Dec. 7, 2021 By Christian Murray
The fate of the two remaining parcels that are part of the massive Hunters Point South affordable housing development are about to be up for debate.
The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), which oversees the development of affordable housing, will be issuing a request for proposal toward the end of next year that will provide developers with an outline of what the city wants to be built on the two parcels.
Kevin Parris, who is the director for planning at HPD for Queens and Staten Island, told Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee last month that the agency is expected to issue a combined RFP for the two sites—Parcels D and E– in the third quarter of 2022.
He said that the agency is about to start seeking feedback from the public as to what it would like to see developed on the sites. The agency, he said, will hold community sessions about three to four months before the RFP is issued to see what the public desires.
The Hunters Point South waterfront development is comprised of seven parcels–A through G—and a broad plan was put together during the Bloomberg administration to build up to 5,000 units, 60 percent of which were to be affordable. The city acquired the publicly-owned sites in 2009 for $100 million from the Empire State Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Parcels A and B were were developed in 2015 by Related Companies and consist of 925 affordable units; Parcel C has recently been completed by TF Cornerstone—consisting of 1,194 units, including 719 permanently affordable homes; and sites F and G, developed by Gotham and RiseBoro, are in the final stages of construction and include 1,132 rental apartments, with 847 deemed affordable.
“These [Parcels D and E] are the last two development parcels at HPS so they are really significant for the community,” said Lisa Deller, co chair of the Land Use committee.
Rob Basch, president of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, spoke at the meeting and said that one of the parcels should be set aside for outdoor recreation.
He said that the community has a need for a soccer field or recreation area given all the development that has taken place. He said that the area is densely populated and that several developments are yet to built—such as TF Cornerstone’s 1,400-unit complex by the Newtown Creek, which is adjacent to the Hunters Point South mega development.
“With all the people that will be moving in…I would like to put it out there that one of these lots become a soccer field or recreation area,” Basch said, noting that the site could be used by the schools and community.
There are currently two public schools that are part of Hunters Point South—P.S. 384 and the Hunter’s Point Community Middle School. Another elementary school scheduled to open on Parcel C.
Basch said middle school students sometimes use the oval at Hunters Point South Park but it is crowded and insufficient. Additionally, he said, the soccer field on 5th Street between 47th Avenue and 46th Road is often overbooked.
Basch said that he was aware that an overarching plan was put together years ago—calling for 5,000 units—but asked for a site to put aside given the evolution of the neighborhood.
Parris at the meeting didn’t comment on the Basch’s request, just saying “at this stage we are are open to good ideas.”
Deller endorsed Basch’s proposal for open space.
“I agree with the position that there is a need for more open space,” Deller said. “The level of density in Court Square and Hunters Point South – plus the [TF Cornerstone] development that will go along Newtown creek—calls for preservation of open space.”
E-mails were sent to HPD asking whether it would consider dedicating one of the parcels for open space. The agency did not respond.
Board member Kenny Greenberg said he too believes that there is a need for open space. He said the two sites present an opportunity for the HPD “to make a statement and break out of the traditional box…where every development looks exactly the same.”
“We need to see an intelligent use of open space and truly affordable housing,” Greenberg said.