Over recent years, Queens has become increasingly more attractive to Manhattan developers starting projects in the outer boroughs. Long Island City has been at the center of many of the developments, and now developers are betting big on Astoria.
Durst, the developer of 1 World Trade Center, has paid over 100 million dollars to acquire 90 percent of the Hallets Point residential-retail project. The project plans will turn the baseball field and warehouses currently standing on the Astoria waterfront into a community of over 2,400 housing rentals, a new school, retail space and a new park. 485 of these rental units will be below market-rate.
Durst isn’t the only developer trying to turn Astoria into the newest hot neighborhood.
On Monday, the City Planning Commission voted to approve the Astoria Cove development. The Astoria Cove Project will bring 1700 mixed-use apartments to the Astoria waterfront. Astoria Cove will add good-paying jobs, local businesses and shops, a waterfront esplanade and a public school to the community. There is talk about a ferry route to Manhattan.
Astoria Cove needs final approval from the City Council, and before it can get approval the amount of affordable apartments will be at the center of discussion. Alma Realty, the Queens-based developers of Astoria Cove, has slated 20 percent of the apartments to be affordable. The local Queens community board has pushed for that percentage to increase to 35.
The Council may put pressure on the Astoria Cove developers to increase the affordable housing numbers . Mayor de Blasio’s planned approach to affordable housing will force developers to build more, and the Astoria Cove project will be a key test. “We strive for the highest percentage of affordable housing available at each development,” de Blasio said Monday. De Blasio has not said what percentage number of affordable houses he would consider appropriate at Astoria Cove.
The current housing crisis in New York may impact the Astoria development projects through unique accommodation sites like Airbnb. In Long Island City there are over a hundred host listings boasting waterfront views and 10-minute trips into the city. There are close to 500 Airbnb hosts in Astoria. Airbnb accommodations have the highest numbers in Williamsburg, 1000 plus, because of lack of hotels and rich culture. The affordable housing numbers in the Astoria Cove and Hallets Point developments will affect many and one option that could lend itself is Airbnb.
With an already rich culture in Astoria, the Astoria Cove and Hallets Point projects stand to become the hottest new neighborhoods in Queens and New York City for that matter.