May 26, 2022
First Phase of Edgemere Commons Will Deliver 194 Affordable Homes, including 59 With Supportive Services, and 23,000 Square-Feet of Ground Floor Retail Space
Development of Former Hospital Site in Far Rockaway Will Ultimately Create Over 2,000 Mixed-Income Apartments, Medical Facilities, and Public Space
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on a $100 million affordable and supportive housing development in Far Rockaway, Queens. The 17-story building with 194 homes is the first phase of an 11-phase master redevelopment at the former Peninsula Hospital Center site. Known as Edgemere Commons, the mixed-use community will eventually offer over 2,000 affordable homes, retail, community space, medical facilities, and outdoor public space.
“This project represents a much-needed investment and a critical new resource for a community that deserves it,” said Mayor Adams. “With not only affordable homes but also public and retail space, we are making the best of this land and bringing safety, prosperity, and good health to hundreds of New Yorkers.”
“Edgemere Commons is the type of transformative development that will improve the lives of residents and strengthen the entire Far Rockaway community for decades to come,” said Governor Hochul. “By investing in this mixed-use development, we can add the types of high-quality housing, medical services, commercial activity and public space that reenergize neighborhoods and create a more inclusive, safe, and vibrant place to live.”
The 11-phase master development is the result of a large-scale rezoning at the former Peninsula Hospital Center. Once complete, Edgemere Commons will include 2,050 affordable and middle-income apartments, publicly accessible open space, new medical facilities, ground-floor retail shops, and parking.
The new development works in concert with the goals of New York City’s Resilient Edgemere Community Plan, which lays the framework for continued investment by the city in the Edgemere community for years to come. Developed through community input, the plan pairs the City’s recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy with a long-term vision for a higher quality of life for Edgemere residents.
The first building will feature 194 affordable apartments, 23,000 square-feet of ground floor retail space and 24,000 square-feet of parking for residents. The retail space is expected to include a supermarket, which was identified as an urgent need by community members during the public input period of the planning process.
The development will reserve 29 apartments for adults with developmental disabilities who will have access to on-site housing support services provided by the Block Institute.
An additional 30 apartments will be set aside for adults experiencing homelessness. These residents will have access to rental subsidies and supportive services through an Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative award administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH). The service provider is WellLife Network.
Residential amenities will include a community room, a recreation room, bicycle storage, laundry facilities, a roof terrace and outdoor activity space.
The building is designed to meet high standards for energy-efficiency and will pursue LEED Gold certification. Energy-efficient features include solar panels, Energy Star lighting, and Energy Star appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, bathroom fans and laundry machines. The Edgemere Commons master development will also incorporate resiliency measures to protect Far Rockaway against future storm events.
The development team for the first building at Edgemere Commons consists of The Arker Companies and Slate Property Group.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) is providing $22.7 million in subsidy. State financing for the first phase includes $14.7 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds and federal Low-Income Tax Credits that will generate $47.7 million equity from New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) awarded Brownfield Cleanup Program Tax Credits that will generate $5.6 million in equity. The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is providing $5 million in support. OMH will be providing $750,000 annually to subsidize the 30 supportive units through the Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative as well as $258,000 in Program Development Grant start-up costs.
“This is an incredible project in our effort to tackle the city’s housing shortage. Edgemere Commons will soon be home to over 2,000 new affordable units for New Yorkers in a community that faces a critical housing need,” said New York City Chief Housing Officer Jessica Katz. “Not only is this a major housing investment, but Edgemere Commons also represents the type of holistic community development projects that are helping us provide all New Yorkers with the amenities, jobs, and resources they deserve to have locally. Whether it is a new grocery store or community or public spaces on top of quality homes, one project at a time, we are building a more equitable and affordable New York City for all of our neighbors.”
“Breaking ground on the Edgemere Commons development represents what’s in store for the future of this coastal community: more affordable housing, more community resources, more grocery and dining options, more jobs, and most importantly, more preparedness for sea-level rise and superstorms like Hurricane Sandy,” said HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión Jr. “HPD’s Resilient Edgemere Community Plan is bringing millions of dollars in planned investment to not just rebuild, but re-envision what this community can become. Through projects like Edgemere Commons – and with the help of our partners in New York State government, Arker Companies, Slate Property Group, and Block Institute – we are making this dream a reality for the people who call Edgemere their home.”
“With affordable housing, a grocery store, and public space, Edgemere Commons shows how smart planning can deliver multiple goals at once,” said New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) Director Dan Garodnick. “DCP is proud to have helped advance this resilient development, and we look forward to the day that it invites future residents into their new homes.”
“Edgemere Commons will be a game changer for the Far Rockaway community by increasing housing supply, generating new economic activity, and enhancing quality of life for everyone who calls this neighborhood home,” said HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas. “Once complete, Edgemere Commons will offer thousands of modern apartments for families and seniors, integrated supportive homes, community facilities, and open public space. The state’s investment in the $100 million initial phase is an exciting first step that will deliver 194 affordable homes, including 59 with supportive services for adults who need assistance to live independently. Congratulations to all of our partners for making this development a reality.”
