Friday, September 30, 2016
Future hotel-shelters worry Jamaica residents
From the Queens Chronicle:
When you live near one of the busiest airports in the world and a train ride from downtown Manhattan, you are going to live near hotels.
But residents of Southeast Queens are becoming increasingly worried that the proliferation of smaller hotels either opened up or under construction dovetails all too well with the city’s recent penchant for locating homeless shelters and other supportive housing within Community Board 12.
Glenn Greenridge, the Land Use Committee chairman at CB 12, went down a partial list last week:
• one in the early stages of construction at the corner of 115th Avenue and Guy R. Brewer Boulevard;
• a 56-room facility beginning construction at 97-01 Waltham Street;
• another two blocks away with a proposed 42 rooms near the intersection of Waltham and 97th Avenue;
• an 85-room site under construction next to the Howard Johnson Hotel on Archer Avenue; and
• excavation underway for a hotel at 140-35 Queens Blvd., less than a block away from a building at 140-17 that looks close to completion.
“When the folks made their presentation to put a hotel in the old TWA building at Kennedy Airport, they said they’re spending $62 million of their own money. They said their research showed hotels in Queens were at capacity,” Greenridge told the Chronicle in an interview last week.
“But what happens in two or three years if the economy changes and the demand doesn’t keep up with the supply?” he asked. “We have over 10 proposed hotels in CB 12 alone. A property owner [of a smaller hotel] might decide $80 to $100 per night per room from the city sounds pretty good.”
Greenridge’s comments came two days after a meeting of CB 12 where many expressed their belief that the exploding number of hotel applications in the district coming at a time when the city is experiencing a homeless crisis is not a coincidence.
Greenridge said residents’ fears are not groundless, with the city having converted at least one hotel into a shelter in his memory, and that they have every right to be concerned.
Residents in the district already have little if any trust in Mayor de Blasio or the Department of Homeless Services when it comes to shelters.