Organization Name: RDC Development (MDG Design + Construction, LLC and Wavecrest Management)
Project Title: Ocean Bay Apartments
Project Location: Arverne neighborhood of Far Rockaway, Queens
Completed and first occupied in the early 1960s, Ocean Bay provides crucial public housing to some of the region’s must vulnerable populations. The complex was already facing critical maintenance needs due to growing federal disinvestment before suffering extensive damage during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. In 2016, RDC Development along with its partners set out to finance essential infrastructure, resilience, and security upgrades to the public housing complex in order to improve quality of life for this at-risk community while empowering residents to live fuller, healthier lives and reach their full potential. Another goal was to preserve the residents’ public housing rights and ensure the long-term affordability of the complex. The project was NYCHA’s first conversion under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), which allows housing authorities to access private capital to meet funding needs while protecting affordability.
The 24-building, 1,395-unit Ocean Bay Apartment complex is home to nearly 4,000 New Yorkers. The $560 million redevelopment includes the major rehabilitation of building infrastructure and amenities, such as new kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring, and roofs, public hallway improvements, a state-of-the-art camera security system, elevator modernization, and landscaping upgrades. Tenants will remain in their homes during the phased restoration. The project will also include the implementation of resiliency measures for better disaster preparedness, such as flood walls, standalone electric service buildings built above the flood zone, the third largest solar panel installation in New York, flood gates, and individual hydronic boilers on the roof of each building rather than one vulnerable central system. The project also involves the development and implementation of a social services program tailored to the individual needs of the community.
A core feature of the project involves the development and implementation of a comprehensive social services program tailored to the specific needs of the community identified through surveys and one-on-one meetings with residents, such as mental health clinics, head start and young adult internship programs, food pantries, and emergency assistance programs. Moreover, the project is driving job creation in the community by contracting local minority- and women-owned organizations and hiring 70+ NYCHA residents, 374 on-site employees from Queens, and 78 on-site employees from Far Rockaway. It also involves the creation of Renewal Gardens @ Ocean Bay, which consists of 50 family plots within 2,400 square feet of community gardening space. This will provide residents with resources to learn about gardening and access fresh and healthy produce. After the destruction of Superstorm Sandy, Renewal Gardens @ Ocean Bay will also serve as a reminder that the community can regrow and bloom again.
This project is led by RDC Development, a joint venture between MDG Design + Construction and Wavecrest Management. MDG is overseeing financing and redevelopment; Wavecrest is managing the buildings. MDG is a leading real estate firm that develops, constructs, and manages high-quality affordable housing. MDG specializes in the rehabilitation and construction of residential apartment buildings in NY, NJ, and FL, and is the industry leader in occupied rehabilitations. MDG’s hands-on approach and people-first philosophy results in effective collaborations with developers, tenant organizations, community groups, and staff to produce homes that residents are proud to live in. MDG has created or preserved 17,000 affordable units and is responsible for over $1.6 billion in construction and development. Wavecrest is a full-service management company that manages roughly 20,000 residential units in 350+ buildings in the NY metro area, specializing in the management of affordable housing.