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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


Two-Part FAR ROC Competition Calls for Innovative Design and Construction Concepts for 80+ Acre Site in the Rockaways 

April 16, 2013, New York – The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the development team of L+M Development Partners, The Bluestone Organization, and Triangle Equities, along with the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIA New York) and Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (Enterprise) today launched the two-phase “For a Resilient Rockaway” (FAR ROC) design competition at the Center for Architecture in New York City. The FAR ROC competition seeks exciting and innovative ideas for developing the 80+ acre Arverne East site into a comprehensive new mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable and storm-resilient community that will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while maintaining the balance between innovation and affordability. 

The devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy on low-lying communities in the greater New York area emphasized the need for thoughtful and critical consideration of how cities should approach the future development of their flood-prone areas. FAR ROC will use the 80+acre Arverne East site as a laboratory to identify and explore best practices in waterfront development for the 21st century and beyond. FAR ROC will also provide an opportunity for teams of architects, planners and other design professionals to propose innovative building solutions that not only are responsive to New York City’s housing needs, but also bring critical economic development to the Rockaways. In addition, it is hoped that the winning design concepts may serve to guide long-term planning and development strategies in New York City and other densely populated seaside communities. 

”We have a responsibility to develop affordable housing in a thoughtful way that creates vibrant neighborhoods that are both livable and resilient,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “By inviting the design and architectural community to be our partners in innovation, we are looking to the future. We know that we can build storm-resistant communities – we have done it before in the Rockaways – but we also know that we should take every opportunity to learn from our hardships and to tap the best practitioners available to move forward with the latest in design and innovation. Arverne East must be designed as an affordable 21st century community fit to thrive in the face of 21st century storms.” 

In the early 2000’s, HPD issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for two sites in the Rockaway peninsula: Arverne by the Sea and Arverne East.  Today, Arverne by the Sea is a vibrant, mixed-income community with almost 800 completed and occupied units, and another approximately 500 units under construction. At full completion the development will have up to approximately 2,300 new affordable and market rate units in two- and three-family homes along with mid-rise multi-family buildings, new retail space, a YMCA and charter school. Due to strong planning and design guidelines that included resiliency measures, Arverne by the Sea was minimally impacted by Hurricane Sandy. 

Arverne East is an 80+ acre City-owned site located in a FEMA Flood Zone A beach-front section of the Rockaways that experienced significant surge inundation during Hurricane Sandy.  In 2007, the team of L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities was selected as the winning respondents to the Arverne East RFP.  The team proposed an engaging neighborhood development plan that incorporated a mix of uses, including retail, recreational, commercial, and residential development. Development was delayed by the recent economic crisis and downturn in the real estate market, along with a lack of infrastructure. Today, the undeveloped nature of the site makes it an ideal proving ground for innovative and sustainable development solutions. The FAR ROC competition intends to use Arverne East as a model to explore best practices in waterfront development for the 21st century and beyond.   

“One of the crucial lessons learned from the effects of Hurricane Sandy is that now, more than ever, we must pay careful attention to developing the most sustainable, resilient waterfront communities possible,” said Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M Development Partners. “The FAR ROC competition will encourage the pursuit of practices in line with this mission from every angle of development – be it planning, design or construction. We’re looking forward to working closely with the entrants to implement their most innovative ideas in our development of Arverne East in Far Rockaway. 

“As a Queens-based developer for over 85 years, we are proud to co-sponsor this competition as a way to work with our Rockaway Peninsula neighbors in their recovery,” said Steve Bluestone, Partner at The Bluestone Organization. “We anticipate that the competition will lead to ideas that will not only help us rebuild a long-neglected area, but will also create a showcase community which inspires other coastal regions around the world that want to remain viable in the new world that climate change is thrusting upon us all.” 

“This is a critical time for our City, and as developers based in Queens, we have a responsibility to its residents and our communities,” said Lester Petracca, Principal of Triangle Equities, “a responsibility to create a safe, innovative and sustainable development that can stand strong and respond to an ever-changing environment.  We look forward to working with the design team and making this vision a reality.” 

“Hurricane Sandy served as a sobering reminder to all of us of the importance of having a safe place to call home, and given the susceptibility of shoreline communities to future weather-related crises, it is essential that we come together to strengthen their housing infrastructure and promote sustainability and resiliency,” said Shola Olatoye, Vice President and New York Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. “The FAR ROC competition is a crucial first step toward ensuring a stable future for these vulnerable communities, utilizing innovation to bring affordable and sustainable development to the area.” 

“The future of New York City is about growth – finding locations where new housing can be built that allows for a diverse population to find new homes. The FAR ROC competition will envision ways that an extraordinary site in Arverne, Queens, can be made into a safe, resilient, and robust community.  AIA New York is proud to play a role in creating environmentally-sensitive housing in our Post-Sandy city,” said Rick Bell, Executive Director, AIA New York. 

FAR ROC seeks concepts for a comprehensive mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable and storm-resilient community that will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while maintaining a balance between innovation and affordability.  Proposed solutions should promote new housing, employment, and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors throughout the region.  

FAR ROC is jointly sponsored by HPD, the team of L+M Development Partners, the Bluestone Group, and Triangle Equities, along with Enterprise Community Partners and the Committee on the Environment of the AIANY, and organized by a Steering Committee consisting of officers from the these organizations.  The Steering Committee worked to create the competition, its guidelines and parameters. It also selected a panel of independent jurors consisting of community leaders and stakeholders, industry experts and others who will evaluate the submissions and select the winning entries. 

