Thursday, November 13, 2014

City’s Land Use Committee Approves 1,700-unit Astoria Cove Project

After months of negotiations, the City’s powerful Land Use Committee signed off on the controversial 1,700-unit Astoria Cove project. The agreement calls for the luxury development to set aside 468 units for low- and middle-income tenants, hire unionized construction workers, and include a supermarket and a senior center. The project will also include a ferry dock that will provide service to Manhattan and Brooklyn. The City Council is expected to grant final approval on November 25.

The massive Astoria Cove complex will have more than 1,700 apartments, 117,000-square-feet of retail space, a 25,000-square-foot supermarket, a 456-seat public elementary school and a waterfront esplanade.

Plans call for 2.2-million-square-feet of residential development in five waterfront towers, rising between 12 and 30-stories, to be built on an industrial site along 26th Avenue, between 4th and 9th Streets on the Astoria waterfront .

Alma Realty, the lead developer on the 2.2-million-square-foot project, agreed to increase the number of apartments with below-market rents from 20% to 27%, hire union workers for construction, security and maintenance, and fund the renovation of a playground in exchange for support from the City Council’s land use committee.

The committee voted to approve the plan 17-0 on November 12. As part of the deal, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to subsidize the final 2% of affordable housing and pledged to throw in $5 million for a ferry terminal at the development.

The city will also spend $1.5 million to fix up a nearby senior center and library branch.

The lower-cost units will be targeted to be affordable to families of four making in the range of about $51,000 to about $110,000 a year.

One-bedrooms for those units will cost around $1,900, while two-to- three-bedrooms will go for $2,400 to $2,700 a month.

The project received approval from the Department of City Planning in April.

It's one of two major housing developments proposed for the Hallets Point peninsula — a chunk of land that juts out into the East River, just south of Astoria Park - a stretch of the waterfront that is largely desolate except for the NYCHA Astoria Houses, which takes up the other half of the Hallets Point peninsula.

The Astoria Cove project, along with the Hallets Point Redevelopment will transform a gritty waterfront stretch of Astoria off Roosevelt Island.

Hallets Point will add an additional 2,200 units of housing and a supermarket to the Astoria waterfront, as well as an esplanade along the East River.

The twin projects have been generously planned in terms of public passive recreation and would be a boon for the city.
The City Council is expected to grant final approval when it votes on the project on November 25.

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