Sunday, November 18, 2018

Parkway Hospital redevelopment approved by CB6

From the Forest Hills Post:

Community Board 6 resoundingly voted to approve plans for a major residential redevelopment of Forest Hill’s abandoned Parkway Hospital.

The board voted 33 to 1 at Wednesday’s meeting in favor of the plan, which includes the construction of a 14-story building at the 70-35 113th St. complex, and the addition of two floors to the existing 6-story hospital building on site. A total of 351 apartments are slated for the project.

The developers, Jasper Venture Group LLC and Auberge Grand Central LLC, had filed an application in September to rezone the property and allow for their towers, taller and denser than allowed under current zoning, to be built. Their application also sought to designate the property under a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) zone, the first in the area.

The proposed plan would turn the existing hospital building, with its two additional floors, into a residential tower with 135 affordable units, with 68 of these apartments for seniors. A 4,000 square foot community facility is also planned for the building, which is likely to be taken up by a medical service provider.

The 14-story tower, meanwhile, would be built in the vacant parking lot of the former hospital and house 216 market-rate units. The majority of the apartments here are studios and one-bedrooms, with 44 two-bedroom units.


Anonymous said...

Overdeveloped. More unaffordable housing. How much do you have to make to live there? 110k per year? 120k per year?

Anonymous said...

Why bother having zoning in this city anymore? I really don't get the point.

Every time developers buy a piece of property they apply for a permit to build what is larger than allowed and it is passed.

Why can't we tell them no, you have to follow the current zoning?

Anonymous said...

Cut the size in half maybe, but this plan is way too large.

Anonymous said...

I live a few blocks from there and I think the new zoning is a huge mistake. I don't mind if they gut and redo the hospital to make it apartments, but adding to the height of the building and putting a second, much taller building on the property is a mistake. The elementary school next door is already over crowded and I don't think Forest Hills can take any more transient young families with 1-2 kids moving in because they still want a semi-urban lifestyle, but ultimately ending up needing more space and move to LI; also, this location is a big walk to the subway and is surrounded by one family houses, talk about an eyesore. The Community Board is just desperate to have someone develop the site after sitting vacant so long. The city should have bought it and expanded the school next door.

JQ LLC said...

This city needs more hospitals than public housing for people that don't need the government's aid to find one. Unless this portends a future where making six figures is considered lower class income like in San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever had to go to the Emergency Room in any hospital in NYC? The wait time is hours. Not the fault of the hospital. All NYC hospitals are bursting at the seams. We need to build more of them. Where are all these people supposed to go when they get sick or have a medical emergency? Lots of people from Queens cross the bridge to Manhattan in search of emergency care, however, the Manhattan hospitals are overcrowded too. Why doesn't this city have a "City Planning Commission?" All these politicians care about is money and overdevelopment.

JQ LLC said...

Last anon

I am sure you heard the story of a bodega holdup in gentrified safe Astoria where the managers brother chased down 3 thugs and got shot by one of them. The ambulance had to take him across town to Elmhurst Hospital. It's just insane.

These predatory developers think these hip young gentries are never going to get sick or critically hurt. Wait til the scooter ride shares get permitted.

Anonymous said...

How does MORE housing cause housing to be MORE unaffordable. Check your logic!

Queens Crapper said...

The logic being this:

You take a neighborhood that is predominantly 2-6 family homes and you develop a cloud buster (relatively speaking) of market rate housing. This drives up housing prices in the surrounding area. Developers aren't building moderately priced homes anymore. They can't afford to without a tax incentive like MIH.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully, you obviously, or at least sound like, don't believe in supply and demand basic theory, therefore you are rationalizing YOUR logic, i.e. believing that additional supply (market rate or otherwise) will bring prices up. They could afford to build with MIH. MIH is mandatory when you propose a rezoning beyond low to mid range density. If helps their bottom line, but does not dictate it.

Queens Crapper said...

Supply and demand would work on its own, but there are a multitude of factors that drive up housing prices in NYC. Ask anyone in Bushwick, Williamsburg, Greenpoint or LIC if their housing prices have stabilized or become more affordable with the skyscrapers they now have thanks to the rezoning of their neighborhoods. You seem to not understand how things work.

TommyR said...

Tax rates for property owners have certainly not fallen as a result of additional housing built in W'msburg or Elm, I'll tell you that.

Why not have a hybridized solution of one part residential-tower to one-part hospital-setting? The borough does need more hospitals - emergency room waits should not be hours-long experiences. We never got St John's Hospital by me back either - it's being revitalized without being built any higher- and that's great, sure..but it already had enough space to accommodate both functions in some fashion.

What ^Anon apparently fails to realize is that the complete replacement of an area's existing diversity of housing stock (be it by deliberate policy or passive allowance) does in fact render prices and rents higher, not lower, from observations so far.

Manhattan was at one point all low-rise, and while it would be foolish to expect that the City and the boroughs never, ever adapt or grow their skylines over time, putting giant skyscrapers everywhere does not seem to have made anything more affordable for existing residents. The refrain I often hear to this obvious point is simply that enough housing hasn't yet been built to impact prices. Right.

