Community Board 7 brought together city agencies, developers and community members to discuss potential impacts of the rezoning and development anticipated for Flushing West at a public forum last Tuesday.
The meeting highlighted the incredible amount of coordination and planning that would need to go into development in the area, which could see about 1,000 new units in the neighborhood at 13 projected development sites. An additional 13 sites and 1,000 units are not likely to be developed before 2025.
If the planned rezoning from a industrial into a residential area passes a City Council vote several months down the line, Flushing West will be one of the first neighborhoods to see Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing plans, Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability, implemented.
But the most existential concern was whether the development could even happen in the first place.
Developers from F&T Group and Triple Star said their banks told them their projected profit margins were not large enough for them to approve loans.
MIH does not have any inbuilt subsidies for developers. In many neighborhoods, however, developers may be able to negotiate for additional height or other concessions to help them finance the affordable housing, if need be. But because of Flushing Wests’ proximity to LaGuardia airport, building up is not an option, and due to the high water table, neither is building down. CB 7 Chairman of the Land Use Committee Joseph Sweeney said that he was worried about how that would impact developer’s desire and ability to build.
“If it doesn’t work for the developers, it’s not going to work at all,” Sweeney said. “I’m afraid that you’re going to end up with a dust bowl.”
The 421-a tax breaks for affordable housing are also no longer in effect, something that could further hurt developers’ bottom line all around the city.
And none of this matters, so long as Claire Shulman's group got grant money to study the area. Ain't life grand?