Hotel Developer To Meet With Community
After angering Edgemere residents by cancelling a meeting scheduled for September 12, the developer of a nine-story hotel in Edgemere has agreed to reschedule the meeting for 7 p.m. on September 27 at the Peninsula Hospital nursing home. The meeting will be held in the facility’s Meditation Room on the first floor. While the hotel seems to be a legitimate addition to the La Qunita chain and the developer, Amritpal Sandhu also owns other hotels in that chain, many Edgemere residents continue to believe that the hotel is an inappropriate use of the land in their residential community and that the hotel would eventually become a magnet for homeless and Section 8 residents. Last month, a group of residents gathered on Beach 44 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, the planned site for the hotel, to protest the developer’s plan, recently approved by the city’s Department of Buildings, to build a “transient hotel” at the site.
While Sandhu has stated publicly that the hotel would be used to house flight crews and travelers on layovers, many residents think it will wind up being used as low-income housing or for illegal activities.
Steve Cooper, the president of the Frank Avenue Civic Association, said that new homes had been built and new families had moved into the revitalized neighborhood under a series of urban renewal programs.
“We’ve been trying our best to turn the community around here,” said Cooper. “We have a stable community and a respected community.”
He also pointed to the lack of amenities for the residents of the hotel.
“We have no restaurants, the beach is closed here, the hospital is gone, there are very few stores and now we have a hotel.” One stay-at-home mom, Kathy Sofronis, 35, said, “This thing has me petrified ... I’m not going to be able to come out with my son for walks or for play dates because of the kind of people that might end up living here.”
These are just some of the signs residents held during the rally, including one in the back that read ‘Tell The Developer, Not In Our Neighborhood.’ Becky Bonilla, a 40-year resident of Rockaway, said she has seen the change for the better in her community, “but, by bringing this hotel, this is not going to be for the better.
We have to stick together to get this to stop because we are not going to be safe … This is wrong.”