Construction can move forward at former Spanish Camp
City OKs construction on all land except for that owned by builder who started process
Construction of 21 homes can finally move forward at the former Spanish Camp in Annadale, waterfront real estate where property rights and religion collided in a decade-long struggle that often pitted a candidate for sainthood against a gruff, outspoken builder who could never seem to move the project forward.
It was the place where Dorothy Day, a co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement who is being considered by the Vatican for sainthood, used to spend her summers in a tiny bungalow on a bluff
Now it’s the place where people who long hoped to build big dream homes are beginning to do just that.
But John DiScala, the developer who helped orchestrate the 2000 deal to buy the 17-acre site, is the only one unable to move forward with construction under the latest agreement with City Planning.
A spokeswoman for the agency said this week that it did away with a deed requirement to transfer designated open space on the site to the city for parkland, except for land owned by DiScala.
“This means that most of the lots are now buildable and the owners can apply for building permits,” said Jovana Rizzo.
The request to modify the deed came from a newly created homeowners association headed by developer Raymond Masucci, a player new to Spanish Camp but not to the South Shore. Masucci built the 55-and-over community Tides at Charleston and recently purchased land at the former camp.
Vincent Rao, one of the first to apply for approvals to build, said he just wants to secure plans for a house he can either build or sell.
“My wife wanted a dream house and it never happened,” Rao said. “People got divorced, people died. It’s hard to know who is going to move forward with it and who is not.”
Builder Robert Cicero is moving forward with two homes on behalf of property owners. He’s constructed one large house near the water and he’s finishing work on the only other house at the site — one built several years ago as an intended model.
By KAREN O’SHEA
Staten Island Advance