L+M Development tackles major upgrade to Rockaway low-income complex

December 26, 2012 09:00AM

L+M Development Partners, a development firm, last month purchased and has now begun rehabilitating the Ocean Village apartment complex in the Arverne section of the Rockaway Peninsula, the New York Times reported. Hurricane Sandy severely damaged the low-income Brutalist buildings, which founder and CEO of L+M, Ron Moelis, happened to be closing on the day the storm hit. But despite flooding and electrical damage, Moelis made the deal, citing “a double-bottom line” of  commitment to the residents of the long-mismanaged building and a financial obligation.

“We are a for-profit company and we hope to make money doing this,” Moelis said. “But we didn’t shy away from doing this when it became much more difficult in the last few weeks.”

Eventually L+M plans to spend millions covering the exteriors of the 1,093-apartment buildings in a warm-toned siding. The company also plans to renovate the common areas and add social service centers, solar paneling and maybe even a bowling alley. The plan is expected to take two years.

But despite storm damage and neglect that predates the storm, L+M may have to do more than renovate to turn Ocean Village around, as violence is a never-ending concern of residents in the complex. “If they make all the apartments like this and they kick all the knuckleheads out, it will be a lot better,” Keywan Cohen said, referring to a model renovated unit on display in the complex. “[But] they’ve got to change more than the apartments.” [NYT]Christopher Cameron