Mayor Bill de Blasio joined Queens Borough President Donavan Richards, NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett, community leaders, city agency officials, and The Community Builders, Inc., on Monday, Feb. 22, for the topping off ceremony of the Beach 21st Street affordable housing development in Far Rockaway.
The development broke ground earlier last year and is part of a revitalization plan for Far Rockaway, one of the most underserved areas in New York City. The project includes 224 units of affordable housing for New Yorkers with low-to-moderate incomes, and ten percent of the units will be allocated to families experiencing homelessness.
An approximately 7,000 square feet community facility with a daycare center and 21,000 square feet of retail space for local businesses are also part of the plan. The project is expected to create over 59 permanent jobs and over 589 construction jobs. Additional areas of Far Rockaway’s rezoning effort include the upgrade of critical infrastructure, the creation of public spaces, the construction of the first new library since 1976, and the first new park since 1931.
For Louise Carroll, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, it is not only about affordable housing. It is also essential to create high-quality and sustainable developments that benefit the residents and strengthen the entire community.
“When complete, Beach 21st Street will be life-changing for 224 families. I’m looking forward to seeing this building completely listed, the restaurant downstairs bustling, and much brighter days ahead,” she elaborated. “The children who live here will have a place to play in the newly developed plaza and a place to learn and grow at the coming daycare and early childhood center on the ground floor.”
Richards was excited to see the transformation of the site, which sits on a former underused city lot. He thanked the mayor for his partnership on this project and emphasized that projects like Beach 21st Street create upward mobility, not only by building new homes but also by rebuilding lives, creating jobs, and a safe environment.
“What you see happening in downtown Far Rockaway is really a model of what and where the city will go when we talk about sustainable and resilient growth,” Richards said.
De Blasio commented on the resiliency of the residents of the Rockaways, an area that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and saw one of the highest COVID-19 rates in 2020.
“I remember even the days immediately after Sandy. People talked about coming back, fighting back. I did not meet a single defeated person in the Rockaways, and there is a saying, it’s not how many times you get knocked down; it’s how many times you get back up. That could be the slogan of the Rockaways,” the Mayor recalled.
He thanked everyone involved in the project and the powerful message they sent to New Yorkers by moving forward despite the pandemic.
“What’s happening here today is about bringing this city back, and I’m talking about how we recover; it has to be a recovery for all of us. I want to be clear – we can’t just have recovery for some people. We have to have a recovery for all of us.”