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City Seeks Developer to Renovate Thousands of Far Rockaway Apartments

By Katie Honan | February 22, 2016 5:47pm
 The renovation is part of a federal program to transfer units to Section 8. 
The renovation is part of a federal program to transfer units to Section 8. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ARVERNE — The city's Housing Authority put out a call for developers, as it is looking to renovate apartments at the Ocean Bay complex as part of a public-private partnership that will employ a federal program never before used by the city.

Under the plan, developers will renovate around 1,400 apartments at the complex along Beach Channel Drive between Beach 58th and Beach 54th streets.

The federal Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD program was started in 2011 through the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development to improve the nation's public housing. The plan with the Ocean Bay houses is the first time NYCHA is utilizing RAD, officials said.

Under the program, the apartments are transferred to the federal Section 8 program. NYCHA will continue to own the buildings as they transition to Section 8. Residents won't be forced out, officials said, and the units would be permanently affordable. 

NYCHA, which has long come under fire from residents for a backlog of delays in fixing maintenance and security problems, began working with residents of Ocean Bay, formerly known as the Edgemere Houses, in 2013 to discuss ways to improve the buildings, which were built in the 1950s.

Officials said the cost to overhaul the complex, which includes 24 buildings, is around $174 million to be used over 20 years. Work includes roof and boiler replacement, kitchen improvements and safety upgrades, officials said. 

Developers selected for the program would also be required to train and hire NYCHA residents and engage with locals on the project. 

The RFP, which was released Friday, is part of NextGeneration NYCHA, the city agency's 10 years strategic plan. 

NYCHA chair and CEO Shola Olatoye said the plan will protect the affordability of the city's public housing. 

"By leveraging the RAD program, we will help improve the quality of life for residents at Ocean Bay (Bayside), ensuring their apartments and buildings receive much-needed repairs and upgrades while preserving affordability and tenant protections," she said in a statement.

City Councilman Donovan Richards said he looked "forward to working with them to ensure that Rockaway residents get the most out of programs such as RAD."