“OPWDD is proud to be part of this multi-phase project that will provide 29 new community-based opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to pursue their independence while providing them the right level of on-site supports from the Block Institute to help them succeed,” said The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Kerri Neifeld. “Innovative housing initiatives, like Edgemere Commons, provide endless possibilities for the people we support to live and take part in their neighborhoods, and we applaud Governor Hochul for her ongoing commitment to ensuring that people with developmental disabilities are thoroughly supported to live with respect and dignity within their communities.”
“Edgemere Commons will provide beautiful homes to enable vulnerable individuals and families to live successfully in their community while receiving the services they need,” said OMH Dr. Ann Sullivan. “I thank Governor Hochul for being a great champion of expanding our network of supportive housing across the state. Her housing plan will create or preserve 10,000 units of supportive housing, giving thousands of people living with mental illness the opportunity to live in safe and stable housing.”
“Backed by Governor Hochul’s support for the Brownfield Cleanup Program in the 2022-23 State Budget, New York State continues to follow through on its commitment to transform hundreds of underused, abandoned, and blighted properties into productive spaces that benefit the communities that surround them,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “With DEC’s successful Brownfield Cleanup Program and other funding from state and federal partners, the former Edgemere Commons in Queens will serve a useful purpose, providing affordable homes and retail space that will benefit generations to come.”
“This long-awaited project is getting underway and will be a major benefit for Edgemere and the surrounding communities,” said New York State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. “The first phase of the Edgemere Commons project is set to bring in nearly 200 affordable apartments, retail space, and supportive services that will improve the lives of hundreds of residents. When we create support for people and listen to the needs of a community, we can start to raise people up and provide them with opportunities they may have never had before.”
“I am ready to welcome the new development of Edgemere Commons that will transform and repurpose the old Peninsula Hospital Center site into another community anchor institution that will provide units for homelessness, adults with developmental disabilities, and a whopping total of 2,050 affordable and middle-income apartments,” said New York State Assemblymember Khaleel Anderson. “The rebuilding of the Rockaway Peninsula continues.”
“Breaking ground on the first phase Edgemere Commons represents a major milestone in our shared effort to create a sustainable, resilient, and amenity-filled community that will bring much-needed and long-overdue affordable and supportive housing to the families of Rockaway,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “After years of blight stemming from the closure of the old Peninsula Hospital, the revolutionary Edgemere Commons is now one step closer to reality. The future of Edgemere and the entire Rockaway Peninsula is looking much brighter thanks to the development of Edgemere Commons.”
“As a former Peninsula Hospital employee, I recognize the significant loss our community faced in the facility’s absence,” said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers. “With that said, I am pleased that the site will address another critical need — access to new, affordable housing. Edgemere Commons will help address New York’s housing crisis and alleviate burdens on families. I thank the Arker and Tishman Speyer development teams for their work on the project thus far and look forward to working with them to see it through and continuing to explore ways to address the health needs of our newly growing Peninsula community.”
“By breaking ground on Edgemere Commons, we are today one step closer to achieving the vision laid out by this community for a revitalized Edgemere, one that generations will be proud to call home,” said Dan Moritz, principal, The Arker Companies. “From providing much-needed affordable housing, to eradicating a food desert, to bringing jobs, open space, and retail into the peninsula, this community will finally receive the investment it deserves so that Edgemere can thrive.”
“We are proud to join the Edgemere community and break ground today on a project that will help shape the neighborhood’s bright future,” said David Schwartz, principal, Slate Property Group. “Not only will the first phase provide nearly 200 new, safe, affordable homes for the people of Edgemere, it will also bring a new economic life to a community that has been waiting for these resources. With this first building, we are one step closer to making this long-dreamt vision that puts the voices of the community first real.”
“For 60 years, Block Institute has been dedicated to developing programs and services to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and we are so proud to be part of the transformational Edgemere Commons Project,” said Scott Barkin, executive director, Block Institute. “Edgemere represents our continued support of lives reimagined and dreams realized and continues our growth in community involvement and development. Our work is mission-driven, meaningful, and immensely rewarding.”
“Safe and affordable housing in New York City is a challenge for all New Yorkers,” said Sherry Tucker, CEO, WellLife Network. “It is even more of a challenge for individuals coping with a disabling illness. By partnering with Arker Companies and the Slate Property Group, our goal is to offer supportive, safe, and nurturing environments where all tenants feel a sense of cohesion and belonging to a larger community.”
“Wells Fargo is proud to continue our long-standing relationship with The Arker Companies to create an affordable and attractive place for families to call home,” said Alan Wiener, head of multifamily capital, Wells Fargo. “The team’s values align with ours, and our national priority to offer debt and equity solutions to create and preserve much needed housing in the communities where we live and serve.”