In This Section

It’s been two weeks since the City Council held a hearing for the latest project in Astoria Cove and after several days of confrontation with activists and elected officials, the proposal was approved by the zoning subcommittee on Wednesday.

As part of a last-minute deal, the development team, Astoria 2030, agreed to dedicate 27 percent of the residential units for affordable housing, up 7 percent from the original proposal.

“This is my fifth year in the Land Use Committee and this is the best deal I’ve seen,” Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) said.

The agreement, unanimously approved by the subcommittee, marks a stepping stone for the project many call the first true test of the de Blasio housing plan.

While the Council and advocacy groups including Build Up NYC have praised the new deal on Twitter, things were not looking good for the developers two weeks ago.

Lawmakers, including Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) — who represents Astoria Cove and will most likely have the most influence over the final decision — came down on Alma Realty and other representatives during an oversight hearing.

“I am happy to have reached this historic agreement on Astoria Cove,” Constantinides said in a written statement. “For the first time in City history, this developer will be required by law to provide permanently affordable housing that is within the reach of Astorians. [The new rates] make the agreement innovative, contextual, and inclusive of our community. The agreement will help transform Astoria for the better.”

Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn, Queens) was one of the harshest critics, calling the plan “unacceptable” and “reminiscent of the Bloomberg years.”

Even Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who originally wrote an advisory letter of disapproval for the project, was pleased with the changes and issued a statement in favor of the new project.

“The modified Astoria Cove proposal is consistent with Queens’ commitment to responsible development and is now closer to par with many of our chief concerns, namely housing, transit options and skilled labor,” the borough president said in a written statement. “Once built, this project will become a landmark accomplishment that we can be proud of here in the Borough of Queens.”

In addition to the increase in affordable housing, developers reportedly agreed to pay for East River Ferry docking costs and still plan to construct a new school and supermarket.

The news of the agreement reached came one day after Alma Realty drafted a contract to ensure the employment of union laborers for construction, building maintenance and security jobs.

While many are happy with the updated plan, Maritza Silva-Farrell, a senior organizer for Alliance for a Greater New York, said the affordable housing component is still not enough. ALIGN held a protest on Nov. 6 at the Alma Realty headquarters in Astoria, asking the company to be responsible developers.


To read the full article, visit Queens Chronicle