Tag Archives: ESD

LIC Partnership annual luncheon focuses on the future

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre 

The Long Island City Partnership’s 27th annual trade show and luncheon on Thursday highlighted the answer to the question on everyone’s mind — what now?

While the event celebrated the growth of the burgeoning neighborhood, keynote speaker Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development (ESD), emphasized state initiatives to help advance the area further, including a possible $100,000 state grant for a planning study of LIC.

The LIC Partnership has applied for the grant, and the state is currently reviewing about 2,600 projects for funds. The applications that win state funding will be announced in December, but the LIC planning study has been upgraded to a priority plan, Adams said, because members of the Regional Economic Development Council from the five boroughs support it.

“The study is necessary, because we have to make sure that there is the opportunity for small businesses to survive in this market because the cost of property has dramatically escalated and the cost of rents are following,” said Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley, who received the William D. Modell Community Service Award at the event. “There needs to be this study to say what is the unintended consequences so far of development and zoning and how do we look forward to maintain that good balance of live, work and play.”

Adams said Long Island City and Astoria will also be affected by the incoming students, faculty, and researchers coming to the future Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, and that the ESD has provided funding to work on a tech incubator for the area with the advocacy group Coalition for Queens.

The Room 2

Turning to past achievements, the LIC Partnership honored TF Cornerstone founders K. Thomas and Frederick Elghanayan for their investments in the neighborhood.

Recently, the firm completed its 10-year, $1.4 billion Center Boulevard project, which includes six residential towers on the Long Island City waterfront for a community of more than 6,000 people.

TF Cornerstone was also selected to develop two residential towers for the second phase of the city’s Hunter’s Point South mega affordable housing project.

The buildings will have 1,193 new apartments, 796 of which will be affordable, and the towers will also feature a gym, rooftop gardens and decks, and an on-site senior recreational center.

“It gives me great pleasure to come out to our Long Island City site and to see people pushing carriages around and riding bicycles. It’s like a small city,” Frederick said. “I think other [investors] are going to continue to come in, because it’s established now.”


Cuomo administration mainstay resigns to run for Queens City Council seat

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Austin Shafran

A former mainstay in the Cuomo administration has officially announced his intent to run for City Council.

Austin Shafran, 32, resigned from his post as vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development (ESD) on January 18 to enter what is now a four-way Democratic primary race for the 19th District.

“I’ve played a leading role in Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make government work better, cost less and produce more for taxpayers,” Shafran said of his ESD job, “and now I want to put that same record of results to work for the communities I grew up in.”

He will take on Democratic State Committee Chair Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The primary winner will likely face off with incumbent Councilmember Dan Halloran in the November election if no other Republican contenders surface.

Shafran is the Democratic leader in the 25th Assembly District. The ESD’s mouthpiece for nearly two years, he also served as senior advisor to the agency’s head, Kenneth Adams. Prior, he was a community liaison for former Congressmember Gary Ackerman and communications director for then-Councilmember David Weprin.

“Working with Congressman Ackerman and Governor Cuomo, I’ve developed the experience and the clear vision to deliver better schools and safer streets and an economy that works for middle class families,” Shafran said. “Those are things that we’ve been lacking in these communities for the past four years. We can do better.”

The district extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County.