By Adam Kramer
Empire State Development Corporation has issued a request for proposals on an 8.5-acre site at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center just at the time that nearby communities are in an uproar over a city plan to build three schools on the sprawling campus.
The parcel of land Empire has offered for development is located at the corner of Winchester Boulevard and Hillside Avenue about a mile away from the area at Creedmoor that is under consideration for an elementary school, an intermediate school and a high school.
The state agency is open to commercial bids on the 8.5-acre parcel and Triangle Equities, a Whitestone development firm, has shown interest in the property.
Possible uses for the land are housing and a state-of-the-art supermarket.
“There is discussion that a portion of the Creedmoor property will be sold for housing, which will accommodate even more school age children,” said Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis). “There must be coordination between the Board of Education and the developer to determine the potential number of families which will add children to the schools.”
The Times/Ledger erroneously reported last week that Triangle Equities was eyeing a 20-acre parcel next to the proposal school site, when in fact the tract is made up of only 8.5 acres and in a different section of Creedmoor.
According to Eric Mangan, spokesman for the Empire State Development Corporation, the acreage adjacent to the school site is still being discussed. Empire State Development is managing the sale of part of the Creedmoor property.
The request for proposals is basically a three-step process. The state first announces through a public notice in a newspaper that it plans to sell a piece of state-owned land and is accepting development proposals. Next, prospective developers submit their plans for the site and then the state chooses its buyer.
Mangan said the request for proposals was released in December and the developers interested in the land have until mid-March to submit their bids.
Triangle Equities has contacted members of the community to find out how residents feel about the proposed development.
Triangle Equities indicated it would like to measure the reaction of community members to a possible state-of-the-art supermarket, additional residential units and a long-term care facility at the site.
Leffler said there would be an impact on the community, but a development plan has not been formulated nor a presentation made for the site.
According to Leffler, if the land is sold a zoning variance must be enacted, forcing any housing built on the proposed site to follow the community's zoning regulations. He said there has not been any determination made as to what type of housing might be built but senior housing has been discussed.
“There is a real need for housing in Queens,” said Leffler. “The problem with illegal housing exists because there is a need for housing. Some housing construction is necessary and appropriate.”
Sally Martino-Fisher, district manager for Community Board 13, said the community board has not weighed in on the development of the site.
“They are working on the schools issue, before they can give an opinion on the development of the site,” she said. “The community board needs to deal with the school's problem.”