Sept. 21, 2022 By Christian Murray
Officials with the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ) were joined by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Tuesday to announce that the development of their 5-story clubhouse—and 14-story apartment complex—will be carbon neutral.
Construction of the development, which involves a 123,000 square foot clubhouse and a residential apartment building containing 229 affordable units, is scheduled to begin in 2023, with the design phase nearing completion.
The project, which will go up at the VBGCQ existing 21-20 30th Rd. site in Astoria, will be carbon neutral-ready and is scheduled to be completed by 2026. The officials were also joined yesterday by representatives of Mega Development and Ettinger Engineering Associates.
“This Climate Week, the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens is proud to unveil our plans to build our new building carbon neutral and have it function as a renewable energy learning lab,” said Costa Constantinides, who is the CEO of VBGCQ and was the former councilmember for the Astoria district.
“For too long our community has bore the brunt of fossil fuel technology polluting our backyard. Now our kids will see the energy revolution on a firsthand basis learning how we go green right here in Western Queens. We are excited to help the scientists of the 21st century on their first steps toward leading the way.”
The development will be elaborate. The new clubhouse will include Queens’ first planetarium, a 1,000-seat basketball arena, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 200-seat black box theater. It will also have several art, music and dance studios; science labs; and dozens of fully equipped education rooms and tech spaces for STEM and robotics.
The organization is developing the 14-story apartment building alongside the clubhouse, which it will use to help fund its programming.
“I commend The Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens for showcasing just how committed Queens is to leading by example in the fight for environmental justice by ensuring their redevelopment project is carbon neutral,” Richards said. “By operating as a renewable energy learning lab, they are also giving our future generations the education they need to beat climate change. “
The apartments will be designed utilizing Passive House principles that vastly improve building envelope performance and drastically reduce heating and cooling energy use.
The project will include a 125+ KW rooftop solar photovoltaic system that will offset over 10 percent of the annual residential electrical demand. The central courtyard will comprise a vegetable garden for use by both the club and residential tenants—and will include bioretention planter boxes that will retain stormwater on-site.
“To protect our community and our country from the climate crisis, Queens needs to lead,” said state senator Michael Gianaris in a statement. “I’m proud to represent the Variety Boys & Girls Club, soon to be home to a new carbon-neutral facility, and commend their continued efforts to make our community stronger and healthier.”