Officials break ground on $100 million Edgemere Commons megaproject in the Rockaways

Edgemere Commons Ground Breaking – Credit The Arker Companies & Slate PG 009
Officials break ground on phase one of the $100 million Edgemere Commons mega project in the Rockaways. (The Arker Companies)

Calling it a “true community-first development,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on May 26 helped break ground on the first phase of the $100 million Edgemere Commons affordable and supportive housing mega-project that will rise at the location of the former Peninsula Hospital.

The development will bring 11 buildings to the site with 2,050 affordable and middle-income apartments to a neighborhood where the median family income is the lowest on the Rockaway Peninsula, whose residents will benefit from hundreds of permanent and construction jobs.

“Breaking ground on the first phase of Edgemere Commons represents a major milestone in our shared effort to create a sustainable, resilient and amenity-filled community that will bring much-needed and long overdue affordable and supportive housing to the families of Rockaway,” Richards said. “After years of blight stemming from the closure of the old Peninsula Hospital, the revolutionary Edgemere Commons is now one step closer to reality. The future of Edgemere and the entire Rockaway Peninsula is looking much brighter thanks to the development of Edgemere Commons.”

Alongside Richards during the ceremonial groundbreaking was Councilwoman Selena Brooks-Powers, who now represents the neighborhood.

Edgemere Commons will be a mixed-use community that will eventually offer retail, community space, medical facilities and outdoor space.

“As a former Peninsula Hospital employee, I recognize the significant loss our community faced in the facility’s absence,” Brooks-Powers said. “With that said, I am pleased that the site will address another critical need — access to new, affordable housing. Edgemere Commons will help address New York’s housing crisis and alleviate burdens on families.”

The first building will feature 194 affordable apartments, 23,000 square feet of retail space that is expected to include a supermarket, which was identified as an urgent need by community members during the public input period of the planning process.

QNS file photo

“The first phase of the Edgemere Commons project is set to bring in nearly 200 affordable apartment, retail space and supportive services that will improve the lives of hundreds of residents,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “When we create support for people and listen to the needs of a community, we can start to raise people up and provide them with opportunities they may have never had before.”

The new development works in concert with the goals of the Resilient Edgemere Community Plan which pairs the city’s recovery efforts from Superstorm Sandy incorporating resiliency measures against future storm threats. The first building will include 29 units for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities and 30 units for adults experiencing homelessness.

“I am ready to welcome the new development of Edgemere Commons that will transform and repurpose the old Peninsula Hospital Center site into another community anchor institution that will provide units for homelessness, adults with developmental disabilities, and a whopping total of 2,050 affordable and middle-income apartments,” Assemblyman Khaleel Anderson said. “The rebuilding of the Rockaway Peninsula continues.”

The Arker Companies will develop the first of eleven phases of the project.

“By breaking ground on Edgemere Commons, we are today one step closer to achieving the vision laid out by this community for a revitalized Edgemere, one that generations will be proud to call home,” said Dan Moritz, principal, The Arker Companies. “From providing much needed affordable housing to eradicating a food desert, to bringing jobs, open space and retail into the peninsula, this community will finally receive the investment it deserves so that Edgemere can thrive.”

State financing for the first phase includes $14.7 million in permanent tax-exempt bonds and Federal Low-Income Tax Credits that will generate $47.7 million equity from New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

“Edgemere Commons is a transformative development that will improve the lives of residents and strengthen the entire Far Rockaway community for decades to come,” Governor Kathy Hochul said in a statement. “By investing in this $100 million mixed-use development, we are creating high-quality housing, medical services, commercial activity and public space that reenergize neighborhoods and build a more inclusive, safe and vibrant community for all.”