Bruce Brodoff Communications
Bruce Brodoff Communications
Residents Question Hospital Plans/Object to Sale of Surplus Property
By Herbert Lowe

Two community boards are concerned about the potential sale or lease of surplus property left from a major reconstruction project at Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica.

Community Board 8, in whose area the 19.5-acre campus sits on Parsons Boulevard near the Grand Central Parkway, voted in May to oppose any effort by the city to sell the land to a private entity.

Last month, Community Board 7 took a stand against the sale or "excessive leasing" of the property, which encompasses a total of 614,000 square feet.

At a meeting this week, Community Board 8 said the city Economic Development Corp. and the city Health and Hospitals Corp. have refused to hold a public hearing before the Oct. 31 deadline for proposals.

"We're really, really concerned about the impact on the community," said Bernard Diamond, the board's treasurer and first vice chairman of the hospital's community advisory board. "It seems that there is a major rush to get these plans finished."

A $147 million reconstruction project began at the hospital in 1998 and is to be completed in the spring. It features a new six- acre, six-story, 200-bed building that will include treatment facilities for cancer, diabetes and women's health.

Three buildings have been demolished and three of four remaining are to become a city high school. Diamond told the board that residents are concerned that the new school could house as many as 1,000 students. Residents have also asked than no buildings on the surplus land be higher than three stories, he said.

The corporations last month sought proposals for reusing a 10- story building off Parsons Boulevard, the quadrangle that now serves as the complex's main parking area with 550 spaces, and the two buildings that house the current hospital. All proposals must provide adequate parking.

The agencies said they would prefer to offer a longterm lease but they would consider selling the land if it benefits the community.

The request states a preference for a biomedical research center, senior housing, staff housing, a high school, a wellness/health center, a child-care center and parking. It also recommends keeping a fountain.

A spokesman for the economic development agency, Bruce Brodoff, said it was too early for anyone to make any assumptions. "We haven't even gotten proposals back and we will have community input on this," Brodoff said.

Diamond urged his colleagues and residents to make their feelings known at the Queens Hospital Center's meeting on Oct. 12.

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