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CB1 approves Catholic Charities’ plan to build 7-story senior affordable housing development, final decision will be made by BSA

Site of proposed 7 story building

June 22, 2017 By Jason Cohen

Community Board 1 voted in favor of allowing Catholic Charities to construct a seven-story residential building in Astoria catering to low income seniors.

Catholic Charities needs a variance because its proposed building, which would be located at 23-11 31st Road, does not conform with existing zoning rules since it would be situated too close to the property line. However, the board held the view that senior housing is in such short supply and the non-conformity was not that significant that it gave the ok. The board’s recommendation, however, is advisory and it is the Board of Standards and Appeals that makes the ultimate decision.

The building would consist of 93 affordable dwelling units and would be across the street from another low-income senior complex that Catholic Charities manages. That complex, called the Catherine Sheridan Houses, has 240 units.

The new structure would go up on what is now a parking lot. It would include space for a community room and community facilities on the ground floor.  There would be 14 to 16 residential units on each floor, from floors 2 through 7.

The architect working on the plans is listed as Dattner Architect, the firm used to design the massive Hallets Point project.

Details as to who would qualify for the houses are not known.

Catherine Sheridan Houses

However, to qualify for the Catherine Sheridan Houses, seniors must be over 65 years of age, with singles earning less than $44,350 or two people under $50,700.

Tenants are selected via a lottery.

Elizabeth Erion, co-chair of the land use and zoning committee for CB1, felt it was important to have more senior housing in the community. According to the Catholic Charities, there are nearly 20,000 low-income seniors on the wait list for affordable housing in the 22nd Council District, the highest in the city.

“This is really an opportunity for us to try to address senior housing,” Erion said.

Erion said her only concern is the lack of parking. The proposed plan calls for 19 parking spots.

Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) has expressed his support for the development.

In next few months the proposal will be heard by the Board of Standards and Appeals.

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With all the $$$$ construction going up in Astoria , some seniors are being forced to move because their landlord is selling his/her property for big $$$$. Can’t fault the person who will profit by their investment , that’s why most people invest in real estate …but many of these seniors would have to move out of the neighborhood because now they cannot afford to live here anymore. Wrong time in life to HAVE to move instead of CHOOSING to do so.
What happens to those seniors who retired during the past 10 years and have an income a little higher……50/ 60M but not the big 6 figures…..they can’t pay the high rents and do not qualify for places like Sheridan….or this new one. Where do they go ? Not everyone wants to live with their kids or move south . However, this new build will be a blessing for those who qualify and maybe for some seniors it will be the first time in many years that they will be living in a clean, safe environment constructed for their needs. We do need more affordable housing ……..with a little more income diversity especially for those caught in between the High and Low incomes.

Crystal Wolfe

This is wonderful news and senior affordable is clealy so needed here! Very encouraging. Great article.

Robyn Gero

Can yo I tell me how to get info for my parents who would qualify and they live in Astoria ?
Is it only by lottery and does Catherine Sheridan have any openings or other senior residence apartments in Astoria
Thank you


What about people under 65 years old that are earning less than $44,350 a year! This is so unfair. Its discrimination against people based on age. I don’t see affordable housing going up only solely for people less than 65 yrs old! That would cause an uproar but everyone seems fine with this. And 44,340 is a lot of money. I wish i made that much.


Because seniors have different needs than non-seniors.

Are you saying people that build senior living centers should not have an age restriction?

I’d like to point out that $44,340 is pretty low. The average starting salary in 2017 for a college grad is $49,000.


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