After the city’s biggest privately funded affordable project languished without progress for more than two years, Tishman Speyer put money where its mouth is to get the ball rolling on the massive project.
The office giant paid $90.4 million to acquire 10 of the 11 building sites that will make up Edgemere Commons, according to public records. The transaction closed in mid-November.
Ground was expected to be broken on the 2.2 million-square-foot project in Far Rockaway, Queens, in early 2020, Crain’s previously reported. Affordable housing developer Arker Companies, which retained one of its buildings, is expecting to break ground in January 2022. The firm told Crain’s the complex would be built in five phases over the next 15 years.
Edgemere Commons will include 2,050 affordable units surrounded by public space, a community center and retail shops. There will also be medical space, though it isn’t part of the first scheduled construction site.
A spokesperson for Arker previously attributed the postponed groundbreaking to city-related delays of affordable housing projects. The spokesperson last month said 2020 was not a “hard deadline,” but a date for when ground was expected to be broken.
“The city only had so much capacity during the pandemic and prioritized deals that had medical facilities,” the spokesperson said. Real estate attorneys have cited staffing issues at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in recent years for delays across projects.
Gary Rodney, head of Tishman’s affordable housing platform TS Communities, said Edgemere Commons fit the mold for the type of development the firm envisions.
Arker filed a permit application in September 2020 to construct a 257-unit, 220,478-square-foot mixed-use building at 51-19 Beach Channel Drive. That parcel was one of the ten included in Tishman Speyer’s acquisition, records show.
Arker purchased the site with Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation for $19 million in 2016; the developer is no longer involved in the project.