NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If a Far Rockaway makeover is going to get under, the city council will have to approve a zoning change for the first time in nearly 50 years.

The decaying and nearly empty shopping center at the heart of downtown Far Rockaway has some residents saying it’s overdue for a jolt.

“It looks terrible,” one man told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.

The city’s land use commission unanimously agreed the city should direct $126-million to make the cracked pavement wasteland at Mott Avenue and Beach 22nd and turn it into the centerpiece of the landscaped and thriving shopping and housing district across 23 blocks.

The plan includes taking the property behind me which is owned by the department of sanitation and turning it into a community park.

“It’s about time to do something good for the community,” Steven Torres said.

City Councilman David Greenfield chairs the committee that oversees all zoning in New York City. Far Rockaway’s zoning is being changed for the first time since the early 1960s to make this happen. He said despite what he calls overwhelming community support, some in Far Rockaway fear eventually getting priced out, but an emphasis on affordable housing prevents that.

“For those folks who are just nervous about change, this is a good kind of change. This is change that brings jobs in, more affordable housing,” he said.

While that hundred million dollar project needs council approval to get to the design phase, another hundred-million dollars is being spent by developer MDG Design and Construction to lease the city owned and neglected Ocean Bay Houses.

“It’s new appliances, it’s new flooring, completely new bathrooms,” Matthew Rooney said.

Residential buildings that were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy are being redone without raising rents, MDG chief executive Matt Rooney said.

“It’s really exciting to see an area that was hit by Hurricane Sandy, and didn’t exactly get a full boost that it needed from outside investment, it’s nice to see it finally come around,” he said.



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