While the proposed development at Astoria Cove has been somewhat divisive, we are pleased to see that some of the lingering questions about housing and labor seem to have been addressed this week.
As developers tried to move forward on the plans, an agreement on union labor and a question about the amount of affordable units at the 1,700-unit development have plagued the conversation about a development that seems to have a number of benefits to the community. With both the developers and the labor organizations coming to an agreement, we hope that the scope of the conversation can be moved to discuss what constitutes affordability and how the City can ensure that its residents can continue to live here.
Credit should also be given to Astoria Councilman Costa Constantinides, who really came into his own as a voice for his constituents on this issue. Constantinides, a freshman councilman in his first year, proved himself as a leader here and should be commended. We also applaud Borough President Melinda Katz for her work on the issue.
If the City Council votes to approve the development later this month, Astoria Cove will be a template for affordable housing under Mayor Bill de Blasio. The Mayor has made clear his desire to have more affordable housing units, but that will be a heavy undertaking if both the City and developers cannot come to an understanding about what will best suit those seeking housing options. As the cost of living continues to grow while income remains stagnant at best, the market rate may end up pricing even more people out of the option to live here.
Creating a strategy that would give residents some relief that would also incentivize property owners to give some relief would leave a progressive legacy that many in this City could be proud of.