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Politics

Astoria Cove Project Nears Finish Line

NEW YORK – Astoria Cove, A 2.2 million-square-foot real estate development project in Western Queens, got a thumbs-up from the New York City Council’s land-use committee on November 12. Full City Council approval is now expected on November 25.

The earlier proposal made by 2030 Astoria Developers was sent back to the drawing board over concerns about safely, union jobs and most importantly, an insufficient amount of affordable housing after a hearing of the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises of the New York City Council on October 20.

“One of the developers of the Queens project, Alma Realty, said 27% of the project’s more than 1,700 units would be affordable, compared with the 20% that it was offering to build,” in its original proposal, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The deal disappointed housing advocates who wanted a higher percentage of affordable housing and who believe the rents would not be afforded by area families, issues that were brought up by Costa Constantinides, Astoria’s City Council member, and which forced the developer back into negotiations on October 20.

Constantinides is happy with the results of the talks, however, and believes the deal would provide housing, good jobs and transportation for an isolated area.

“I am happy to have reached this historic agreement on Astoria Cove. 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. Twenty-seven percent of the entire development will be affordable at rates better than previously offered – 20 percent of the development will be reserved for low-income households and monthly rents will be as low as $800 per month. These rates make the agreement innovative, contextual, and inclusive of our community. The agreement will help transform Astoria for the better.”

Constantinides added that the project will include “a unionized workforce, retail and a supermarket, a new school, a renovated local library, upgraded parks, and an upgraded senior center at the NYCHA Astoria Houses. The agreement also includes a fully-funded ferry dock.

“I am honored to have had a great partner in the de Blasio administration during this historic negotiation process. I am proud of this agreement and I thank Council Members Greenfield and Weprin for their leadership and guidance in this historic process, as well as my other colleagues in the Council,” Constantinides said.

The talks were intense and went down to the wire.

“As of Tuesday evening, the parties remained at odds on crucial issues, namely affordable housing and labor, according to people familiar with the matter,” the WSJ reported, but “At 8:22 p.m. housing advocates, unions and some elected officials put out an advisory for a news conference on Wednesday morning to call for a no vote on the project. A deal with the unions was struck late in the evening, and the news conference was called off. Negotiations continued until mid-afternoon Wednesday—well after the scheduled time for a vote.”

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