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Historic Hospital Building Eyed for Affordable Housing in Jamaica Hills

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | December 1, 2016 3:43pm
 The long-vacant former hospital may soon be replaced by affordable and supportive housing.
The long-vacant former hospital may soon be replaced by affordable and supportive housing.
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DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — A former historic hospital, which has sat empty in the heart of Jamaica Hills for many years, may soon be replaced by affordable and supportive housing, officials said.

Brooklyn-based Dunn Development Corp. has proposed converting the 75-year-old building, located within the Queens Hospital Center complex, into 130 affordable housing units and 75 studio apartments designated for supportive housing, according to NYC Health + Hospitals, which operates 11 public hospitals in New York City.

The Art Moderne-style 10-story building at Parsons Boulevard and Goethals Avenue, known as the “T building" for once serving patients with tuberculosis, was designed in 1937 by John Russell Pope, who was also the architect of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

It opened in 1941, but has not been used to treat patients for years. Recently small portions of the building have been used as hospital office space.

Over the past decade, the former Triboro Hospital for Tuberculosis has been the subject of many proposals, including turning it into market rate condominiums. 

Some also pushed for its demolition, causing an outcry among architectural preservationists.

Under the proposed plan, Dunn Development will lease the building for 99 years and renovate it, setting aside 12,000 square feet for the hospital's use, and another 8,000 square feet for use as a community facility in addition to the residential units, according to NYC Health + Hospitals and Community Board 8.

There will also be on-site social services for residents.

“We are pleased to take this important step to transform the underutilized T Building into a vibrant presence that serves the Queens community,” NYC Health + Hospitals said in a statement. “The redesign of the former Tuberculosis Hospital will offer modern, affordable, and supportive housing to help residents of the borough live successfully in the community.”

According to the public hospital system, rents in the building will range between:

• $865 and $1,055 for studios with applicants making $30,994 to $63,500
• $929 and $1,320 for one-bedrooms with applicants making $33,223 to $72,500
• $1,121 and $1,591 for two-bedrooms with applicants making $39,840 to $90,600
• $1,289 and $1,831 for three-bedrooms with applicants making $46,046 to $105,100

Those criteria will not apply to supportive housing where tenants are often selected based on their need for housing and ability to live independently, according to NYC Health + Hospitals.

The project, already approved by the NYC Health + Hospitals' Board of Directors, was also backed by Community Board 8, despite opposition from some residents of nearby Parkway Village, according to Seymour Schwartz, vice chairman of CB8.

"We are confident in the developer’s proven record of reliability and his commitment to high standards of tenant admissibility and security issues," Schwartz said, adding that the board has endorsed the plan on condition that the planned community space will provide a variety of programs and activities for residents of all ages.

The proposal still has to be approved by the City Council, according to Schwartz and NYC Health + Hospitals.

Councilman Rory Lancman, whose support will be pivotal for the project, declined to comment through his spokeswoman.

It was not immediately known when the City Council will vote on the project.