The other problem with rezoning is that it does not seem to follow any reasonable form: where it would make sense to take existing one-story commercial lots bracketed by higher neighbors on main streets and just raise their height uniformly, you don't see that at all (Austin street, Main Street, many other places). Plenty of small one-story shops where at least a half-dozen more stories could go atop, but nothing happens.

But where you see two and three story 1-4 family houses on quiet side-streets, why suddenly allow an 8 or 9 story brick or glass box to rise up and overshadow its neighbors? Most people would have absolutely no problem with the former setup, but does anyone who paid dearly to live in an actual house-like abode want to be dwarfed by something so out-of-place?

Anonymous said...

Sure, I get the "whataboutism" Crapper, but don't ignore supply/demand (it is not a theory, but a reality)

Anonymous said...

Tommy, you analyze the supply questions, but you completely disregard the demand component. Without liberalizing rules to increase supply (zoning strangulation, building code/regs unrelated to health/safety, etc.), you can not meed the demand, that you completely yield to characterize.

Anonymous said...

You will never have enough affordable housing no matter how much you build. The more you build the more people will come. Its the same reason why highways aren't expanded anymore. The more lanes, the more traffic comes to use the lanes and the traffic persists. Its the principle of induced demand.

Thats why I never understand why people keep buying into this lets build affordable housing nonsense. All it does is destroy neighborhoods and line developers pockets with money.

Instead of destroying nice low rise areas of the city for a pipe dream of affordable housing, we should preserve the quality of the neighborhood for those already there.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous said...
"Instead of destroying nice low rise areas of the city for a pipe dream of affordable housing, we should preserve the quality of the neighborhood for those already there."
That is the right thing to do but I lost faith and beleive I will never see things change in this "Shattered" city. Just waiting my turn to retire and cash out.

Anonymous said...

Your "more lanes" argument is based on latent demand, and it is distinct from the demand on housing. Building more housing does not bring more people. However, more people are coming into this city (a good problem), and we need to stay ahead of that demand but facilitating a market that can adapt with the least amount of government intervention (which only exacerbates high housing costs, not lessens)

TommyR said...

To clarify for the readership induced and latent are synonymous in economic terms when describing a kind of demand; it does apply to transit and transport, less so to housing: if it's easier to drive (b/c the highway has been expanded, or it's less of a giant pain in the eye to cross the Kosciuszko), then yes some more people will actually decide to get on the roads.

It doesn't necessarily follow that if more housing gets built, then more people will move in - it's decidedly true from observation that more people would've come anyway: their decision to move was not contingent on knowing of the existence of more (affordable) housing in advance of making the move. Most of the time nobody who decides to come here knows much about the state of housing-on-the-ground beyond some cursory forum searches like on city-data.

So yes, it's good to get to building more affordable apartment towers to absorb that influx. The alternative is to only allow the mega-wealthy to have pied-à-terre here, which is not how a healthy society should be. Building up is one way of anticipating and getting in front of that problem before a lack of supply makes things even less livable for current renters (and more expensive for landlords, too - constantly rising home values is not always a good thing).

But it is not good to lay waste to low-rise streets and plonk down brick multi-units and glass towers hodge-podge where they are largely unwanted. NIMBY's should not get to decide that they don't want a tall building in their area, period, but they certainly should if it's literally right next to their small home. This is why I don't mind very tall and large buildings lining Queens boulevard from Sunnyside through Woodside to me in Elmhurst. The alternative is that they make in-roads (sooner, and faster) onto low-rise side-streets, so I'd rather have that pressure alleviated in advance by putting them where they are the least deleterious to local-of-quality-of-life: there are no (more) one and two-story homes sitting directly on that major boulevard (nor should there really be), so that's where the towers should go, if they have to go somewhere: the precedent was already set in Kew and Forest decades and decades ago before it ever turned up in LIC:

"During the late 1920s, in anticipation of the arrival of the subway, land was bought by developers and was built up. Zoning laws were changed to allow fifteen-story apartment buildings to be built, and made the neighborhood of Forest Hills a more desirable place to live, especially as it was an express stop."

^So you have to go back to before the 1920's to return to some idyllic "Queens was always only single-family homes and nothing else" fantasy land. If you lived in a world-class Western City like Barcelona or Rome (in terms of architecture and urban planning) this would all be moot - the city would've been laid out in a particular grid pattern, all lots would've been uniformly developed to the same aesthetic standards, and that would be that. It would be pretty, but also dull and monotonous in a way.

NYC is not the suburbs, and Queens is not Long Island. There will always be areas of the outer boroughs that are low-rise and spacious, but in order for those areas to continue and exist into the future, then obviously somewhere else has to be built UP - somewhere else has to then take on the "pressure" that demand puts on "under-developed" areas to shoulder that influx instead.

That's going to mean waterfront City-facing areas like W'msburg/LIC being built WAY, WAY up- but would you rather have the same density evenly distributed everywhere? Not me. This is what I mean by reasonable urban planning - this is what the zoning restrictions were meant to address: to keep like with like, for as long as possible. Let the towers go up on the boulevards and absorb the bulk of newcomers.