New development coming to southeast Queens

A score of local officials and civic leaders joined by about a hundred people interested in home ownership attended groundbreaking ceremonies for a new development in southeast Queens.
The first phase of the new development, called Locust Manor Estates, will feature 60 two- and three-family homes in what is billed as a &#8220private setting.” The large property had been vacant for over 50 years after the single house on it had been torn down.
Located at the intersection of Baisley Boulevard and 172nd Street, the location is minutes from the Locust Manor LIRR station and a few blocks from Baisley Pond Park. The phased development will also include 56 units of &#8220affordable senior housing” and 140 middle-income co-ops. In keeping with the arboreal theme, the two- and three-family homes come in four designs, named Ash, Birch, Cedar and Dogwood.
According to one of the developers, Leonard D’Amico, &#8220I think that the community we are building here is something the neighbors can be proud of-very affordable market-rate housing for middle-income families.”
His enthusiasm was echoed by a partner, Peter G. Florey, who declared, &#8220This is a testimony to the strength of the community. The era of ‘red-lining’ is over. Several banks wanted to participate, but Citibank offered the best structure. This is the first new construction on the site in over a hundred years.”
Before the actual groundbreaking, on Saturday, November 4, a large crowd gathered under a tent on the grounds to enjoy a buffet and hear remarks from Florey, Borough President Helen Marshall, Senator Malcolm Smith, former Congressmember Reverend Floyd Flake of the Allen AME Church in Jamaica, and others.
Flake also opened the ceremony with a benediction, and garnered ripples of laughter when he declared, &#8220I have come to bless this food . . . which we have already begun eating,” and again when he congratulated the crowd for their healthy appetites. Later, he spoke about earthly themes, advising listeners of the wisdom of avoiding consumer debt and the value of acquiring real estate.The speech was followed by a drawing for a $250 gift certificate to P.C. Richard and Son, an appliance and electronics store chain. The winner was Nadine Thomas, a local resident who was accompanied by her children, Jalea, 6, and Jardin, 4.
The parcel of land had become an area of concern for local residents, and after &#8220lengthy negotiations,” was secured from the Rochdale Village Cooperative, according to Florey.