April 20, By Hannah Wulkan
The Durst Organization, which is currently developing just one of the seven-buildings planned at Halletts Point, is about to start working on the other buildings as a result of the passage of a new tax abatement program contained in the state budget.
The project, which will bring about 2,400 residential units to the area, stalled last year when the old 421-a program expired, which gave tax breaks to developers in exchange for a percentage of affordable housing in their projects.
However, a new version of the program passed in the state budget earlier this month called the Affordable New York program, which has help make the development more economically feasible .
The first building in the development, which broke ground the day before 421-a expired, is already under construction and is expected to open in the spring of 2018. It will be 20 stories tall with 405 units, 81 of which will be affordable, and will have a supermarket on the bottom floor. The building qualified for the tax break since Durst broke ground before the 421-a program expired.
With the program back in effect, construction will restart on the other six buildings. Durst plans to break ground on three of the buildings this summer, and aims to complete the entire development by 2022. It will break ground on buildings 2, 3 and 7 on the development map this summer, which include two waterfront buildings and one on the NYCHA Astoria Houses campus.
The Affordable New York program offers developers a 35-year property tax break, in exchange for a certain amount of affordable units, which must remain affordable for at least 40 years.
The new tax break will require Durst to add more affordable units than previously planned for the development, increasing the number from 20 percent affordable to 25 percent affordable units, said Keith Dumanski, a Durst representative. The development will have nearly 600 affordable units.
Nearby Astoria Houses residents will have first dibs on half of the affordable units.
Once completed, the Halletts Point development will add a total of 2,400 rental units, as well as 65,000 square feet of retail space, a public elementary school, and a waterfront park, which will be owned and maintained by Durst but open to the public.
“We are excited the project is now fully underway and look forward to helping to transform a neglected stretch of the Queens waterfront into a thriving community with a supermarket, a vibrant mix of retail, an extended and enhanced waterfront esplanade, parklands and renovated playgrounds,” Dumanski said.