From the Queens Chronicle:
At what was called a “Community Visioning Meeting” on Dec. 18, officials announced that the long-evolving project to develop Municipal Parking Lot 3 in Flushing to provide affordable housing is moving forward.
Representatives of various agencies and several elected officials were in attendance at the meeting, but the public was noticeably underrepresented, owing, apparently, to the short notice and early meeting at 5 p.m.
The project aims to convert the lot, located at 41st Avenue and abutting the Long Island Rail Road station, into much-needed affordable housing, as well as providing commercial space, while maintaining as many of the 157 existing parking spaces as possible.
A still-fluid timetable, offered by the city Department of Housing, Preservation and Development, indicated that construction could begin within a year, with the actual work taking between 18 and 24 months.
In a presentation on behalf of the HPD, Director of Pipeline Planning Eunice Suh said the project’s feasibility analysis would begin sometime this winter. According to plans, the Request for Proposals would be released by the spring with the RFP submissions due by next summer. The RFP developer selection is expected to be announced by next fall.
One instrumental figure in the project’s development, former borough president Claire Shulman, who heads the Flushing, Willets Point, Corona Local Development Corp., said that the project has been discussed for many years. “Everyone agreed this was a great project. Here we are four or five years later. Better late than never.”
Shulman suggested progress on the project was “held back because of the EIS at Willets Point.” It was a reference to the challenges to the Environmental Impact Statement, a document that describes the positive and negative effects a proposed action could have, in that controversial case. “The city didn’t want another lawsuit,” she said.
“Our preference is affordable housing with the possibility for senior housing,” she said of the 43,200-square-foot-lot, citing requests from the Asian community which, she said, has faced suicides by seniors who found themselves with no viable place to live. “Affordable housing is a very important issue in Flushing, an absolute must.”
Along with the housing developments are planned improvements to the LIRR station. A representative said the LIRR is in the process of updating the “entire station environment,” including two elevators, both accessible from Main Street. In addition, lighting on the platform will be replaced. Also planned are new stairways and a new ticket office.
If the words "affordable housing" and Claire Shulman are involved, you know this is nothing more than a big tweeding project. Expect one of the usual suspect developers to get the contract.
IMPORTANT: This Claire Muni Lot 3 project (which has been gestating for years) is one of the two affordable housing projects that Julissa Ferreras touted on October 9 at the Council vote as concessions towards an approval vote of the Willlets Point / Willets West special permit. From the Council's press release:
"the Administration has agreed to release a Request For Proposals for two lots in Queens to construct additional affordable housing."
CB7 has since referred to one of them as Claire's Muni Lot 3 project.
In other words, they knew all along that the Muni Lot 3 project had been proposed and was in the pipeline (and only delayed, as Claire said, because disclosing it could provide more ammunition for lawsuits challenging the Willets Point EIS) -- and then Ferreras touted it as a concession resulting from her negotiations re: Willets Point / Willets West. More swindle.