2009-05-29 / Community

Waters Edge Cuts The Ribbon

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was in Rockaway this week for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Waters Edge housing development in Arverne. Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was in Rockaway this week for the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Waters Edge housing development in Arverne. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) joined the Briarwood Organization in celebrating the final phase of construction at the 210-unit Waters Edge development. The 40 two-family homes of the development's first phase, completed in 2001, represented the first new housing built in Arverne in more than 25 years and the additional 130 middle-income condo units of Waters Edge at Arverne Condominium contribute to the continuing revitalization of an area that was once a thriving beach resort. HPD and Briar-ugh President Helen M. Marshall; Marian Zucker, Executive Vice President of "nyhomes"; and representatives of J.P. Morgan Chase and the Housing Partnership Development Corporation ("The Partnership").

Located on four "infill" sites between Beach 59 Street and Beach 62 Street just across from the Rockaway boardwalk and beach, this second and final phase consists of 130 newly constructed two- and three-bedroom condominiums. The units, which offer amenities such as off street parking, a private garage on the lower level, wall to wall carpeting and a balcony on the upper level. The units are restricted to families making up to 175 percent of the HUD Income Limits ($134,400 per year for a family of four) and purchasers can take advantage of an $8,000 homebuyer tax credit and up to $4,000 in developer's incentives.

"Today's ribbon-cutting at Waters Edge opens another chapter in the continuing story of growth, quality housing and infrastructure improvements on the Rockaway peninsula," said Marshall. "Thanks to the Briarwood Organization, the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and other agencies, including my office, the borough has a new stock of affordable housing that is not only attractive but comes with a waterfront view. This could not happen without collaboration - the private and public sectors working together - on a combined goal to provide quality housing that strengthens neighborhoods and broadens horizons."

During the first half of the twentieth century, Rockaway was an affluent beach resort, but through the 1950s the area declined until over 300 acres along the shoreline were designated an Urban Renewal Area in 1964 and eventually cleared by city-sponsored demolition. With the help of HPD, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), The Partnership and the office of the Queens Borough President, Briarwood transformed this long vacant property by investing millions of dollars in infrastructure work, including the construction of a new storm sewer system.

With Phase II construction costs totaling more than $42 million, development was financed in large part by a $24.7 million construction loan from J.P. Morgan Chase Bank. HPD, the Queens Borough President and DEP each contributed $3 million, $1.8 million and $430,000, respectively, to help defray the costs of the development's substantial infrastructure work. In addition, the development received $2.8 million in New York State Affordable Housing Corporation (AHC) funds directed through The Partnership, helping to keep the units affordable for the city's middle-income families.

"The Housing Partnership is always proud to see the efforts of our long working relationship with organizations such as Briarwood come to fruition," said Daniel Martin, the president and CEO of the Partnership. "We were excited to collaborate with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation in bringing affordable housing like Waters Edge to the communities that need it the most."

The Waters Edge at Arverne development is part of HPD's Large Scale Arverne Program consisting of Waters Edge and two other developments in the Arverne Urban Renewal Area (URA): Arverne by the Sea and Arverne East. The Arverne URA in Southeast Queens spans 308 acres and is adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The URA is bounded by Beach 32 Street, Beach 84 Street, Beach 74 Street, Rockaway Freeway, Rockaway Beach Boulevard, and the Rockaway boardwalk.

HPD is overseeing a comprehensive neighborhood development plan for the area that will bring a mix of housing types, commercial development, a community school, a nature preserve and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors. When it is finished, it will have created over 4,000 units of new housing, 1,136 of which will be reserved for households earning up to 175 percent of HUDIL (HUD Income Limits).

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