Queens College Dorm Seeks Silver, Stirs Controversy

The increase in parking from a planned LEED Silver dorm at Queens College has local residents seeing red – not green.

A new dorm at Queens College will seek a LEED Silver rating from USGBC, but local residents are more concerned with the impact to the neighborhood from the 506-bed facility- particularly from student parking- rather than the project’s sustainable features. The dorm, which will be located at 64-80 Kissena Boulevard, will feature 144 units across one building constructed in three-, four-, and five-story wings connected by a series of walkways.

The 156,000-square-foot dorm will include an underground parking garage with capacity for 89 cars, and the college will create an additional 100 scattered throughout the rest of the campus. The dorm itself will also include space for bicycle storage (in pursuit of its LEED rating, notwithstanding the increase in automobiles that the project will implicate) and other green features will be LEED-standard, though specific details at this point are slim.

The Queens Courier quoted City Councilmember James Gennaro as responding to residents’ concerns about the increase in on-campus parking by acknowledging that “[t]he community has legitimate quality of life concerns regarding this project, and as their Councilmember I will do everything I can to work with the Queens College leadership to get these concerns addressed. It’s vital that we preserve the character of the neighborhood surrounding Queens College as the college grows.”

The $72 million dorm, backed by tax-exempt bonds issued by the New York City Housing Development Corporation, is the third school in the City University of New York system for which Alabama-based Capstone Development Corporation will develop student housing. Capstone is a for-profit developer that specializes in these types of projects, and has developed over 55 dorms with 15,000 beds since its founding in 1994. The Queens College dorm is on track for a summer 2009 opening.

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