Queens High Rise Rises in Face of Oddly Impotent FAA

lga rko  e1319060878567 Queens High Rise Rises in Face of Oddly Impotent FAA

*Not actual scale (but you get the picture)

Have you ever seen one of those web videos where a person lays down at the edge of an airport runway and gets lifted off the ground by the force of the plane’s engines?

Well, one Queens developer might just find out if that can work for an entire building…

As reported in today’s Daily News, a real estate developer named Patrick Thompson is proceeding along with his plan to erect a 162-foot residential and commercial tower on a site in Flushing once home to the historic RKO Keith Theater. What makes this news, well newsworthy, is that the site is on the corner of Main Street and Northern Boulevard, putting the top of those 162 feet directly in the path of planes taking of or landing from nearby LaGuardia Airport.

And before you ask “where’s the FAA?”… don’t.

They know all about it, and they’re rather pissed, but due to local development bylaws, the Federal Aviation Administration has no legal right to stop the construction of a building, regardless of the danger they believe it might represent to air traffic.

Yeah, that’s all true.

So, while Mr. Thompson’s design for the ole’ RKO is kind of cool (in our opinion at least) it does give us pause that the FAA is concerned about the safety of its very existence, but has no real power to stop its construction.

As quoted in the Daily News piece, a spokesman for the FAA says that the agency “defer[s] to the local zoning regulations.”

Once this thing gets built, The Observer will be flying out of JFK and JFK alone

tmcenery@observer.com