Optimism in sight for the Rockaways


| spreuss@queenscourier.com |

Seven months post Hurricane Sandy communities are still in recovery.  An especially devastated area, the Rockaways have suffered great damage and remains uncertain of what’s to come.  What can the once thriving shore destination expect for the year to come?  Amongst all the destruction and debris, Rockaway residents have something to look forward to.

The real estate market has seen a huge cut in prices no doubt, but it has seen a boom in market activity; recently residential sales have jolted.  Currently a buyer’s market, home prices are cut by at least a third to a half of their worth pre-Sandy. Buyers are looking to redevelop or flip the properties and believe that the Rockaways will come back even stronger than before; they are extremely motivated and want to help the community get there.

Some residents are looking to re-develop rather than sell the property, for which according to Crain’s New York Business, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has released a request for qualifications for a program of redevelopment to speed up the restoration process.  The program will help residents adhere to new FEMA zoning and building codes designed for storm-prone areas. According to Crain’s, “the city believes many homeowners will prefer its approach because it would streamline the design process and improve the community.”  The program will be aimed toward keeping the character of the neighborhood everyone has grown to love.  Of course this is only an option for residents who also have the choice to develop on their own as well.

The City of New York is full-steam ahead on restoring the Rockaway community back to its usual if not better state of living.  With residential development seeing much improvement and activity, what does this mean for the many small businesses and commercial properties in the area?  It has been stressed that for businesses to recover from the storm it will be a slow process for some but in the long-run it will be worth it.  Along with the $1.77 billion federal aid program, the development of the residential real estate market will bring the commercial market back to normal, slowly but surely.

Residents believe that people will still come to the Rockaways this summer.  According to an optimistic employee at the popular Rockaway Taco in an interview with International Business Times, “people will come to the beach, it is summertime in New York City, people will come to the beach. You don’t need a boardwalk to go to the beach.” With optimism and great support throughout the community, the Rockaways have great recovery and a bright future to look forward to.