A group looking to repurpose the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center site in Queens Village as an applied sciences and engineering college campus received an “incomplete” from the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC).
Jim Trent, vice president of the Bellerose Business District Development Corporation, proposed that Creedmoor be added to the list of possible sites for a college in an effort to revive the local economy, but a meeting with the EDC revealed to Trent that school’s out for Creedmoor.
“They wanted to get this thing moving quickly, and the best way to do that is to offer sites the city already owned,” said Trent, who is also the treasurer of the Queens Civic Congress. “Right now we are going to regroup and come up with the kind of tenant that would be appropriate and would facilitate an economic spill off to the surrounding community.”
The EDC issued a request for proposal (RFP) for an applied sciences and engineering campus in July and is looking to attract universities from around the country to build a campus in the New York City area. More than two dozen schools have responded to the RFP, with Cornell and Stanford said to be two of the better known schools to apply.
Trent said that the EDC was very courteous and he appreciated that they were given ample time to make a presentation.
The sites currently being considered are sites on Governor’s Island, Roosevelt Island and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. In addition to these sites, the EDC said that respondents are able to propose private sites as well and that the deadline for such proposals is October 28.
“In addition to the three city-owned sites that have been offered through the RFP process, respondents are able to propose private sites,” said a spokesperson for the EDC. “Once all the proposals come in later this month we intend to review them carefully, with selection ultimately based on the proposal that yields the greatest benefit to the people and businesses of the city for the lowest commitment of city resources.”
Trent is still hopeful that Creedmoor has a chance to house a campus at some point and said that the high number of universities that submitted RFPs makes him think that this is not over.
“If 27 universities have shown interest in coming to New York City, are you really going to tell 26 that they can’t?” he said. “New York is a great college city. And really, anywhere in Queens would be great for Queens.”
Currently, the Creedmoor property houses a number of non-profit organizations, including SNAP of Eastern Queens, the Bernard Fineson Center, and the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, which Trent said do not stimulate Bellerose’s economy.
“A college could give us 300 professors who might live, shop and eat in the area; 2,000 students who would spend money here,” he said. “More mental health facilities and non-profits do not have economic spill off into the neighboring communities. It’s up to us to find the right tenant for this property.”