The construction of a new apartment building in Forest Hills has some residents and local employees worried about how the project will impact life in the neighborhood both now and in the future.
The 17-story Forest Hills 389, being built by Cord Meyer Development on Queens Boulevard between 71st Avenue and 71st Road, is expected to be completed next October. The development will house a CVS Pharmacy on the first floor, while the remaining floors will hold 102 residential units.
Although the scheduled completion date may seem far away, a construction worker named Alex noted that the exterior of the building should be finished much sooner.
“We’re up to the 13th floor right now and we’ll be topped off at the 17th floor by the end of the month,” Alex said. “The crane should be down by the end of the month as well.”
Daisha Caristo, 19, of Corona works across the street from the site, and she believes that the disruptive nature of the project is an unwelcome addition to the neighborhood.
“It’s so obnoxious, we’re all talking about it,” Caristo said. “How many 17-story buildings are there in the middle of Forest Hills? It’s noisy and impractical.”
Fellow employee Joanne Dieudonne agrees with her colleague, remarking on what used to be a fulfilling view from her office.
“I went to Queens College and I used to be able to see the school out of my window,” Dieudonne said. “I really don’t like the fact that it has ruined my view.”
The inconvenience brought by the noise around the site is only temporary, according to Cord Meyer’s Vice President of Operations and Construction Peter Galletta.
“We have been very vigilant about keeping up with city noise regulations,” Galletta said. “Within a week or two, the window wall of the building will be in place and that will lower the noise level significantly. It’s going to be a beautiful building when it’s finished.”
Other residents are concerned about how the area will be able to handle the added burden on the infrastructure with so many new residents. Forest Hills resident and community activist Michael Perlman is worried about the strain that a new building would bring, among other issues.
“The long-term condo frenzy concerns me greatly as a resident,” Perlman said. “Our sewers are not being upgraded and our schools are overcrowded as is, so condo development does not necessarily give back to the community.”
Perlman also believes that the essence of the community may be threatened in time.
“I’m worried that the building will take away from the area’s originality and that it won’t contribute to Forest Hills’ sense of place,” he said. “I don’t want the character of the area to be compromised. I don’t want Forest Hills to be talked about in the past tense one day.”
Galletta believes that, while he doesn’t want to see anybody unhappy, Cord Meyer has taken great care in making sure that the community is considered every step of the way.
“We went through all of the community board hearings and were approved by the community board. We had to be approved by them before being approved by the city,” he said. “I’m sure there are disgruntled people and not everyone would be for this project, but we have a right to develop properties and we kept the community informed every step of the way.”