2009-04-10 / Top Stories

Arverne East Public Hearing 4/16

By Nicholas Briano

An artist rendering of the Transit Plaza that developers hope to build near the Beach 36 Street train station. An artist rendering of the Transit Plaza that developers hope to build near the Beach 36 Street train station. Despite the fact that many locals believe that the global financial crisis has ended any chance that the massive Arverne East development will come to fruition, a community meeting to be held later this month may show that at least the housing portion of the plan is still breathing, thanks largely to the stimulus money coming from President Obama's program to jumpstart the economy.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has announced a public hearing on the housing portion of the Arverne East plan. The meeting will be held on Thursday, April 16, at the Peninsula Hospital Center, 50-15 Beach Channel Drive, in the Meditation Room from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of the hearing is to discuss the upcoming application the city plans to submit to the New York State Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC). The application, expected on May 4, will ask ESDC for funding through their Restore NY Program, which provides financial assistance to municipalities for demolition, deconstruction, rehabilitation or reconstruction of vacant or obsolete structures under their control.

The Arverne East project, still in the planning stages, is one of two sites for which HPD and the City of New York are seeking funding.

Anyone who is not able to attend, but who would like to submit comments, can contact Ms. Lindsay Haddix of HPD at haddixl@hpd.nyc.gov or by mail at 100 Gold Street, 9-I, New York, NY 10038.

The Arverne East Project is a mixed use housing proposal that is drawn up to include 1650 units of housing, that would include affordable and market rate housing, as well as condos in mid and low rise buildings.

Plans also call for a 100,000-square-foot hotel, nature preserve and up to 250,000 square feet of retail space. The development will run from Beach 32 to Beach 44 Streets, between the Rockaway Freeway and the beachfront. Money is being sought for infrastructure work, which is necessary prior to housing construction beginning. Construction is expected to be accomplished in three phases and completed sometime after 2012.

Because of the global financial meltdown, however, there are many in the Rockaway community who are skeptical that the amenities such as the planned hotel, movie theater or convention center that were announced two years ago when the plans were unvieled, would ever be built.

In fact, the original plan for the mixed-use housing was sold to the community because the extra amenities were part of the package.

Now they fear that the housing will be built, but that the planned hotel, movie theater and convention center would not.

Funding for the dune park and other infrastructure improvements, cush as the extension of Shore Front Parkway, may well be funded under the proposed stumulus package.

The funding being applied for by HPD is specifically for 103 units of two family housing from Beach 32 to Beach 35 Streets.

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