A massive waterfront housing development in Astoria that required low- to moderate-income apartments prior to a citywide mandatory affordable housing policy has been scuttled. It's a disappointment for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had boasted that the project would be a "real game changer" in affordable housing.
From the time the 2.2-million-square-foot Astoria Cove project passed the City Council in November of 2014, developers questioned the economics of the project. Several speculated the builder, Alma Realty, would have a hard time obtaining financing for a development in which 27 percent of the 1,723 planned apartments — 459 units — would be rented to people paying less than the market rate in a neighborhood that does not command top-dollar rents.
Alma had also agreed to pay union rates for construction work, which can significantly drive up the cost of any project.
One developer who has been closely following the project said his firm repeatedly looked at the financial details of the project, only to conclude it would be nearly impossible to find a lender.