Inside Arverne View, an Under-Renovation Housing Development in the Far Rockaways

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This is our second installation in a three-part series on the renovation of Ocean Village (now Arverne View), a housing complex in the Far Rockaways. L+M Development Partners was in contract to purchase Ocean Village when Sandy hit. For background on this ambitious renovation project, and how the storm changed it, you can read Part One.

The other day we hopped on the A train to visit Arverne View, a 1,093-unit housing development in the Far Rockaways now under renovation by L+M Development Partners. The scope of L+M’s work is truly impressive — not only has the company made the complex more resilient for future storms, it renovated all the apartments, upgraded the buildings, redid the facade, replaced the roofs, and is completely landscaping the grounds. Currently, L+M completed 70 percent of the project (they began work soon after Sandy hit, installing emergency generators to bring power back to the development); they expect to completely finish by March of next year. After the jump, tons of pictures from our tour with L+M’s Rick Gropper, who showed us the entire complex and explained the details of this large-scale rehab.

In our third and final installment, we’ll head back to Arverne View to speak with residents living at the complex.

A Post Sandy Renovation in the Rockaways, One Year Later [Q'Stoner]

The first step L+M took after they closed on the building (which had no electricity at the time) was to secure the development. Under the previous owners, the doors were open 24 hours a day to the public. L+M locked the doors and eventually added more security controls, like security cameras and electronic access controls. Another early step was to give the once-drab complex a brand new facade. This is an EIFS facade — exterior insulation and finishing system — a type of cladding system that provides exterior walls with an insulated finished surface and waterproofing.
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Here’s an under construction section of the interior courtyard. This will be a seating area.
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This will soon be a basketball court. L+M will also add three new playgrounds to the grounds.
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Much of the landscaping is still under construction. Previously, the planter box pictured below was completely empty. L+M plans to spiff up that beat-up wall as well.
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Lots of sea grass ready to be planted.
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The walking paths under construction are meant to resemble the boardwalk.
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This under-construction path will lead straight to the ocean.
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L+M is building a protective seawall along the beachfront side of the property to protect against future storms.
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Right along the beach, the Parks Department also added storm reinforcement.
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A view of Arverne View from the boardwalk:
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Below, shots of the model apartment unit. It’s the only unoccupied unit in the whole complex. When L+M took on this project, there were 350 empty apartments. They were gutted and totally renovated, but L+M worried about actually filling them, especially after the storm. (At that point, all L+M had were renderings of what the rundown complex would become.) They launched a heavy marketing campaign in the neighborhood and began with a slow start. After the first families started moving in and construction work moved along, more and more Rockaway residents wanted to be in the building. It reached the point where L+M received 800 calls a week from interested parties.

L+M worked with the city to provide the affordable housing units. Through city vouchers, the existing tenants do not have to pay a higher rent despite renovations happening in all the units. The newly occupied units are priced higher, though they still fall into the affordable housing category. L+M streamlined the move-in process with the city so they could accept a housing application and move that individual in on the same day. They brought in around 50 households displayed by Sandy.

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Kitchen renovations took around three days to complete. Residents didn’t need to relocate during apartment renovations, and L+M set up showers and toilets in vacant units for residents to use during their renovation.
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Bathrooms took two to three days to fully renovate.
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After Sandy, L+M completely redid the building’s electrical infrastructure. The transformers are located both inside and outside, all are placed above grade.
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The development also came with commercial space, some of it occupied, although this 15,000-square-foot space was completely unused. 5,000 square feet will be used as the building manager’s office. L+M is building out the other 10,000 square feet with plans to add a food incubator, a kitchen space, or a job training area.
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