After more than a year of construction and several delays, a new apartment complex for seniors in Little Neck celebrated its official grand opening last Thursday on the former site of Deepdale Hospital.
The Savoy at Little Neck has converted the property to a world-class assisted living complex for seniors. Assisted-living facilities provide housing for elderly residents who are not completely independent and rely on some medical or community care to function.
State Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside), state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and representatives for state Assemblywoman Ann-Margaret Carrozza (D-Bayside) and City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis) praised the beauty of the new facility on the corner of Little Neck Parkway and the Long Island Expressway, which extensively renovated the former hospital.
The former community hospital was purchased in March 1999 by the Manhattan-based Savoy Senior Housing Corporation after a series of owners, including Flushing Hospital, failed to utilize the building.
The new senior complex was originally scheduled to open in the spring of 2000. The opening was delayed until August, and a spokesman for the company said last week that construction pushed back the debut of the facility to the fall.
The Savoy at Little Neck has 73 assisted-living studio apartments, 38 assisted-living one-bedroom suites, nine assisted-living two-bedroom suites, and 15 apartments for victims of Alzheimer's disease.
Weprin praised the Savoy for giving seniors a chance to be a part of the community.
"So many want to stay active in the community and are unable to do so because they can't get around," he said. "That's why the Savoy is important."
Padavan, who called the building "the Savoy Hilton," said "when Deepdale Hospital was no longer with us, we were all very concerned about the building and property. I can't tell you how pleased we all are by what has now occurred.
"I wish we could kind of cookie-cutter this place and put it all over Queens," he said, "because the need is definitely there."
A spokeswoman for the Savoy said the facility is about 70 percent full.
Bernice Siegal, a spokeswoman for Leffler and a candidate for his City Council seat next year, said the Savoy at Little Neck was one of the answers to the lack of housing for seniors.
"This is one of the solutions," she said "and the other part is to provide a more affordable solutions."
Several residents who moved in last month echoed her concerns.
Lena Mazzarino, of Briarwood, said she sold her house to be able to afford the Savoy.
Mollie Kagan of Rego Park said: "It's a good place to be. I wanted to go to a place where they would take care of everything for me."
Rose Aprigliano, of Floral Park, praised the Savoy staff, and said she moved in because: "I didn't want to be a burden to anyone."
Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 146.