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Hochul Plans To Build 2,800 Homes At Queens' Creedmoor Psychiatric Center

The eastern edge of Queens is set to see nearly 3,000 new housing units in the coming years, as Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled her plan to develop roughly 58 acres on the site of Creedmoor Psychiatric Center.

Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Eastern Queens. The state-owned healthcare campus could see nearly 3,000 homes under Gov. Kathy Hochul's plan.

The plan, announced Wednesday evening, would see 2,800 homes, more than half of which would be for-sale units, built at varying levels of density, from mid-rise rental buildings and co-ops to semidetached single-family houses. It would occupy slightly less than half of the acreage of the state-owned health facility, replacing buildings that have been vacant or underutilized, some for decades.

“Creedmoor represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Yorkers to reimagine State land and plan for the emerging needs of tomorrow,” Hochul said in a statement. “Working together in productive partnership with the community — and thanks to the leadership of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards — we can build more housing, create more jobs, and strengthen Eastern Queens for the next generation.” 

The release of the Creedmoor Community Master Plan kicks off what is expected to be a roughly 18-month process to get the Queens Village project shovel-ready. The state's Empire State Development agency will start an environmental review concurrently with establishing more concrete development principles, then release a series of requests for proposals to identify private developers who can execute the project.

The plan calls for 2,873 housing units, 1,633 of which would be offered for sale, including 813 units in elevator co-op buildings that would be between six and eight stories tall.

Of the 1,240 rental units proposed in the plan, 377 would be restricted to seniors, 431 would be supportive housing units and 432 would be income-restricted units subject to a lottery. Veterans would get preference for 165 of the rental units, roughly 15%. 

Alongside the new housing would be 14 acres of green space, recreational and youth community facilities, new school space and neighborhood-serving retail. While the campus is 3 miles from the closest subway stop, it is served by two major bus lines, and the master plan calls for increased bicycle connections to nearby 635-acre Alley Pond Park. 

“The potential before us on the Creedmoor campus is limitless, as the new Creedmoor Master Plan boldly outlines,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said in a statement. “From thousands of units of housing to historic homeownership opportunities to school seats to community facilities to retail, this plan represents the single largest investment in Eastern Queens in generations, and I could not be more excited for the work ahead.”

Creedmoor was originally farmland before it was acquired by the National Rifle Association for one of its first shooting ranges in 1872, according to ESD. The NRA sold it to the state for $1 in 1890, which kept it as a rifle range for the New York National Guard until the sounds of shooting started bothering the new neighborhoods popping up in eastern Queens in the early 20th century. 

The site was later turned into a satellite psychiatric facility for the Brooklyn State Hospital before World War II. Its population peaked at 7,000 in 1959, then declined for decades as medication decreased the use of residential psychiatric facilities. As the campus's population shrank, more and more of its buildings were closed down, although its signature high-rise, completed in 1957, has continued to operate. 

State health agencies will keep using more than half of the campus's 125 acres, with the southern portion of the site, which straddles Union Turnpike, as the focus of the redevelopment. Creedmoor is also the site of a 1,000-bed migrant shelter that the city opened this summer in response to the influx of immigrants overwhelming shelter capacity.