After more than four years of waiting for improvements at the former Mary Immaculate Hospital building, Jamaica residents will have to hold their breath a little longer.
Following an inspection by the Department of Buildings on Dec. 16, the property at 150-13 89 Ave. was issued a stop-work order the next day citing a “huge pile of debris” during demolition of the first floor and cellar.
The interior demolition is the first stage of a planned residential project by the Chetrit Group, which owns several hotel and residential properties throughout New York City.
Since the building was forced to shut down in 2009 after declaring bankruptcy, it has slowly deteriorated, prompting complaints from concerned citizens such as Joe Moretti, who runs the blog, Clean Up Jamaica Queens Now.
“It’s pretty disgraceful that for the past five years, the place was like that,” Moretti said, who noted that graffiti, litter, and insufficient lighting are some of the constant issues.
He added that lack of fencing to the area make it easily accessible to anyone and therefore especially unsafe at night for residents. A visit to the building only shows a “No Trespassing” sign at the open entrance.
The only time that Moretti said anything was done to improve the building was when NY 1 News came to cover the building’s deterioration. Following the report, the windows were soon boarded up, he said.
Since the property is privately owned, the community cannot decide how it’s managed. Even so, Carlisle Towery, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp., said, “Mary Immaculate Hospital can be a major community asset and we look forward to progress on it becoming one.”
The Chetrit Group did not respond to multiple calls.
A separate complaint was also issued by the DOB on Dec. 24 for construction that did not conform to the approved plan, but further details about the work were not provided. As of now, only interior demolition is scheduled for the building.