Saturday, September 26, 2009

Howard Beach Senior Housing to Open in 2012 by Stepehn Geffon - Queens Chronicle

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Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens was selected to turn the Bernard Fineson Developmental Center of Howard Beach into affordable senior housing. (photo courtesy Catholic Charities)

Groundbreaking for the Howard Beach Senior Residence, at the site of the old Bernard Fineson Developmental Center at 155-55 Crossbay Blvd., is scheduled for late spring 2010, according to John Tynan, executive director of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens.

The nonprofit organization, which presented its plans to Community Board 10 members last week, was selected last June to construct affordable senior housing at the site. The senior residence is expected to be completed in early 2012.

Tynan said he believes the project will help address the critical local need for affordable senior housing while reusing an important community asset. Since 1975, Bernard Fineson of Howard Beach provided care, education and training to adults and children with developmental disabilities and multiple handicapping conditions.

The new eco-green senior residence, which will occupy 111,000 square feet and sit on 3.4 acres, will both retain and expand upon the Fineson model by providing 81 units of affordable housing for seniors and individuals with developmental disabilities. The $26.6 million project will consist of 30 studio and 51 one-bedroom apartments, laundry facilities, a community space, resident lounges and offices. The main entrance will be upgraded and a second entrance will be added. Outside, the parking lot will accommodate 106 cars and the grounds will be landscaped with additional recreation areas and raised tenant gardens specifically designed for seniors. All tenants will be supported by Catholic Charities’ network of community and social services.

The apartments, which are expected to rent for between $700 and $800, are targeted toward seniors over the age of 60 and individuals with developmental disabilities and are designed to be affordable to those with incomes up to 80 percent of the area median income — about $40,000 for a couple. Fifty percent of the senior units will go to residents of C.B. 10.

The apartment application process will begin in late spring 2010 and will be coordinated with C.B. 10 in a community outreach program, Tynan said, adding, “Every senior in Community Board 10 should have plenty of notice and plenty of understanding to get their application in.”

Tynan emphasized that the community board and local elected officials will be kept appraised as the project moves along. “There will be no surprises.”

State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) told board members he is very confident the community will benefit from a Catholic Charities project — that it will fit in with the community and create construction job when he said, “I’m very optimistic about what is the future of the Fineson Center site.”