The proposed development of a rarely traversed section of Astoria may “point” to significant upgrades in amenities for the neighborhood.
The Lincoln Equities Group, a real estate company based in New Jersey, hopes to build seven residential towers, dubbed Hallets Point, a supermarket and a waterfront park along the East River.
Hallets Point, which would be near the Astoria Houses, would create roughly 2,200 units of housing. Approximately 1,800 of the units would be market rate, with 400 to 500 – or 20 percent – reserved for affordable housing.
The privately-financed project, which is expected to create 1,400 construction jobs and 300 permanent jobs, has an estimated cost of over $1 billion.
“This project will bring much-needed economic development to a section of Queens that badly needs it and will incorporate things like a supermarket, affordable housing and new parkland to greatly improve the Hallets Point community,” said Andrew Moesel, a representative of the project. “Astoria Houses is a large development, but the peninsula itself is a collection of rundown warehouses and mechanical shops. There aren’t many things adding to the community, but this development, along with bringing new residents to the area, will bring the much needed amenities this community has not had for many years.”
The public review process for the project is expected to begin next year; however Hallets Point, which will offer panoramic views of northern Manhattan, has reportedly received mostly favorable reactions.
“I’m excited about the development, because I think it is long overdue and the area is most definitely in need of redressing,” said Claudia Coger, president of the Astoria Houses Residents Association. “This development will create a state of connection between the waterfront and the rest of western Queens. But I am most excited about the supermarket, because that has been an absentee in our community for over 25 years.”
Senator Michael Gianaris, who is “cautiously optimistic” about Hallets point, says his main concern is ensuring the transportation infrastructure of the neighborhood is able to sustain the additional residents.
According to the senator, shuttle bus service to the Astoria Boulevard subway station is among the proposed solutions to the increase in traffic.
“If done properly, this can be a development that benefits the entire community, while creating affordable housing, which is in desperate need,” said Gianaris. “But the devil is in the details, so I want make sure that as we go forward, all [the developer’s] promises are kept.”
Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., whose father’s law firm is acting as a consultant to the developers, says the potential strain the buildings could place on community services has prevented him from fully committing to the project.
“I’m undecided at the moment,” said the councilmember, who claims every other elected official and community group has supported the project. “It has a lot of pros and a lot of cons. The pros are that it will bring needed development to an underserved area and will provide amenities, like a beautiful waterfront park. The cons are that there will be a very large series of buildings that will place a strain on the services to the community, like transportation and schools. It’s going to be such a neighborhood changer. Whatever ends up happening, a lot of people are going to be happy and almost as many people are going to be upset.”