By Michael Leboff
Rockaway’s development and revitalization is no longer a secret. Every day it seems like there is something big coming. Whether it be anew restaurant or a new hotel or a new business, it is plain to see that people are betting on Rockaway.
While some people may think that Rockaway’s resurgence is happening overnight, the truth is that it began years ago. One of the catalysts of the Rockaway rebirth is Arverne By The Sea.
Back in 2000, HPD put out an RFP for the development and the Arverne by the Sea team, which is comprised of the Beechwood Organization and the Benjamin Companies, won the bid. The developers broke ground in 2004, the same year the fi rst unit was sold.
Since then about 1,500 units have been sold and 1,300 are currently occupied. Gerard Romski, who is the project executive of Arverne by the Sea, thinks that the burgeoning community’s diversity is a key draw. “I always say Arverne by the Sea is the gorgeous mosaic,” he explained. “It is a great place for not only the new first time homeowner but also for the new empty nester. It really has everything from great restaurants and shopping to surfing.”
The mid-peninsula development features residents who moved from all over the New York Metropolitan Area. Many came from Rockaway, but Romski says that the newest trend has seen new residents move from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Long Island. “The secret is out,” Romski said.
In addition to a modern beachfront home, new owners also receive a 20-year UDAPP tax abatement and a one-year family membership to the YMCA at Arverne by the Sea. There is also a Stop & Shop and a 25,000 square foot Retail Transit Plaza within steps of every home.
Residents of Arverne by the Sea are also among the peninsula’s best positioned when it comes to public transportation. The Beach 67th – Arverne by the Sea Train Station and express bus service to Manhattan are also just a stone’s throw from the development.
While all of these amenities are close to Arverne by the Sea, it is designed to be an inclusive community open to all of Rockaway. Just like the YMCA, the planned charter school at ABTS will be open to all.
The school being built at ABTS was originally supposed to be a primary school, but circumstances have forced a change in plans and Challenge Prep will be opening a charter middle school in the neighborhood.
Despite the change of plans, Romski and the ABTS team are continuing to do their part to keep Arverne by the Sea moving forward.
They are currently working on the design for the first phase of the new Tides North neighborhood, which will be built on the northwest corner of Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 69th Street. In all likelihood this new neighborhood will contain addi additional retail and restaurant space to go with about 220 housing units. According to Romski, the plan on how these units will be offered is still being discussed, but given the high demand, they may be market-rate rental units. Romski is hopeful that construction can begin on the neighborhood later this year or in early 2016.
The ABTS team remains hopeful that they will also be able to develop some of the vacant land that borders the development into a maritimethemed area with a new hotel, boat launch, and public esplanade.