BY TRIBUNE STAFF
With a number of new housing developments planned for Queens in the next few years, the Queens Tribune and the PRESS of Southeast Queens will host a breakfast conference on Tuesday, Oct. 14, at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center to discuss the issues and opportunities in the development of both luxury and affordable housing in Queens and throughout the City.
The conference, scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m., will feature a keynote address from Teresa Bainton, director of the New York Multifamily Hub within the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. Other featured speakers at the event will include Borough President Melinda Katz, U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Jamaica), Michael Meyers, representing the F&T Group; Lee Sanders, Greater Jamaica Development Corp.; and Eric Bluestone, The Bluestone Organization. The moderator for the event will be Mark Willis, executive director and resident research fellow for the NYU Furman Center.
According to a 2013 report released by the New York University Furman Center, the City has seen rising levels of income inequality over the last 20 years, as the number of middle-income families has declined. Instead, the City has seen the percentages of both high-income and low-income households in New York City rise.
The report noted that between 2000 and 2012, median rent in New York City rose while the median income of renter households declined. In 2012, 54 percent of renter households identified as “rent-burdened” – spending more than half of their income on rent and utilities, up from 43 percent in 2000.
Queens was identified in the report as having the second-highest share of severely rent-burdened households in the City, rising to 32 percent from 28 percent in 2006. According to the 2013 report, the median rent in Queens rose from $1,239 per month in 2006 to $1,327 per month in 2012. Meanwhile, median household income went from $60,563 in 2000 to $55,633 in 2012.
City-wide, the median monthly rent was listed in the report as $1,216 in 2012, up from $1,100 in 2000, while the median household income was $51,750, down from $54,829 in 2000.
A number of new housing developments are planned throughout the Borough, for both luxury and affordable housing. The breakfast conference next week will discuss a number of these opportunities, including some of the following:
Astoria Cove is a nine-acre, 1,700 unit proposed development located along the Astoria waterfront near Astoria Houses. Developer Alma Realty got a major green light when the City Planning Commission almost unanimously voted in approval of the proposal. 345 units are slated for affordable housing – this represents 20 percent of the total residential units.
The zoning resolution mandates that 20 percent of the residential units be set aside for affordable housing, making it the first development of its kinds to require affordable housing. Mayor Bill de Blasio has applauded this measure. However, 20 percent is lower than the 35 percent that Community Board 1 called for when they rejected the proposal in June. Katz also rejected the proposal, echoing concerns about the insufficiency of affordable housing.
Set on the former site on Municipal Lot 1, the $1 billion Flushing Commons development will transform a 5.5-acre parcel of land into a mixture of residential housing, commercial space, retail, community facilities and a 1,600-space public parking garage.
To reduce disruptions to the community, the development is split into two phases. Phase 1 will have 219,000-square-feet of office and retail space, 150 units of housing and a 982-space parking lot. It is scheduled for completion by early 2017. Phase 2, due to wrap up in 2021, will add 242,000-square-feet of office and retail space, 450 residential units, 618 parking spaces, a YMCA recreational facility and a 1.5-acre public plaza.
Hunters Point South
Hunters Point South is a 30-acre proposed mixed-use, affordable housing development located on the Long Island City waterfront. 60 percent of the development’s total expected 5,000 units will be set aside for middle income families.
The project broke ground last spring. Applications for units in the first phase of construction, which is being developed by Related Companies, Phipps Houses and Monadnock Construction, and will consist of 925 units in two buildings, begin Oct. 15.
Half of the affordable units are targeted for CB2 residents and five percent for civil service employees.
A $225 million housing development is coming to Downtown Jamaica on the corner of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue, directly across from the AirTrain station.
The 26-story tower will consist of about 400 mixed-income apartments along with at least 80,000- square-feet of commercial and retail space. There will also be underground parking for the building.
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation acquired six parcels of land for the site and BRP Companies is developing the project. BRP plans to set aside at least a quarter of the units for affordable housing. BRP has hired the architecture firm FXFowle to draft renderings for the project.
The Norman Towers mixed-income affordable housing apartments are also in the process of moving people into the 100 available units in Downtown Jamaica.
The mixed-use, mixed-income development, located at 90-14 161st St., also includes 5,311-square-feet of commercial space and 4,525-square-feet of retail space. There will also be parking and a bicycle room for residents.
The two nine-story towers have elevators, seven studios, 72 one-bedroom apartments and 21 two-bedroom apartments. Qualified applicants were selected by a lottery process generated by the City’s Housing Deveolpment Corporation.
The $3 billion Willets Point project, spearheaded by the Queens Development Group, a joint venture with Related Companies and Sterling Equities, will bring a mega-mall and affordable housing to the land surrounding Citi Field, near Flushing Meadows Corona Park. After it cleans up the Iron Triangle, an area in need of environmental remediation, the development of 126th Street will start, which includes retail, restaurants and a hotel to the east of Citi Field. On the west side of the stadium, an entertainment and retail center will be built. Once those structures are completed, 5,850 housing units and new ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway are scheduled for construction. More than 2,000 of those units will be affordable. Those units are not due until the mid-2020s at the earliest.