By Tom Momberg
The surplus section of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus will be completely vacant by 2017, which means the surrounding community and the state’s primary economic development agency must work together to find appropriate uses for the state land.
The state-owned campus includes 37 buildings in multiple Queens neighborhoods.
A 53-acre section of the campus that includes 25 buildings in Queens Village just south of the Union Turnpike has been designated a surplus by the state. After current leases end for other organizations at the site in March of 2017, all of the surplus buildings will be vacant, according to an Empire State Development official. Many of those buildings are in poor condition.
ESD hired BJH Advisors last year to help with planning on the campus, at which time it was rumored the governor was eyeing the land for a homeless shelter. That idea was met with strong community opposition, and has since been nixed.
BJH Advisors is currently working to identify potential uses for the site, based on input ESD got from community meetings last summer, treating them as scenarios and analyzing the feasibility of each one.
The psychiatric center, which operates alongside the state Office for People with Mental Disabilities and Office of Mental Health, will remain on the site, along with the public school campus on the Glen Oaks section of the property.
No public meetings concerning the site have been held in some time, but ESD said it was clear nearby residents would not want tall buildings or a large commerical operation.
State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Hollis), whose constituency includes Creedmoor but not the surrounding neighborhoods, said it is a difficult task to find possible solutions for the vacant land, but would hope residents are included in the process.
“I know they don’t want to see any high rises or any big box stores, and they certainly don’t want housing for homeless,” Comrie said.
Part of the difficulty in selecting an appropriate use for the surplus land is finding something a state or city agency could benefit from without having a negative impact on residential areas, or organizations that would invest in land they would have to lease from the state.
Comrie said it would be unlikely the state would give up any of the land on the Creedmoor campus.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb