2015-11-27 / Front Page

Arverne East Groundbreaking

New Development Is ‘A Huge Step Toward Revitalization’
By Miriam Rosenberg


Work is already underway on the Beach Green North project. Work is already underway on the Beach Green North project. After 10 years of planning, a recession, and Superstorm Sandy, ground was finally broken on the first building – called Beach Green North – of the Arverne East project.

The development, located on Beach 45th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, will consist of 101 units of mixed housing, including studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. These will be affordable to very low- and low-income households. Twenty-four apartments will be affordable to households earning an annual income up to $28,435 for an individual and $38,850 for a household of three. Twenty-six apartments will be affordable to households earning an annual income up to $34,485 for an individual and $46,620 for a household of three. Fifty units will be affordable to households earning up to $41,450 for an individual and $62,150 for a household of three. The income levels are set according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2015 AMI (area median income) calculations.


Ground is broken on the first building in the Arverne East project. 
Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Ground is broken on the first building in the Arverne East project. Photos by Miriam Rosenberg Affordable housing was a theme of the ceremony, but sustainability and resiliency seemed to be the watchwords of the day.

Representing the developer, the Bluestone Organization, Eric Bluestone explained Beach Green North is a template for a new era.

“Beach Green North is designed to be at the forefront of sustainability and resiliency,” Bluestone said. “Built to the Passive House standard and in excess of current FEMA and building code requirements, residents will be able to live more comfortably and safely in the event of future storms and potential sea level rise.”

Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) is a 501(c)3 organization committed to making high-performance passive building principles the mainstream best building practice, and the mainstream market energy performance standard. Passive House certification requires that a building, once built, will cut energy consumption by 60-80 percent compared to code buildings. Certified passive buildings provide superior comfort, indoor air quality, and resilience.


Eric Bluestone, representing the Bluestone Organization, says they will hire a local workforce. Eric Bluestone, representing the Bluestone Organization, says they will hire a local workforce. Councilman Donovan Richards has been a vocal supporter of the project.

“I am proud to stand here today for what I believe is just the start of the revitalization coming here, in particular, to the Rockaways,” Richards said. “This development is a huge step in the right direction toward improving the quality of life for working families as well as ensuring that Rockaway residents can afford to stay in the community which they have created.”

Richards pointed to the sustainability and resiliency that will be the hallmark of the building.

“If you are going to be doing something in a waterfront community those are two words (sustainability and resiliency) you can’t move forward without.”

Senator James Sanders Jr. was the area’s councilman when the project first began.

“So we finally got here.” Sanders said, who pointed out that the journey to last week’s groundbreaking began in 2005.

Not everyone is happy with the new building, as protesters rallied outside the gates of the ceremony. Local residents are worried that infrastructure in the area should come before any additional construction. One resident, Audrey Anderson, made it into the ceremony but was escorted out after holding up a sign saying “Far Rockaway Lives Matter Too.”

The sign, addressed to Mayor Bill de Blasio, said the area has no infrastructure and called for the population boom to end.

Richards says the Arverne East project will be beneficial for everyone who lives in the community.

“This development is a huge step in the right direction of improving the quality of life for working families as well as ensuring that Rockaway residents can afford to stay in the community where they have created a life for themselves and their family,” said Richards. “Our seniors, our blue collar workers, and our youth coming out of college are struggling to not only stay in their own communities, but the city as a whole. We must not push them out by denying them the opportunity to live and work here. We must give them the opportunity to succeed and Beach Green North is the first step in ensuring that here in the Rockaways.”

At least one of the concerns of the community has been met by the Bluestone Organization, which has promised that the project’s workforce should come from the community.

“The local hiring commitment and the sustainability and conservation elements of this project are equally important to why this project is going to benefit the great people of this peninsula,” Richards said.

Work on the site began before the groundbreaking last week, but the Nov. 20 ceremony marked the “official” start of the project. Bluestone estimates that a ribbon cutting will take place in 10 to 20 months.

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