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City sets its sights on up to 24,000 units on Sunnyside Yards, according to report

Feb. 6, 2017 By Hannah Wulkan

The NYC Economic Development Corporation is entertaining the possibility of building as many as 24,000 residential units on the Sunnyside Yards, according to a feasibility study the agency released today.

The study lays out three test cases for the mega-development, which would be built over the 180-acre rail yard situated between Sunnyside, Astoria and Long Island City. Most of the residential units would go up toward the Sunnyside portion of the yards.

The study is a follow up to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to build thousands of affordable housing units on top of the yard, which he first announced in early 2015.

The first test case would see the construction of between 18,000 and 24,000 residential units on certain segments of the site. It would also add between 13 and 19 new schools, 2,400 to 3,300 new parking spaces and up to 52 acres of public park land. The test case allocates 700,000 to 900,000 square feet of retail space, but does not propose any construction of new office space.

The second test case, according to the EDC, would provide more of a balance of residential, commercial and community space.

It proposes the construction of 14,000 to 19,000 residential units, as well as about 4 million to 5.5 million square feet of office space and 500,000 to 700,000 square feet of retail space. It would add 10 to 14 schools to the area as well as 1 to 1.4 million square feet of higher education space, 3,300 to 4,500 parking spaces, and between 37 and 50 acres of park space.

The final test case falls somewhere in the middle of the first two cases, aiming to make Sunnyside Yards more of a destination. It proposes building 16,000 to 22,000 residential units, and though it does not leave room for office buildings, it does suggest building 1.1 to 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use buildings. It would also add 10 to 14 new schools, 3,900 to 5,300 new parking spaces, and between 31 and 42 acres of park space.

Regardless of which plan is picked, or if a new plan is adopted, the study shows that 30 percent of all residential units would be made permanently affordable.

The study shows that the estimated cost of the entire project would be between $16 and $19 billion, though the project would be broken down in to phases.

The heart of the project will likely go up in the east section of in the yards, in what the study calls the “Core yard.”

Development of Sunnyside Yards would likely begin with the Core Yard, which covers about 70 acres partially bordering Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, but does not reach Skillman Avenue.

The Core Yard would contain about 11,000 to 15,000 new residential units, 15 to 20 new acres of park space, and new community facilities and amenities.

The study estimates that it would cost about $10 billion to build the Core Yard, which could then expand outwards to eventually cover between 80 to 85 percent of the 180-acre rail yard.

“This feasibility study is only the first stage in a multi-step, multi-year design process needed to realize a project of this scale and complexity,” concludes the study, pointing out that the Sunnyside Yards project will be ongoing over the next many years and likely through several administrations if it moves forward.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been a critic of developing the yards, suggested that de Blasio come to the neighborhood and explain his plans.

“This is potentially a big project with enormous ramifications. I invite Mayor de Blasio to come out to Western Queens and hold a town hall meeting with my constituents. He can use this as an opportunity to explain what the administration hopes to accomplish, and solicit necessary community feedback from the residents of Western Queens. I would gladly join him at such an event.”

Meanwhile, State Sen. Mike Gianaris said in a statement, “Any future development must ensure adequate infrastructure to handle our growing population, including additional schools, parks and open spaces, and vastly improved mass transit, particularly on the 7 line. I will intensify my efforts to see these needs addressed before thousands of new residents are added to our neighborhood and will not support any plan that does not have the community’s approval.”

The decision to develop the yards will ultimately be decided by the city council.

For the study, please click here.

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16 Comments

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Mpross

After living in the area most of my life I find the idea ridiculous. The infrastructure can’t handle what there is now. 25000 more units is insane.

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Jim

I find Phoenix to be on unbelievably boring. Atlanta has horrible public transportation. You live in traffic if you have to commute to work . I would move to Paris. I think that city is fantastic .

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Mac

3 fine “glorified” suburbs with a couple of urban centers in each. You better like spending time in your car in these places. Beware these 3 cities have way more crime than NYC. Very little character in these cities. Why do you think so many people want to be in NYC.? You get what you pay for.

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Pete

I agree. I travel to all these cities and more for work. People complain all the time about NYC but I think they don’t realize how much more they get here.

Most other cities are miles and miles of strip malls.

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Dennis

Actually LA is worth moving to compared to NYC IF and big IF you like a more laid back lifestyle. If you read the TIME OUT NY magazine I think it came out last month issue. They had two TIME OUT employees switch cities and the NYC dude was pretty satisfied. LA actually is cheaper now than NYC according to the article.

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Mary T Finn

Isn’t Sunnyside Yards a “Superfund Site?” What about that? I can’t imagine anything scarier than poor families with infants and children living there.

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Ajoe

Newton Creek, adjacent to the Sunnyside Yards is a Superfund Site.
“The pastoral land around the creek became “a vast interconnected complex of wharves, stills, tanks, and pipelines,”[11] to service not only the refineries, but also the facilities of related industries such as manufacturers of paint and varnish, and chemical companies which produced sulfuric acid. It is estimated that, in all, these industrial facilities produced 300,000 US gallons (1,100,000 l; 250,000 imp gal) of waste material each week, which was burnt off, or discarded into the air or the water of the creek. The waste included sludge acid, a tar-like substance which was sold to companies that used it as an ingredient in superphosphate fertilizer. These companies, which built factories close to the source of their raw material, then dumped their waste into the environment, as did the chemical companies with the sulfur that was the waste from producing sulfuric acid”
“Newtown Creek had become a major industrial waterway, with the city starting to dump raw sewage into it in 1866”

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Nectarios

Great more buildings being built more construction. More headaches and traffic that we don’t need. Rents keep climbing jobs and salaries are being short. I see more people moving out nothing moving in

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haydo

IMO, there aren’t enough updated rentals. Plenty of “outdated” rentals and when you have developers going after the people that are willing to rent “newer” apts for a higher amount it ads to the median price rage for all rental units in the neighborhood. However, renters willing to pay top dollar expect certain criteria and amenities which leaves room for those looking to pay less room to negotiate and seek older apts for less.

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jenastoria

Good point. I wonder if they’ve added transit into the numbers. Not just for the 7, but all of trains that run through QBP and QP.

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