The 2.2-million-square-foot project along the Astoria waterfront cleared a major hurdle Monday as the commission voted to approve its land-use application despite the push back from community members with a majority vote of 10 yes, two abstentions and one partial no.
“We are pleased by the outcome. And we are looking forward to working with Councilman Constantinides and the City Council and going forward with the process,” said Howard Weiss of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, which represents 2030 Astoria Developers, the team behind the project. “This project heralds a new era in affordable housing. It’s a great step forward in terms of the mayor’s 10-year housing plan.”
The partial no-vote centered on claims of insufficiency of affordable housing in the application. Community Board 2, Katz and others that opposed the project also called for more affordable housing to be included in the buildings, while developers are proposing 345 units or 20 percent of the 1,723 dwellings.
Members of the building services union 32BJ were displeased by the result and pledged to fight at the City Council level for more affordable housing and unionized jobs.
“Alma Realty should not be granted permission to develop Astoria Cove until they commit to responsible development,” said Lenore Friedlaender, executive director of Build Up NYC, a coalition of organizations that includes 32BJ. “We will continue to fight for the good jobs and affordable housing working families in Astoria need to grow and strengthen the middle class, and we look forward to engaging the entire City Council to make sure this gets done right.”
Astoria Cove will consist of five buildings, three on the waterfront ranging from 26 to 32 stories and two on the upland portion of the site, including a six-story residential building.
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.
Recently 2030 Astoria Developers purchased the remaining land needed for the project for more than $43 million.
The City Council has 50 days to vote on the application, and affordable housing will be one of the main subjects reviewed.
“While the new housing stock is sorely needed, the development must work for all Astorians,” Constantinides said. “When the project comes before the City Council, we will work with the developer and focus on providing ample affordable housing, dramatically increasing public transportation capacity on and off of the peninsula, and keeping the development within the fabric of the community.”