QUEENS — A long-vacant Forest Hills hospital site may soon be converted into apartment buildings with senior and market-rate units, officials said.
Since closing in November 2008, the former Parkway Hospital has fallen into disrepair. Often covered in graffiti, its windows boarded, the building has become an eyesore that's of special concern to parents with children at nearby P.S. 196, one of the most coveted area schools.
Last year, a suspicious fire broke out inside the 113th Street structure.
Developer Jasper Venture Group LLC, in partnership with Auberge Grand Central LLC, purchased the hospital's mortgages for about $6.5 million in 2012 and two years later snatched up the site with a $1 million bid during a foreclosure auction, according to published reports. Now developers plan to renovate it into affordable housing for seniors.
Builders plan to gut the original six-story hospital building, which features two basement levels, and turn it into 70 apartments for seniors, according to Michael Cohen, a spokesman for Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz. The company would also build an additional three floors atop the building to include 27 market-rate units.
The owners are also planning a 12-story tower in the parking area between the former hospital and the Grand Central Parkway that would feature 200 market-rate apartments, Cohen said.
"[Koslowitz] is supporting the concept of putting senior affordable housing there," Cohen said. "But the devil is in the details.”
He said that because the community lost one of its hospitals, Koslowitz would like to see some type of a medical facility placed on the ground floor of the building. That issue has not been resolved yet, Cohen said, adding that in order to move forward with the proposal, the developer would have to seek a special permit from the city.
Jasper Venture Group LLC has not yet filed paperwork for the new buildings. Representatives declined to provide details about the proposal.
In September, Auberge Grand Central filed an application for the site with the state Department of Environmental Conservation for the Brownfield Cleanup Program, which seeks to encourage cleanups of former industrial or commercial sites and promote their redevelopment.
According to DEC, the soil has "low concentrations (ppb) [parts per billion] of petroleum compounds in groundwater on the site."
"DEC is planning to request that the applicant gather more data to determine if remediation is necessary to protect the public and the environment," Kevin Frazier, a spokesman for DEC said in an email Monday.
The application, according to DEC, is currently “undergoing a 30 day public comment period.”
To find more information about the application, go here. Comments must be submitted by Dec. 30.