Nov. 15, 2018 By Meghan Sackman
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 3 (with one abstention) 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.
A one-bedroom apartment in the market-rate tower is set at around $1,370 a month, while rent for a studio in the planned eight-story building comes at $1,279.
Developers are also planning a 180-car garage and a shared community outdoor garden space as part of the project. A shuttle bus transporting residents to and from other transportation networks is also in store.
Eric Palatnik, a zoning and land use attorney from the developers, said the project is going to be a win-win for all.
“Not only is there no affordable housing for seniors in your neighborhood, there is a lack of senior affordable housing in every single neighborhood in New York City,” he said. “That’s a testament to what we’re not doing right.”
Community members, however, still raised some concerns about the plan, especially its potential to overcrowd the already strained local schools with the families that could be moving into the complex.
“Everyone knows that Forest Hills elementary schools are excellent,” said Victoria Trainor, a Forest Hills resident with a child a P.S. 196. “These great schools are overcrowded, and this threatens the quality of education and the reputation of the neighborhood.”
Council Member Karen Koslowitz, who attended the meeting, was not as convinced that schools would be impacted, and strongly advocated for the senior housing that the project would provide.
“I have worked over 25 years to get senior housing into this community,” Koslowitz said. “I can’t begin to tell you how many calls I get in my office from seniors that are just about to be evicted because their rent has gone up.”
The Former Parkway Hospital rezoning plan now goes to the Queens Borough President before reaching City Council for review.
Plans for the property have been in the works for years. The site has been in decay since the hospital went bankrupt and closed in 2008, and a 2015 plan to redevelop the site fell through after a buyer failed to make good on the $22 million purchase of the property.