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Jemal family looks to construct big Gravesend mixed-use development

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A prominent New York City developer whose family founded the now-defunct electronics retail chain Nobody Beats the Wiz is looking to construct a 9-story, mixed-use building in Gravesend.

Joseph Jemal, president of Manhattan-based ICER Properties — which owns more than 60 buildings in the city, along with properties in New Jersey, Georgia and South Carolina — filed an application with the Department of City Planning this week to rezone a swath of land in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood and erect a development that would include 104,273 square feet of retail and office space on the first and second floors, a 58,362-square-foot community facility on the third floor and 259,335 square feet of residential space on the remaining floors.

The proposed building, at 2555 Shell Road, would include 369 rental apartments on floors four through nine — 93 of which would be set aside as below market rate, according to the application.

All of the buildings currently on the site, which fronts Bouck Court, Shell Road and Avenue X and currently comprises four different lots, would be demolished to make way for the new 9-story development, according to land-use attorney Eric Palatnik, who is representing the applicant.

The first lot is home to a 2-story, mixed-use building where the ground floor is vacant, and the second floor contains two residential units. The next lot has a single-story commercial building that houses a bowling alley and a lighting warehouse. The third is a single-story commercial building with a lighting warehouse and showroom, a dance school and an ironworks distributor. The fourth lot contains a recently renovated, 2-story commercial building occupied by a catering hall. The project also calls for 300 parking spaces — 162 more than the required 138 according to zoning regulations, records show.

Jemal filed the application under a quartet of limited liability companies, the addresses of which all go back to ICER’s headquarters at 1385 Broadway in Midtown South, documents show. He manages over 400 residential units across multiple buildings in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx and has come under fire for the allegedly dire conditions at one of his properties in Harlem, where tenants say it’s overrun by rats and plagued with leaks, the outlet The City reported last year.

Jemal’s father, Lawrence, founded both ICER Properties and ICER Brands, which is a Manhattan-based clothing marketer. The acronym stands for “integrity, customer, excellence, respect,” according to its website. Lawrence Jemal and his three brothers, Marvin, Stephen and Douglas, also transformed their original entertainment store, Nobody Beats the Wiz, which opened on Fulton Street in 1976, into a regional chain, which at one point was considered one the city’s most successful retailers, Crain’s reported. The four brothers sold the company to Cablevision in 1998 after it went bankrupt a year earlier; it eventually closed for good in 2003.

Douglas Jemal, one of the brothers, runs his own real estate firm in D.C. and was convicted of wire fraud in 2006. His sentence was pardoned in 2021 by then-President Donald Trump.

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Julianne Cuba , 2024-05-22 19:38:33

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