Phase I of the competition seeks proposals on how to balance the environmental and financial challenges of development in flood-prone areas with the social and economic needs of existing communities. Project teams are asked to submit a proposed site plan, along with specific resilient development strategies, smart infrastructure strategies, and proposed uses for any facilities on the site. Innovative submissions from individuals, students and non-licensed firms are welcomed during Phase I of the competition; however, finalist project teams proceeding to Phase II of the design competition must include at least one licensed architect and one licensed engineer.  

Phase I is anonymous.  Entrants must register on the competition website by 5:00pm on Friday June 14th, and by doing so will receive an automatically generated unique number that will be used to identify their submission. This unique number system will ensure the anonymity of Phase I submissions for the independent competition jury. Identifying information provided on the on-line registration form and associated with the unique entry number will be retained confidentially until the conclusion of Phase I. Phase I submissions are due no later than the 5:00pm, June 14th deadline. 

The Semi-finalists chosen to move on to Phase II by the independent competition jury will be announced on July 15 and will be awarded $30,000 each to further develop their proposed design solutions. Phase II submissions will be due from each semi-finalist team in the required physical and electronic submission formats at the offices of AIANY by Monday, October 7, 2013. The winning project team will be announced on October 24, in advance of the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.  The winning project team will receive an additional prize of $30,000 and the opportunity to engage with the City, L+M Development Partners, the Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities to discuss the possible production, design and construction documents for the development of the project. 

For more information about the FAR ROC competition and how to submit a design, please visit


 About the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)

HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by the close of the 2014 fiscal year. Since the plan’s inception, more than 144,781 affordable homes have been financed. For more information, visit 

About AIA New York

AIA New York is the largest and oldest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, with nearly 5,000 architect and affiliate members. AIANY is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development. Towards these aims, it operates the Center for Architecture – a storefront exhibition and event space in Greenwich Village – sponsors public programs, and publishes Oculus magazine. AIANY was an integral partner of two previous housing initiatives. The first, initiated in 2004, is the New Housing New York Legacy Project, which was New York City’s first juried design competition for affordable and sustainable housing that led to Via Verde in the South Bronx. The second, launched in 2012, is the adAPT NYC Competition to develop model micro-unit apartments. 

About The Bluestone Organization

The Bluestone Organization is a Queens-based third generation family-owned developer of over 5,000 units of housing in the New York City metropolitan area over the past 85 years, including work force rental and homeownership units in conjunction with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Housing Development Corporation and NYC Housing Partnership, and the NY State Housing Finance Agency, Affordable Housing Corporation and Homes and Community Renewal.  The firm has a proven track record of quality in design and construction, winning many local, state and national awards including most recently, the 2010 New York Housing Conference Private Developer of the Year Award, and The Andrew, recently completed in Rego Park Queens, was designated as “best performing building in a multifamily new construction four stories or greater” in New York State. 

About Enterprise Community Partners

Enterprise is a leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities. For 30 years, Enterprise has introduced neighborhood solutions through public-private partnerships with financial institutions, governments, community organizations and others that share our vision. Enterprise has raised and invested more than $13.9 billion in equity, grants and loans to help build or preserve nearly 300,000 affordable rental and for-sale homes to create vital communities. Visit and to learn more about Enterprise's efforts to build communities and opportunity. 

Since opening a New York office in 1987, Enterprise has created or preserved more than 41,000 affordable homes for 116,000 New Yorkers, and has committed over $2.4 billion in equity, grants, and loans to community development projects across the city. 

About L+M Development Partners                                                                                  

Since 1984, L+M Development Partners has been an innovator in developing quality affordable, mixed-income and market rate housing, while improving the neighborhoods in which it works.  A full-service firm, L+M works from conception to completion, handling development, investment, construction and management with creativity that leads the industry.  L+M is responsible for more than $2.5 billion in development, investment and construction and has created more than 15,000 high-quality units in the tri-state area alone. The firm is also expanding its geographic footprint to the Gulf region and West coast.  Community leaders, government officials and investment organizations turn to L+M because of its consistent track record of excellence. 

L+M is a double bottom line company, where its success is measured not only in financial returns but also by the positive impact it makes. L+M  takes pride in its  long-standing dedication to the communities it serves, demonstrated through an annual scholarship fund, job training programs and substantial support for local nonprofits. L+M brings a superior level of commitment to its investments in developments, and equally important, to its investment in people. Additional information can be found at

 About Triangle Equities

Triangle Equities is a diversified, full service real estate company. Triangle and its related entities develop, own, and manage commercial, residential, and mixed use properties in the New York Metropolitan area. 

Triangle Equities focuses on “value-added” developments and specializes on city projects. We are efficient at obtaining all necessary approvals and working with municipal agencies to bring a project to fruition that utilizes a property to its full potential and realizes the best outcome and future potential for its tenants and community members. 

Triangle’s success and continued strength is evidence by its ability to develop relationships and gather support from local community groups and elected officials. Our principals work hand in hand with the community, through a long and complex process; until both the community and elected officials are satisfied—thus ensuring the project reaches an economical and sociological conclusion.

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