Monday, January 6, 2020

Peninsula Hospital Gets Green Light for Massive Redevelopment

An ambitious plan to transform the old Peninsula Hospital into a massive 11-building mixed-use complex, billed as a shot in the arm for the Far Rockaway economy, has been approved by the New York City Council.

The project, dubbed Edgemere Commons by developer Arker Companies, will create 2,200 units of below-market-rate housing for those earning between 30 and 130 percent of the area median income. 

The project will also bring a new Western Beef supermarket to the neighborhood, include spaces for community facilities and local and national retailers, and create publicly accessible open space with a new playground and plaza.

Property owner Peninsula Rockaway LP plans to construct 2,220 housing units and 72,000 square feet of retail, including a supermarket, and 77,000 square foot of space for community facilities on the site bounded roughly by Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 50th and Beach 53rd streets. The buildings, which will include below market-rate housing and units for seniors, range in height from eight to 19 stories.

City Councilmember Donovan Richard, who represents the area, backed the effort and says it will jump start the local economy with amenities the neighborhood truly needs.

“This neighborhood has always had the potential to not only serve as a retail destination for the local residents but as a tourist attraction,” Donovan said during Thursday’s Council vote. “I want my community to know we heard you loud and clear on the need to ensure we just aren’t building housing, but addressing the needs of the community as well.”

The massive mixed-use development will eventually include 11 buildings—to be built in five phases—along six new streets, with completion expected for 2034. 

Resilient design is a key component of the waterfront complex, with measures such as “Bioswales”, a bioretention rainwater system, and backup generators to ensure crucial functions remain operational during a Hurricane Sandy-level storm.

Edgemere Commons will not only help to rebuild the Rockaway Peninsula but will also revitalize the neighborhood and bring in a new era of economic growth.

As part of the project, Arker has agreed to launch a $2 million Community Benefits and Youth Development fund and will build a community center within Edgemere Commons.

Arker and Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation partnered to buy the former hospital site for $19 million in 2016. 

In recent months, NEBHDCo’s troubled record has taken fire. The affordable housing nonprofit, of which a NEBHDCo remains owner, has racked up a slew of housing code violations and debt to city agencies. Arker Companies has ceased working with NEBHDCo on Edgemere Commons and in the legal process of removing them from the project.