Friday, June 13, 2014

Astoria wary of megadevelopment project

From the Queens Courier:

The process to bring an approximately 1.7-million-square-foot mixed-use development to the Astoria waterfront got off to a bumpy start as developers presented their proposal to the local community board.

Architect Jay Valgora of STUDIO V Architecture presented the proposed development known as Astoria Cove to Community Board (CB) 1 Tuesday night as the first step in the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) for the project.

The project, which is expected to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, featuring a waterfront esplanade, children’s playground for various ages and streetscape design through the site.

However the project was met with concerns from community board members who brought up issues of safety, handicap accessibility, affordable housing, parking, a medical center at the site, and construction and permanent jobs.

Along with the board members, more than 50 people signed up to speak on the project including members of Build Up NYC, an alliance of construction and building service workers. The alliance called on the community board to recommend Alma Realty ensure good and safe jobs with fair wages and benefits, protect workers and the community by removing asbestos and other toxins, create opportunities for local residents and much more.

One of the main concerns shared by speakers was the number of affordable housing units at Astoria Cove. The site is expected to have 295 affordable housing units throughout the entire site, down from initially reported 340 units.

“We might be middle class but we’re not idiots and we can see the writing on the wall; we are not wanted at Astoria Cove,” said Astoria resident Tyler Ocon. “The community board is the first line of defense now against these underhanded tactics. Without the originally promised affordable housing units and a guarantee that these units will remain forever affordable, this project will be the first gust of wind that ships Astoria’s middle and working class up the East River.”

Howard Weiss, attorney for Alma Realty, said developers are in talks with the Department of City Planning to increase the number of units but will not have the number in time for the community board’s decision.


Anonymous said...

The minimum income for these "affordable houses" will probably be between 80k-105k per year with a long list of people who apply for it! The government is not fooling anyone with their "affordable housing " crap! These affordable houses in decent neighborhoods are only for the "way upper middle Class or for a married couple who each bring home 50k/year! If you're a single middle incomer, the city wants to stick you right by the project houses!

Anonymous said...

As usual, Astoria is totally out to lunch when it comes to focusing on the real issues:

Who the hell wants to live next to the Astoria Houses on a brownfield that often smells like an open sewer, has gotten flooded twice in the last 3 years by sewage in the East River, with absolutely no amenities, in the middle of a transportation black hole - and they focus their attention on affordable units and the view from Astoria Park?

The community, sapped of vitality or the ability to think rationally by a generation of the Vallones and their cronies, has lost all ability to manage its affairs.

Anonymous said...

Build Up NYC, an alliance of construction and building service workers. The alliance called on the community board to recommend Alma Realty ensure good and safe jobs with fair wages and benefits,
A review of Build Up NYC shows an organization that has no real ties to Astoria - some leadership was accused by members of possible mob ties and support of people like Bloomberg.

So why the coverage? Who the hell cares what they say or think? They don't live here or have to put up with consequences.

Why are they and Alma Realty the only voices heard?

Where is that community board, charged to protect the neighborhood that they are pledged to defend? Why do they downplay their responsibility as mere 'advisers' to this budding disaster?

The community's voice is not being heard, the real issues are not being discussed.

The locals are but bystanders witnessing outsiders debate.

Where is their leadership, which are normally such publicity hogs?
No where in sight?

Where is Gianaris? Why everyone knows he is for this even talking up a potential mini-expressway to the peninsula several years ago: now suddenly falls silent?



The Vallones?

All silent?

My oh my.

Great defenders of the community one and all.

The all got my vote. How about it Astoria? Do they have yours?

Anonymous said...

The astoria community board is a bad joke for which there is no punchline. They should all be hung quite frankly.

Anonymous said...

Here's what's going to happen: The developer will do whatever the hell they want (hi, welcome to NYC where political campaigns are funded by real estate investors), and the rest of us will have to deal with it.

How many people do they intend to cram in there? And how many more trains and buses will they run to the neighborhood? (answer for that last part: zero). Will Con Ed maintain and improve the grid, (answer: no) or can we look forward to another 6 day blackout (when was that, 2005, 2006?) because there's not enough feeder lines? How about all the trash and sewage coming from these buildings? How will that be handled? Will they build a parking garage or will they instead flood the area and result in even less street parking?

So far as I know, no one asks these questions. As a result, astoria just keeps getting s___ on.

CB1? They just rubber stamp it all. Last I checked the same clowns have been on the board for decades.