A development company has signed a 99-year lease with the city to turn the historic T-Building into a 205-unit apartment building that will include housing for patients at a nearby hospital, many of whom are homeless.
“These are people that literally cannot leave the hospital because there is not appropriate housing to discharge them to,” said Michael Dunn, president of Dunn Development Corp., the company that received the lease from the city.
Speaking at a meeting with Community Board 8 members on Wednesday, Dunn continued, “The idea is to serve people whose housing instability or lack of housing impacts their health.”
Dunn Development Corp. signed a 99-year lease with the city to develop the T-Building on Queens Hospital Center’s campus into 205 apartments. As part of the deal, Dunn will not destroy the old Hillcrest tuberculosis center, but the company will embark on a major $12 million renovation to turn the former medical building into apartments.
The majority of the apartments will be open to regular tenants. But 75 units will be for people who are patients at the Queens Hospital Center who are ready to transition into a more residential setting.
These 75 units will be filled with people who have been dependent on the hospital’s medical services and run up high costs. Many of these people visit the emergency room frequently or use the system’s substance abuse services.
Dunn addressed the community’s concern over this troubled group and whether or not they would be “a problem in the neighborhood.”
“I have a very strong interest,” Dunn said during the meeting. “My interests are the same as the community.”
The special needs tenants, Dunn said, will be submitted through three levels. The first two levels are administered by the hospital’s workers and social services to determine if the patients are ready to live independently. Then Dunn checks to see if they have any criminal background, including past sex offenses and drug trafficking, all of which bar applicants.
Half of the regular units will be given to people living within the borders of Community Board 8, which covers Fresh Meadows, Utopia, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Pomonok and Kew Gardens Hills.
Plans for the project are still in the early stages and no completion or start dates have been announced for construction.