May 25, 2022 Op-Ed
We are tenants, immigrants, activists, homeowners, formerly houseless, artists, parents, small business owners, community organizers, and more. And we say: Astoria is Not for Sale.
For too long, real estate has dominated the land use conversations and development of our communities, especially in working class neighborhoods being gentrified. Now, Astoria is facing the behemoth Innovation QNS project.
What exactly is Innovation QNS? It’s a massive 5-block rezoning with majority luxury housing (75%), the bare minimum of mandatory inclusionary housing (MIH) at 25%, and most likely in the end, tax breaks for the billionaire Larry Silverstein’s Silverstein Properties, Kaufman Studios, and BedRock Real Estate Partners, who tout this area as underutilized. With 17 luxury buildings including several at 26 and 27 stories, it is completely out of scale with the surrounding community, marginalizes the immigrant and working class communities who live within and near the rezoning map, and illustrates the major flaws in our city planning processes.