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Pan Am Shelter's Kitchen Renovations Will Cost Taxpayers $2M, Records Show

By Katie Honan | June 1, 2016 7:09am
 Renovations will cost $2.2 million more than the existing contract, officials said. 
Renovations will cost $2.2 million more than the existing contract, officials said. 
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ELMHURST — The nearly $24 million contract for the controversial shelter at the former Pan Am hotel does not include the cost of renovations required to convert the space into a federally allowable family shelter, according to its contract.

City taxpayers will pick up that $2 million-plus tab.

The 216 rooms inside the shelter, which opened in June of 2014, all must have kitchens under federal guidelines — and will cost an estimated $2.2 million on top of the $23.8 million contract, which was issued in February after multiple denials, officials said.

The city plans to foot the bill for the additional kitchen renovation costs, as well as the costs of building an on-site day care center and a playground, according to the Department of Homeless Services.

Operator Samaritan Village is expected to present construction plans by the end of this month as part of its contract, officials said.

"As part of our reforms to improve homeless services, we required provision of kitchens at the Boulevard Family Residence, and we are very pleased that this important service improvement for families with children is moving forward," DHS spokeswoman Lauren Gray said in a statement. 

Samaritan Village estimates the kitchen construction will cost $2,100 per room for a kitchenette, $3,000 per room for plumbing, and $900 per room to connect appliances to current electrical wiring, according to the contract.

A new day care center will cost $250,000, the contract shows. It's not clear how much the new playground will cost. 

The $23.8 million contract includes $5.2 million in funds from fiscal year 2015, and $9.3 million for both 2016 and 2017, according to documents. Funding includes more than $13 million from the federal government, nearly $8 million in city funds and more than $2 million from the state. 

The contract expires June 30, 2017, with the option to renew through 2023, according to city records.

The city is currently paying around $3,800 per month for each room at the shelter.

The building is owned by Steven Berger, who bought it under the LLC 7900 Development Corporation, according to city records. He owns and operates multiple homeless shelters, including the LaGuardia Family Center and the East River Family Center, records show.

In March, Samaritan Village's executive vice president, Douglas Apple, said families will be temporarily relocated while work in each room is completed.

"We're committed to getting this done quickly, we're committed to getting kitchens put in and our goal is to really give families the kind of rooms they want and need," he said.