The gavel has struck, and the deteriorating, old Rockaway Courthouse can be completely rehabilitated into a new medical center.
The long-abandoned, 28,000-square-foot site on Beach Channel Drive was an eyesore to the community. Last Monday, July 8, the Borough Board approved the $50,000 sale of the property to developer Uri Kaufman of the Harmony Group.
Neighbors around the decaying structure said the new facility will be welcomed warmly. They said the site has not served any purpose in years, and that a medical center can only be beneficial.
The Harmony Group plans to completely transform the existing building into a surgical center to be leased to medical tenants. The renovation will reportedly cost an estimated $10 million, with development scheduled to start in 2014.
“The decaying building has lain dormant for years,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who “wholeheartedly” supported the use of the building as a medical center.
She added there is an “urgent need” for additional medical care on the Rockaway Peninsula, which has not only suffered from both Sandy and Hurricane Irene. It has also seen the closing of Peninsula Hospital Center, leaving St. John’s Episcopal Hospital as the only hospital for more than 100,000 residents.