Queens, NY The New York City Council voted to advance the Arker Cos. Edgemere Commons revitalization plan, which seeks to reactivate the site of the former Peninsula Hospital and serve as an anchor of economic growth for the Edgemere neighborhood. The project is being designed by Aufgang Architects.
Edgemere Commons will be built in five phases and construction is slated to begin in 2020. The development includes 11 buildings with an expected completion date of 2034.
Edgemere Commons will create 2,050 units of mixed-income affordable housing and include 150,000 s/f of commercial and community facility spaces. The project is expected to bring in a new supermarket, Western Beef, to the neighborhood and dedicate 72,000 s/f to local and national retailers, restaurants and coffee shops. Edgemere Commons will also create a total of 38,000 s/f of public open space including a children’s playground and a public plaza that will allow for special events, regular programming and community engagement.
The Arker Cos. have committed to a local hiring goal of 35% and 30% MWBE for subcontractors to ensure local residents and minority owned businesses benefit from this investment in their community. In an area where the median family income is the lowest on the Rockaway peninsula, the affordable levels of this development will offer support to local residents. Edgemere Commons will create 2,050 units with diverse income bands ranging from 30-130% AMI as a way to anchor economic growth. A total of 270 of the affordable housing units will be dedicated to seniors.
“From the start, we wanted a project that had the best interests of the community at its heart. 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,” said Daniel Moritz, principal at Arker Cos. “We are pleased to have the support of the City Council and council member Richards in particular, as we begin construction on a plan that will reinvigorate Edgemere and start a new chapter in its history.”
“Our master plan for the development of Edgemere Commons is the result of years of collaboration between the Far Rockaway community-at-large and a group of the regions foremost experts in the fields of design and construction,” said Ariel Aufgang, principal of Aufgang Architects. “We are excited to move forward with this project to get scores of families out of substandard housing and into this dynamic mixed-use project.”
As part of the Arker Companies’ commitment to promote neighborhood opportunity, they will launch a $2 million Community Benefits and Youth Development fund and build a community center in Edgemere Commons.
“This project will serve as a template for what a resilient mixed-use development should look like in the 21st Century. During a time when our city is facing one of the largest housing crises we have ever witnessed, this project will produce over 2,000 units of true affordable housing,” said council member Donovan Richards. “I want to thank the Arker Cos. for their commitment to the Rockaway community and I would also like to thank Community Board 14, the Peninsula Hospital Taskforce, and all of the community stakeholders who engaged in this project.”
Edgemere Commons is expected to spur economic development in the struggling neighborhood, bringing in $1.486 billion in growth and creating 300-350 annual construction jobs as well as 650 permanent jobs for locals in neighborhood retail, residential operation and management, health and community services, and more.
Western Beef will be the anchor tenant of the development, with a 20,000 s/f supermarket along Beach Channel Dr. as part of the project’s first phase, granting access to healthy and affordable food options in a neighborhood that is lacking healthy food options.
The Arker Cos. advanced Edgemere Commons through a collaborative effort between various neighborhood stakeholders, which has resulted in broad-based support among community groups in Edgemere.
“Today, young people growing up on the Rockaway Peninsula see a future where opportunity and affordability are slipping away,” said Milan Taylor, founder and executive director of the Rockaway Youth Task Force, a local youth advocacy nonprofit that has been a key backer of the proposal. “By bringing thousands of new affordable apartments to the Rockaway Peninsula, Edgemere Commons will spur economic development so that the next generation of our youth will have the opportunity to succeed in our community.”
The project also calls for the creation of a new street network and will feature innovative resiliency and storm preparedness measures including bioswales, bioretention rainwater system solar panels, green and gray water infrastructure and extended tree pits. Standby generators will be included in all buildings with emergency outlets in each unit.