HST developed a proposal for a much needed grocery store and community center on a long-vacant, NYCHA-owned lot, along with Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation (OBCDC), Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). HST served as project manager for the development proposal, liaising between OBCDC and the developer, AAFE. We conducted feasibility analyses, negotiated joint venture agreements, and worked closely with the project architects, Edelman Sultan Knox Wood / Architects.
The redevelopment site served as the jumping off point for comprehensive and ongoing neighborhood visioning. Arverne and Edgemere, adjacent neighborhoods in Far Rockaway, Queens, were among the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. However, the social, economic, public health and infrastructure challenges residents faced in the wake of Sandy were not created, but only exacerbated by the storm. We worked closely with our Rockaway partners to strengthen community resiliency beyond the supermarket.
Our approach was two-pronged – we gathered and analyzed technical data including area-wide indicators, demographic and public health data, concurrent planning and community development projects, and land use data on the one hand; on the other, we gathered resident feedback through surveys, community meetings and visioning workshops in order to identify community priorities and gather feedback on land use challenges and potential solutions. Our design team took the data and translated it into multifunction solutions, leveraging built environment opportunities for long-term community benefit. HST generated a report that included our findings along with a set of designs and community-driven programmatic and policy recommendations. All recommendations were fueled by evidence-based predictors and community-centric outcomes and impacts, establishing a direct feedback loop between residents and planned interventions – ensuring accountability throughout the planning and development process. The report serves to disseminate information to the community, garner support from government agencies, and secure funding for future planning and development.