Construction continues on the old Playland site, now the home of Rockaway Park Estates.
By John McLoughlin
Goodbye vacant land, hello new neighbors! Six families can now call themselves Rockawayites after purchasing the new homes constructed at Rockaway Park Estates, located on the old Playland property along Rockaway Beach boulevard and Beach 98 street.
Since construction started in the spring of 1999, six homes have been sold, 22 are presently under construction and eight more are expected to be constructed within 30 days. Jon Miller of Rubin Management, the developer of Rockaway Park Estates, plans to construct more homes on the property in the spring. According to Miller, all homes being constructed are in contract.
Saying that the housing construction has had a "positive response…a good turnout," Miller is planning to build one family town houses off of Shore Front parkway at Beach 95 street within 30 days. The starting cost of such a town house is expected to be at $225,000.
Miller said that over the next couple of years he plans to continue doing work on the peninsula, with 140 homes expected to be built by Rubin Management.
Although Miller does not have any plans for developing commercial sites, he emphasized the improvements already taking shape around Rockaway Part Estates. On the corner of Rockaway Beach boulevard and Beach 98 street, Seaside Tap and Grill, formerly known as Boggiano's, has opened its doors. One block up, at Beach 99 street, the old Cuckoo's Nest location is being renovated and the site is being considered for a bakery.
Miller said that with construction of the new houses it will be "dramatic what happens to the community." He expects further commercial development because of the families moving into Rockaway.
Rockaway Park Estates is just one of several developments in construction. In September of 1999, there was a ground breaking ceremony for Water's Edge. This project calls for 40 two-family homes to be built by the Briarwood Organization between Beach 59 and Beach 61 streets. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2000.
Bayswater has also seen new homes constructed along Bay 25 street and new homes are being advertised on the northern corner of Beach 9 street and Seagirt boulevard.
FRB and Rock Development, owned by local real estate broker Andrew Langer and Andrew Finkel, have constructed more than 40 homes throughout the peninsula. Some sites include six homes on Beach 25 street and Hartman lane, four houses on Hurley Court off of Beach 9 street, three houses on Far Rockaway boulevard, nine houses opposite McDonald's in Far Rockaway, and seven houses at Grassmere Terrace. These houses have either been sold or are in contract.
Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Community Board 14, said it is "good news that the real estate industry and developers are taking a look at Rockaway." Gaska continued by saying that vacant property and existing housing value have risen, benefiting present residents of the peninsula.
Gaska said the new housing has "contributed to the quality" of the community, since the people who are buying the homes are middle class families with jobs and disposable income. He stressed that this is what the community board supports for Rockaway.
Gaska added that new housing has "stabilized" commercial business, but for big chains and new businesses to come to Rockaway it requires more residents with disposable income and federal, state and city government funds. Gaska said an influx of government money is needed, especially on the eastern end of Rockaway.