Nov. 22, 2022 By Christian Murray
The City Council voted to approve Innovation QNS today, clearing the final hurdle for the developers in their quest to rezone a 5-block section of Astoria in order to build a 3,190-unit project.
The vote came as no surprise, coming just a day after the council’s Land Use Committee unanimously approved the plan and Councilmember Julie Won said she would back the project following lengthy negotiations that lead to an increase in the number of affordable units.
Won had been an outspoken critic of the project and was adamantly opposed to it even before it entered the public review process in April. The initial plan called for 2,800 units, with 711 (or 25 percent) being affordable– a number that she said was inadequate.
The final plan makes way for the construction of 3,190 units, with 1,436 (or 45 percent) of those units deemed affordable. Nearly half of the affordable units, or 658 units, will be set aside for people who earn up to 30 percent Area Median Income, or $36,030 for a family of three. Of the 658 units, 157 will be for the formerly homeless.
The development will bring 12 buildings that will be spread across 5 blocks in the vicinity of Steinway Street and 35th Avenue. Five of the buildings will be more than 20 stories tall, with the tallest being 27 stories.
The plan also includes about two acres of public open space, a community center, supermarket and a new movie theater that will replace the existing Regal UA Kaufman Astoria theater on 38th Street.
The project will take 10 years to complete, although a construction start date is not yet known.
The developers—Silverstein Properties, BedRock and Kaufman Astoria Studios—praised the council for approving the rezoning.
“Today’s approval of Innovation QNS is a truly historic moment for New York City’s efforts to ensure its long-term economic sustainability,” said Marty Burger, CEO of Silverstein Properties.
“This shows that when the real estate community works with our elected leaders, neighborhood groups, unions, housing advocates, and community members, we can find ways to address the city’s toughest issues, including affordable housing, infrastructure, and jobs.”