The city is calling upon New York’s design and architectural communities to create an impregnable community in the storm-battered Rockaways.
They want the brightest and best to plan a new 80-acre community called Arverne East that will stand up to the worst Mother Nature can throw at it.
And the best designs will serve as a blueprint for how to best developer waterfront communities.
“We have a responsibility to develop affordable housing in a thoughtful way that creates vibrant neighborhoods that are both livable and resilient,” said HPD Commissioner Wambua. “By inviting the design and architectural community to be our partners in innovation, we are looking to the future. We know that we can build storm-resistant communities — we have done it before in the Rockaways – but we also know that we should take every opportunity to learn from our hardships and to tap the best practitioners available to move forward with the latest in design and innovation.
“Arverne East must be designed as an affordable 21st century community fit to thrive in the face of 21st century storms.”
The new Arverne East will be a sister project to Arverne by the Sea, a mixed-income community with almost 800 completed and occupied units, and another 500 units under construction. At full completion the development will have up to approximately 2,300 new affordable and market rate units in two- and three-family homes along with mid-rise multi-family buildings, new retail space, a YMCA and charter school.
Strong planning and design guidelines that included resiliency measures, have been credited for protecting Arverne by the Sea from the worst effects of Hurricane Sandy.
Arverne East is an 80+ acre City-owned site located in a FEMA Flood Zone A beach-front section of the Rockaways that experienced significant surge inundation during the hurricane.
In 2007, a team of L+M Development Partners, Bluestone Organization and Triangle Equities was selected as the winning respondents to the Arverne East RFP.
The team proposed a neighborhood development plan that incorporated a mix of uses, including retail, recreational, commercial, and residential development. Development was delayed by the economic crisis and downturn in the real estate market, along with a lack of infrastructure.
Today, the undeveloped nature of the site makes it an ideal proving ground for innovative and sustainable development solutions.
Dubbed the FAR ROC competition, the design search intends to use Arverne East as a laboratory to explore best practices in waterfront development.
The competition was launched the Center for Architecture in New York City with a call for architects, planners and other design professionals to propose innovative building solutions that not only are responsive to New York City’s housing needs, but also bring critical economic development to the Rockaways.
“One of the crucial lessons learned from the effects of Hurricane Sandy is that now, more than ever, we must pay careful attention to developing the most sustainable, resilient waterfront communities possible,” said Ron Moelis, CEO of L+M Development Partners.
Steve Bluestone, partner at The Bluestone Organization, added, “We anticipate that the competition will lead to ideas that will not only help us rebuild a long-neglected area, but will also create a showcase community which inspires other coastal regions around the world that want to remain viable in the new world that climate change is thrusting upon us all.”
FAR ROC seeks concepts for a comprehensive mixed-use, mixed-income, sustainable and storm-resilient community that will meet the new physical and regulatory challenges of waterfront development while maintaining a balance between innovation and affordability.
Proposed solutions should promote new housing, employment, and recreational opportunities for area residents and visitors throughout the region.
A panel of independent jurors consisting of community leaders and stakeholders, industry experts and others, will evaluate the submissions and select the winning entries.
The winning team could win upto $60,0000 and the chance to be part of Arverne East the project.