BY TRONE DOWD
The Ocean Blue Luxury Apartment complex has had a long storied history since it was first built eight years ago. Amidst the foreclosure crisis and natural disasters that have struck Southeast Queens and the Rockaways, the 15-story structure seems to finally be grabbing the attention of prospective renters across the borough as originally intended.
Built in 2008 and formerly known as the Metroplex, the building was to bring a new style of home to Far Rockaway. Its luxurious accommodations and offerings on property right near the beach was hoping to create a sought after market that had yet been tapped by the general public. Unfortunately, its timing on the market couldn’t have been worse.
As expected, very few people were willing to strike at such an uneasy time for the housing market, considering the recession and foreclosure crisis’ affect on the people of Southeast Queens in particular. But that didn’t stop one corrupt individual managing the building from taking advantage of the people.
“The Metroplex was built in 2008, was supposed to be condos, and some guy started selling them,” David Kasner of Capitale Property Management told the Queens Tribune. That guy was 62-year-old Jerzy Szymcyzk.
Szymcyzk, determined to make a profit off a building no one was interested in, decided to sweeten the deal without letting those interested know that disaster was right around the corner.
“The guy couldn’t sell them, so he started renting them. But he was really underwater. Banks started closing on him, even though he was renting to people and telling them two percent of their rent would go towards a down payment with an option to buy. He was lying. He knew they was getting foreclosed,” said Kasner.
The scam hurt mostly African-Americans looking to make a sensible investment and willing to pay above market rate if it meant they’d soon own beachside property with a breathtaking view of Rockaway Beach.
They soon found out that the contract that would give them the option to buy was null and void, and they were to be forcibly removed from the property. Shortly after this revelation, Mother Nature wouldn’t be any more kind to the property. When Hurricane Sandy hit the now abandoned building in 2012, the aftermath made the Metroplex one of many buildings in Far Rockaway in desperate need of repair.
After eight long years, things began to turn around for the property in March when it was sold in a bankruptcy auction to Capitale Property Management.
“It was purchased and a good amount of money was put into it,” Kasner said. “We just had our grand opening this Sunday.”
After renovation, property now boasts 126 luxury units for rent, a 24-hour doorman and round the clock security, indoor garage parking, washer and dryer in each unit, an indoor gym and it’s pet friendly.
“It’s really something that’s unlike anything that’s in Rockaways that’s a rental building,” Kasner said. “Our grand opening, we had over 100 people that took a tour of the building. It was very very successful and we had a ton of applications.”
He said that there will be another open house Sunday, June 12 from noon to 5 p.m.. Renovations on the building will continue this summer, including a completely redone lobby, and redesigned and modernized unit interiors.
“The plans that this particular management company has for this building, is only the beginning,” he said.
“They will be adding more amenities and all sorts of things. This is going to be something really special, and the people who get in now, are essentially getting in on the ground floor. This is going to bring real luxury living to an area that doesn’t have it.”
Ocean Blue Luxury Apartments is scheduled to open in phases. On July 1, the first five floors will be opened for renters, with another five floors opening August 1 and the last five floors opening September 1. As of now, the building has 35 lined up applicants. Anyone interested in a unit can reach out this Sunday at the open house or go directly to the leasing office during business hours located on the premise. The building is located on 120 Beach 26th St.