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)
Gaku Takasu, who works at the Yoshinoya Japanese grocery, said in November 2005 that his boss rented this parking space for him on Vail Court. Many of the units in these buildings are vacant. (Photo: Schuyler Pisha)

With a city decision Tuesday, more than two dozen apartments on Vail Court joined the march of rental units destined to go condo.

But renters needn’t cry too much. Most of the apartments in the three-story buildings are empty — the site is used for little more than parking — and it wasn’t even clear how many units the building held. At one time it was presented as a 30-unit housing development.

Construction plans could not be viewed by the public because immediately after a unanimous yes vote on the project by the Planning Board, the developer and his entourage, complete with architect and lawyer, left the building — with the plans, according to land use and zoning director Lester Barber.

The applicant, Mohammad Abu-Zahra for Six-S Realty Trust, would not comment.

Abu-Zahra plans to tear down the dilapidated buildings at the site and replace them with more modern, code-compliant condos, complete with trendy shrubbery. Six S Realty Trust is made up of family members who own the property.

The board wrangled with Abu-Zahra’s group over such things as landscaping and setbacks but approved the amended design, seeming relieved to have made the decision.

Board member Tom Anninger said he didn’t like Vail Court now because “it looks like an abandoned lot,” complete with “weed trees.”

Even vice chairman Hugh Russell, the most vocal critic on the board, said Abu-Zahra had an outstanding architectural design, although he said so after beating up members of the family throughout discussion leading to the vote.

Resident Hilal Abu Zahra said he has lived at the Vail Court building for about two years in one of about a dozen occupied units.

There is no date set for the demolition or construction part of the project, which has been owned by his family for 25 years, he said.

Renters needn’t be too sad to see the site go, since few are using it anyway.

Local car owners, though, might be a little upset.

Next story: Threat to seize derelict Vail Court brings family lawyer to explain years of inaction
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