BY JAMES FARRELL
The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center filed plans on June 20 with the city’s Department of Buildings for a nine-story health center in Flushing.
The facility, which would be located at 131-68 40th Rd.—next to the Skyview Center and across the street from the James A. Bland Public Housing—is listed as a community facility and is slated to take up 59,236 square feet and stand 137 feet high, according to the plans filed with the DOB. However, Lynn Sherman—executive vice president of finance, IT and capital projects with the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center—said that the exact renderings are not yet final. The project is being designed by architect Carol Karasek of Francis Cauffman.
The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center is a nonprofit and federally qualified health center that provides health services to all community members, regardless of their ability to pay. And while the organization’s clientele predominantly hail from the borough’s Asian community, the center is open to anyone in need of services. Currently, Charles B. Wang operates two locations in Flushing—one at 136-26 37th Ave. and another at 137-43 45th Ave.—as well as two locations in Manhattan.
The facility is necessary to accommodate a growing population, Sherman said.
“We’re kind of bursting at the seams,” Sherman said, adding that it took six years to find the land necessary for the facility. “We’ve been serving the Chinese American community for like 40 years and we’re very much in tune with all the growth in Flushing.”
The facility will offer dental, mental health, preventative, pediatric and primary care for all community members, especially those who can’t afford those services otherwise. There will also be opportunities for health education.
“We’re like one big doctor’s office,” Sherman said.
The new facility is being funded by a grant from the city’s Economic Development Corporation, and has applied for grants from Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) and the City Council as well as a couple of New York State grants.
Sherman also said that the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center is in the process of submitting an application for a variance with the Board of Standards and Appeals to reduce the number of parking spots required by the plot’s C4-2 zoning designation.
“The number of parking spaces is really not buildable for the size of the land,” she said. “You would need to build so many parking spaces that you’d end up building just a parking structure.”
City records show that the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center purchased the property from an LLC known as Ventura Flushing for $15 million in May 2016. The area currently houses the Elite Auto and Body Repair Shop and is next to a liquor store, which was not part of the purchase, according to Sherman.
The plans filed with the DOB were disapproved on July 5 since the paperwork was incomplete, according to a DOB spokesman.
“The reason the plans were disapproved was that you need to get a Department of Buildings objection, so that you can file [an application for a variance] with the [Board of Standards and Appeals], is my understanding,” Sherman said.
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.