Addabbo Health Center Breaks Ground On New Expansion


On Tuesday, April 10, more than a hundred people gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Joseph P. Addabbo Family Health Center’s expansion at a vacant lot adjacent to the center’s headquarters located at 6200 Beach Channel Drive. It was indeed a ground-breaking occasion, as local pols, civic and church leaders, the health center’s board, staff and patients, and community residents together congregated to forever monumentalize what everyone envisioned and hoped for the center and the community — a bigger, more equipped and resilient multi-purpose medical facility in Rockaway, a community rated as a federally-designated medically underserved area.

Addabbo’s CEO Dr. Marjorie Hill declared to the crowd, “Today is a cross between a bar mitzvah and Kwanzaa occasion. It indeed takes a village, to build a community health center. We are so grateful for the generosity, support and guidance from elected officials, corporate supporters, and community partners — all contributed to the building of our dream for expanded healthcare access for the underserved in Queens, not just those of us living in Rockaway, but patients from surrounding communities seeking quality healthcare.”

Following the closing of multiple hospitals in South Queens, including nearby Peninsula Hospital, Addabbo experienced an influx of new patients. Likewise, after Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012, the health center was one of only two clinics serving area residents. During this time, as the healthcare crisis in Queens began to peak, the need for more resilient medical facilities became even more severe.

In 2013, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) issued the “The Beach Channel Drive Development Site Request For Proposals” to identify a developer to acquire and redevelop a vacant city-owned parcel located adjacent to Addabbo’s current building. Given the growing need for additional space, Addabbo enlisted the Denham Wolf team to assist in preparing a proposal to purchase the vacant land and expand its building. Based on a well-crafted proposal that showcased Addabbo’s capacity, a dedicated planning process, financial feasibility, and a highly supportive community, Addabbo was selected as developer and executed a purchase and sales agreement with NYCEDC. Partnering with the NYCEDC were the Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC), who completed $22.5M in financing to transform the health center, enlisting Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Building America CDE to assist with critical funding.

The expansion will transform nearly every aspect of Addabbo’s headquarters including: Doubling the size of the center by adding a new 21,000-square-foot addition, expanding the existing building that PCDC financed in 2006. At full capacity, Addabbo will be able to host 97,000 visits per year to 18,900 unique patients, of which a quarter will include residents of the nearby New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) housing complexes; A 65 percent increase in visit volume and services with an additional 6,400 patients anticipated to be served through 32,000 additional visits — a direct result of expanding facilities for medical, mental health, and physical therapy services; Job creation and retention providing 90 construction jobs and 31 new permanent staff positions, more than half of these jobs are expected to be filled by area residents. Other community impact includes a workforce development program, which will provide on-site job training for medical assistants, clerks, medical billers, and custodians — using the center’s new community space. Created in partnership with the Ocean Bay Community Development Corporation (OBCDC), the program will recruit among the 10,000 residents of the nearby NYCHA housing complexes.

“For over three decades, Addabbo has been a life-changing force in our community. This expansion means we will have an even greater impact. I want to thank everyone who made this a reality” Betty Leon, Addabbo’s board of directors chair, said.

The day was especially significant for Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., whose father, Senator Joseph Addabbo, Sr., who also represented Rockaway, vigorously supported the health center’s expansion and evolution to a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) from it’s humble beginnings as a free pediatric clinic in 1981. Addabbo Jr. said, “Today, April 10 marks the 32nd anniversary since my father passed away. He fought for the expansion of this clinic, but though he did not live to see its grand opening in 1987, I’m sure he would be so happy to see the amazing strides the center has made and its significance in the community.”

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