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Public Hearing for Massive Innovation QNS Proposal to Take Place Wednesday

Site Map (Innovation Queens)

May 23, 2022 By Christian Murray

The first step in the public review process for the massive Innovation QNS project in Astoria will take place Wednesday with a public hearing.

Queens Community Board 1 is hosting the hearing, where the developers will present their plan that involves rezoning five city blocks. The public will then have an opportunity to weigh in on it.

The public hearing is primarily held as a means to gauge public sentiment, which influences the Community Board and elected officials when they decide whether to vote for or against it.

The application has been filed by a team of developers consisting of Silverstein Properties, Kaufman Astoria Studios and BedRock Real Estate Partners. The Dept of City Planning certified the application on April 25, which kicked off the public review process known as ULURP.

Community Board 1 is required to hold a public hearing and vote on the plan within 60 days of when the plan was certified.

The developers plan to create a mixed-use district between 37th Street and Northern Boulevard, bound by 35th and 36th Avenues, that would consist of more than a dozen buildings that would range in height from nine to 27 stories.

The plan calls for 2,845 apartments, of which 725 would be affordable. The developers say that hundreds of the affordable units would be priced below $1,000 per month.

The project would also include 250,000 square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of retail offerings, 100,000 square feet of community space, two acres of public open space, and 1,465 parking spaces.

The latest plan, as presented by the developers during Community Board 1’s Land Use and Zoning Committee meeting on Feb. 16 (Screenshot)

The hearing will come about six weeks after the developers held a town hall meeting at the Museum of Moving Image, where dozens turned out to criticize the plan.

Many people in opposition to the proposal say that it would lead to the displacement of nearby residents and small business owners—arguing that it would likely lead to a hike in area rents.

Meanwhile the developers say that the land they are looking to rezone is underutilized—primarily consisting of warehouse space and parking lots. They argue that it would be adding to the supply of housing—including affordable housing—and that they would not be displacing anyone.

The application is off to a rocky start, with Council Member Julie Won announcing last month that the developers had failed to do enough public outreach.

She wrote in an op-ed published in the Queens Post that the project was certified prematurely, and that the developers didn’t meet her demands that she outlined in a letter dated March 8.

The letter called for the developers to hold townhalls and workshops in multiple languages and to engage in greater outreach to increase awareness of the plan. She noted that many residents in the area are immigrants who are not fully conversant in English.

She said that the outreach was inadequate—particularly given the scale of the plan.

Community Board 1 is required to vote on the plan before June 24, within 60 days of certification. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards will then have 30 days in which to make a recommendation. Both recommendations are advisory.

The City Planning Commission will then have 60 days to vote on it. The CPC vote is typically binding, where its rejection—which is rare– would terminate an application.

The final step in the process is for the plan to go before the city council, which ultimately decides the fate of the application. Won, who has shown no enthusiasm for the project, will essentially determine its fate.

The public hearing will be held at the Museum of Moving Image at 6:30 p.m. The hearing can also be viewed live on Community Board 1’s YouTube channel.

email the author: news@queenspost.com

10 Comments

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MMacher

The community is in favor of development, but not as this plan is currently proposed. It is completely out of scale to the community, and the development team has not responded with specific details to any requests by both Julie Won’s office and that of CB1 Queens. The DEIS submitted to ULURP has determined the proposed open space ratios in the residential study area would remain below the City’s planning goals. Other unavoidable adverse impacts from the DEIS have identified transit, traffic, permanent shadows (blocking out sunlight in existing residential areas), plus noise and air quality adverse impact during the 10 year construction phase. As currently proposed this must be defeated, it is OUT OF SCALE and unresponsive to the actual needs of affordable housing in the area. It is well documented that 70% of area residents are already rent burdened. This project does not even come close to offering a 40% abatement of the problem. Astoria is NOT Times Square, it certainly is ridiculous the proposal advocates building 2 towers taller than the Times Square tower used for the New Year’s Eve ball drop. The developers have not done a study to determine if the project is sustainable with regard to infrastructure (geothermal, waste, water delivery, etc.) With these considerations it should NOT have received certification, and this project should not be rezoned per the request.

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joe_the_accountant

Anyone who lives in that specific area knows that the project area is a no man’s land – a place you don’t want to go to during the day or night.
Hopefully the people who are against the truly affordable housing that this creates will actually look at the details rather than just having their normal knee jerk reaction against building anything.

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Jefferson's Ghost

“The public will have a chance to weigh in on it.”
Like that means a damn thing. This is a done deal and the public can’t do a damn thing about it. Where’s Gianarris now? If be can kick Amazon’s ass. he can surely beat Silverstein and Kaufman. No?

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Maria Dapontes-Dougherty

How about a school integrated in to this plan? This was done in LIC
District 30 schools shouldn’t be overburdened

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Ricardo Berrios

It’s only for The wealthy.
Born and raised in Astoria, can’t afford to live in Astoria.
Affordable housing is all bunch of bullshit. I know it , u know it.

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Jen Astoria

This is an enormous luxury development that would price out most locals and literally cast enormous shadows over the remaining area homes. It’s far out of context and doesn’t look like Astoria. There’s been a lot of misinformation and conflicting claims by the builders. This is not what we need. Wrong plan, wrong builders. Astoria should be for regular people, families, our elders, and all—not just for the wealthy and privileged that this plan is made for. We can do much better.

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old as dirt

enough of the building – all of queens is oversaturated – calm it down

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Valdemir Paiva-Santos

This is a bad idea for Astoria, wich is overcroweded already. This will be an excuse for rent increase for an area that is already under a huge increase on cost of life. Huge traffic congestions and decrease of quality of life. Many people will get out of Astoria and these apartments won’t be affordable for us.

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Native New Yorker

If many people will get out of Astoria, won’t that leave a lot of apartments vacant. Vacant apartments don’t make money for landlords meaning that they have to lower the rents in order to fill those apartments. More vacancy means more leverage for the tenants who stay.

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