March 26, 2021 By Christian Murray
A Long Island City developer who owns a waterfront property near Anable Basin has plans to convert part of his 6-acre site into a “green energy hub” that would provide power to Queensbridge Houses as well as nearby businesses.
Bruce Teitelbaum, the general partner of RiverLInC, plans to develop his 44-02 Vernon Blvd. site and incorporate a “green energy hub” as part of a 1.2 million square foot mixed-use development. His plan also includes the development of a “non-vehicular greenway” that would link the site to Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island.
The site is located next to where the Amazon campus was proposed to go–and the property was part of the YourLIC consortium that fell apart last year. The YourLIC development group also consisted of T.F. Cornerstone, Plaxall and Simon Baron and was disbanded last year after the city decided not to support the plan.
The residential and commercial component of Teitelbaum’s project can be built as of right—without the need for a zoning change. But Teitelbaum said he wants to create a property that promotes green energy as well as provides a “greenway” to Roosevelt Island.
The power produced at the site would be generated via river water, geothermal, solar and other renewable sources. Teitelbaum said that he has been assured by experts that it would produce enough electricity to power the 3,142 units at Queensbridge Houses.
“This would be a shot in the arm for the area,” Teitelbaum said. “It would put a lot of people to work and send a signal that western Queens is back.”
Teitelbaum said that he requires the City’s approval in order to connect the green power plant to Queensbridge Houses, which is part of NYCHA, and the State Department of Environmental Conservation to permit the use of East River water for power generation.
He said that he has had discussions with officials from the New York State Power Authority and the New York City Housing Authority and that his plans have been well received.
Advocates for the project say that it could reduce carbon emissions in the area by as much as 70 percent when it is operational—and ultimately reach net zero, reported the NYPost, which was first to report this story.
“I expect this plan to be warmly embraced by people who are on the [political] left and the right,” Teitelbaum told the Queens Post.
He said if all parties can come to the table and an agreement is reached, he could get the project going in a year. He said if not, he still has the right to just go ahead with his 1.2 million square foot development.
Teitelbaum did not reveal the details of what the residential and commercial component of the development would involve. However, he did provide renderings that illustrate several large buildings that are planned for the site.
“We are not focused on the apartments right now,” he said. “The residential is taking a back seat while we work on the green energy.”
This seems more fantasy-and fantastical-than reality. That small area if fairly expensive real estate couldn’t come close to producing enough energy safely. Have to wonder what the real angle is.