Friday, October 6, 2017
No movement on Rockaway courthouse project after 5 years
From The Wave:
Concrete plans for the long-dormant courthouse on Beach Channel Drive hang in the balance as the back-and-forth between local residents and developer Uri Kaufman continues.
At a special Sept. 28 Rockaway Beach Civic Association (RBCA) meeting regarding the courthouse, members of the civic tore into Kaufman, president and CEO of The Harmony Group, as well as New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) reps in an effort to clarify future uses for the space and vent their frustrations about the deplorable conditions of the site and adjacent lot.
The historic building, which formerly served as a Municipal and Magistrate’s court, was built in 1932. Save for a brief use by an arts group in the 70s, the 24,000 square-foot building at 90-01 Beach Channel Drive has remained dormant since 1962.
NYCEDC stepped in in 2012, issuing a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the adaptive reuse and redevelopment of the Rockaway courthouse. According to NYCEDC, the RFEI aimed to assess options for the reactivation of the site that were “compatible with the existing neighborhood in order to ultimately improve the overall quality of life for the community.”
As reported by The Wave in 2012, “a proposal for the development of the courthouse into an ambulatory surgical facility was approved by Community Board 14, which allows the developer [The Harmony Group] to move forward with negotiations to obtain the property from the city.”
Fast forward five years and the space, to the surprise of some but not many on the civic board, has yet to go into construction or finalize tenants.