Gerard Romski, the CEO for Arverne By the Sea, said this week that construction on the Y at Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard would begin next month and it should open in 18 months. After several starts and stops, the developers of the Rockaway Y, to be built at Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, told The Wave on Tuesday that construction should begin next month. Gerard Romski, the CEO of Arverne By The Sea said, “We should close on the property with HPD on May 5, and we should start construction shortly thereafter.” Romski figures that the Y build-out period would last approximately 18 months. “[It will open] more like fall, early winter 2012,” he said.Romski also said that developers are in negotiations to bring stores into the transit/retail plaza that is currently being built on Beach 67 Street.“So far we have a Chase Bank and various other leases out there for signing,” Romski explained.
In addition to a restaurant, there would be other amenities, such as a dry cleaner. He did not want to go into detail because businesses had not yet given firm commitments. “[The plaza] should open in late summer of this year, or early fall,” the CEO said. The road to getting the Y built has been a long one. In the early 1990s, then-Congressman Charles Schumer promised Rockaway a pool at Riis Park. That never materialized. In 2006, ground was broken for a new Y as part of Arverne By The Sea.
Construction on the project was held up when residents objected to the size of the pool, instigating for an Olympic sized pool instead. The development process was held up when Community Board 14 asked for a hold until additional money could be found to build the larger pool and an enclosed gymnasium. Building was held up again last June when new funding was found to enclose the gymnasium, something residents had long wanted. The additional cost for the development of the building, however, automatically triggered Local Law 86, which was passed by the City and took effect in 2007. The law required that any project that costs more than $12 million and less than $30 million must be designed to meet at least 20 percent of national standards for LEED green building design, construction, operations and maintenance.
Late last year, Mayor Bloomberg signed a waiver to the law to allow building of the Y to commence. Had the mayor not signed off on the waiver, it is estimated construction would have been held up at least an extra year as the building plans made its way through various city agencies to get approval. Prior to the mayor’s approval Romski said the plans had already been changed to allow for a more “green” building, including low flush toilets and eco-friendly paint.