By JON CRONIN, Editor
Affordable housing at Willets Point will break ground in 2020, with 220 apartments between the income brackets of approximately $17,000 to $35,000, which was not featured in the 2008 or 2013 plans for the site.
The six acres set aside in the 62-acre site will be home to a total of 1,100 affordable apartments with 297 units set aside for a family of three making less than $42,950.
The 1,100 apartments will be located in three separate stand-alone buildings. The site will also include public open space as well a 450-seat elementary school.
The project will also see the remediation of an area that has historically been the site of commercial properties and will be completed with the buildings by 2022. The city will remain the owner of the six acres through a long-term lease, as opposed to a 2013 plan in which the city would sell 23 acres to a developer.
The mayor’s office announced that there will be a task force led by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) to help identify community priorities and give feedback for 17 acres of the site.
“The city has immediate, desperate needs for affordable housing units and school seats, especially here in Queens. This agreement to build 100 percent affordable housing at Willets Point is the right plan at the right time. As the sponsor of the 2008 Urban Renewal Plan, I am encouraged that we are moving forward in putting a shovel in the ground, and that housing and a school are the first priorities,” Katz said.
In the announcement, the mayor’s office stated that the Queens Development Group, the site’s developer, set a goal of 25 percent M/WBE participation, and will take part in HireNYC, a city program that connects local residents to potential jobs. The developer is also looking to get the “highest standards of environmental sustainability through either LEED Gold USGBC Certification or Enterprise Green Communities,” according to the mayor’s office.
“After years of false starts and controversies, this is a thoughtful way to get shovels in the ground, keep our promises to this community and begin building an affordable neighborhood for seniors and working families,” noted Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen.
-Read the full story in tomorrow’s Queens Tribune.