At issue is the planned 1,723-unit Astoria Cove development on a peninsula that is also home to one of the city’s largest New York City Housing Authority housing projects.
The dispute stems from an unusual decision by the development team to impose on itself a requirement to build permanently affordable units. In exchange, the developer would be able to build a larger building—a tradeoff based on the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program.
The hitch is that the language in Alma’s proposal allows the makeup of those units to vary widely. While on the lower end of the spectrum, the team could build 345 units set aside for low-income households—the scenario that the team has committed to publicly—the team could get the same development bonus by instead setting aside nearly 700 units for moderate-income households.
It is that second scenario that concerns Mr. Constantinides. He noted that under that second scenario, the developer could charge $2,600 for a one-bedroom, a sum that he noted is equal to what luxury rental buildings along the waterfront farther south in Long Island City command in today’s market. The development team insisted that it has ruled out that higher-end scenario, and indeed in its public statements and various applications makes clear its commitment to affordable units for low-income households.