Infrastructure improvements, affordable homes announced in Downtown Far Rockaway

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New York Construction Report staff writer

Street safety upgrades, 224 affordable homes, new pedestrian space and flood protection measures in Downtown Far Rockaway projects totalling $234 million were completed ahead of schedule and under budget, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced this week.

“These projects exemplify what it means for New York to become a ‘City of Yes,’” Adams said.

“This is the kind of community-led and community-supported investment we want to see more of and a prime example of government working the right way for the people of this city — getting this done ahead of schedule and under budget.”

Led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), and the New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the $120 million project — called Beach 21st — transformed vacant city-owned land into a new, affordable, mixed-use development project with 224 affordable homes near the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue subway station.

The department of design and construction completed seven years’ worth of infrastructure work in less than three years and did so well under budget, said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley.

“Above ground, the streetscape has been vastly improved, with new streets, curbs, and sidewalks, a new pedestrian plaza, and new bike lanes and green space. Below ground, the neighborhood now has more than two miles of modern storm sewers along with new catch basins and 10,000 feet of new water mains.

“We saved even more time using innovative solutions like our Early Completion pilot and by adding financial incentives at critical milestones to achieve schedule savings. These initiatives shaved months off the schedule, while providing upgraded sewers and streetscapes and allowing businesses to return to normal operations more quickly.

It’s a “remarkable transformation for a neighborhood that has been historically underserved and was heavily impacted by Superstorm Sandy.”

The $114 million infrastructure project was originally estimated to cost $139 million and require seven years. The timeline changed to three years, and the project was completed three months ahead of the promised three-year schedule and $25 million under budget.

Work included:

  • More than two miles of new storm sewers and 88 new catch basins to alleviate flooding
  • More than two miles of new curbs
  • 101,000 square feet of new sidewalks
  • 10,000 feet of existing sanitary sewers replaced with new pipes
  • 10,000 feet of aging water mains replaced with new pipes
  • 71 new trees for the neighborhood

The infrastructure project received the Award for Excellence in Design from the New York City Public Design Commission in 2017. DDC is also building the new Far Rockaway Library for Queens Public Library in the same community, which is anticipated to open next year.

“Our city’s economic comeback is driven by our mayor’s strategic investments in neighborhoods that have historically been left behind,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “The city is delivering on promises made to Far Rockaway today with transformative affordable housing, green infrastructure, and streetscape projects that make the area safer and more attractive to residents and businesses. My thanks to the city agencies, elected officials, and community stakeholders involved in making the community’s vision a reality.”

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