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The Jericho, L.I.-based Beechwood Winchester Building Corporation has started selling homes at their planned gated community on an 8.5-acre plot of land on the Creedmoor Psychiatric Centers campus that it purchased from the Empire State Development Corp. in 1999.
Beechwoods plan is to build 100 two-family homes on the parcel of land located at the corner of Winchester Boulevard and Hillside Avenue about a mile from the section on Creedmoor slated for an elementary school, middle school and high school on the borders of Queens Village and Bellerose.
We started sales early in January, said Peter Wicik, an assistant to the partners of Beechwood. There are 11 existing structures, which need to be demolished and then construction can start.
He said construction would begin in early March.
Wicik said the homes in the gated community will be built in buildings of four to eight units each with a backyard and two assigned parking spaces. In addition, he said there will be a 60-foot- by-80-foot community sitting area and a 24-hour guard.
We expect the first home owners to move in around Thanksgiving with the rest moving in by summer 2002, Wicik said. The prices start at $359,000 and go up to the mid-$400,000 range depending on the unit.
Bernard Aquilino, president of the Rocky Hill Civic Association, which covers the area around and including the Creedmoor campus, said he and his neighbors believe the housing complex will definitely add to the stability and integrity of the community, but they still had some concerns.
He said the community is worried about the already overcrowded schools in the district, parking, mass transit and illegal basement apartments.
Our elementary school, PS 18, is at capacity as is MS 172, he said. With new children from the development there would be no place for them. The new schools planned for Commonwealth Boulevard will not be built in time for the influx of new students.
Aquilino said each home would have one parking spot but no on- site parking for additional cars, which would force the residents to park on the street.
His civic also estimated the new homes would mean 300 to 400 more people would be using the already overtaxed public transportation system. He said the only way to alleviate the problem would be for the city to add more buses on the Hillside Avenue and Union Turnpike routes.
Aquilinos last concern, illegal apartments, already plagues the area and his fear is the high cost of the homes will force people to rent their basements to meet the mortgage payments.
But Wicik said the basements of the houses planned for the gated community would not be suitable for illegal apartments because the spaces alloted for basements are unfinished storage/utility areas.
Sally Martino-Fisher, district manager for Community Board 13, said the developers did not have to get board or Borough President Claire Shulmans approval for the construction project because the houses are being built on state land.
The borough president invited the builders to meet with her and representatives of state elected officials and the builders showed them the plans and what the homes would look like, she said. The borough president told the builders they did not need her approval and asked them to make sure the homes are nice to look at.
Corey Bearak, president of the Queens County Line Democratic Association, said he had no problems with construction on the site, but would have preferred that the acreage sold by the state to Beechwood was used for the community.
If I had my personal druthers, he said. I would have targeted a need for the community. Moderate income senior housing providing continued care could have been built.
The sale of the Creedmoor site was part of the sale of surplus property at five state mental health facilities, which sold for $19.3 million and was a major part of Gov. Patakis effort to privatize surplus new York state property to tax benefit.
Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.
©2001 Community Newspaper Group
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