Hester Street (HST) conducted a planning study within the brownfield areas of Arverne and Edgemere, Queens to advance economic opportunity in the neighborhood. With support from the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (MOER), we worked with Ocean Bay CDC to study place-based opportunity along the Beach Channel Drive corridor for supporting capacity-building resources for small business owners throughout Edgemere. Superstorm Sandy combined with the 2008 recession led local businesses in Far Rockaway to lose financial footing as well as physical infrastructure. Through prior engagement and interviews with Edgemere entrepreneurs, residents and stakeholders made it clear that redeveloping the neighborhood’s commercial infrastructure and providing resources for workforce development, job opportunities and access to healthy food is of high priority.

To reduce retail leakage, restore Edgemere’s commercial corridor, build the capacity of new and existing small business owners and increase healthy food access in the Rockaway peninsula’s food desert, Hester Street’s 2018 brownfield study outlined the development of a kitchen incubator on Beach Channel Drive. We aggregated findings from recent and ongoing planning studies in the neighborhood, analyzed vacant and brownfield sites along Beach Channel Drive and gathered input from a coalition of neighborhood stakeholders. We studied kitchen incubator models both in New York City and in other cities, and developed financial models to sustain an incubator in Edgemere. We developed architectural renderings for an incubator that is flexible and that can be implemented in the short term, contrary to other planned developments on the peninsula that will not open for many years. The design reflects community needs and technical specifications based on recommendations of kitchen incubator experts.

For the full study and to download our report, please click here.