NEW YORK | Innovation QNS | FT | FLOORS ( 2.7 mil sq-ft)

Kaufman, Silverstein and Bedrock Unveil $2B Mixed-Use Development in Astoria

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A five-block stretch of Astoria, Queens, filled with parking lots and one-story factory buildings, is being eyed for redevelopment into a 2.7-million-square-foot mixed-use project.

Developers Kaufman Astoria Studios , Silverstein Properties and Bedrock Real Estate Partners unveiled their $2 billion plan this week to construct several buildings, some rising as high as 26-stories tall, along a “lifeless” portion of 35th Avenue from Northern Boulevard to 37th Street.

“It’s really the kind of investment that our neighborhood needs in this moment to jump-start the economy,” Kaufman vice president Tracy Capune said. “Today, it feels more important than ever.”

The project, dubbed Innovation QNS , will add 2,700 units of mixed-income housing, with 700 units set aside for affordable housing and seniors. Plans also call for 250,000 square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of retail, a 90,000-square-foot community facility, an 80,000-square-foot grammar school and a new movie theater, according to the developers.

The design allocates about 25 percent of the nearly nine-acre site to pedestrian-friendly public spaces that include farmer’s markets, an art-gallery garden, courtyards and a zen garden.

“We believe this is what makes a livable neighborhood,” Capune said.

Innovation QNS isn’t the only megadevelopment in the works for western Queens. In May, the city released its Sunnyside Yard Master Plan after nearly six years which calls to build 12,000 units of affordable housing and 60-acres of parks and public infrastructure on top of the sprawling Amtrak rail yard in the neighborhood, Curbed New York reported.

And this week a group of developers announced it’s seeking a rezoning for the 28-acre Long Island City site formerly targeted by Amazon for its scuttled second headquarters, Crain’s New York reported. Those plans call for up to 12 million square feet of commercial development, with at least half set aside for office space, and 7-acres of public space, according to Crain’s .

For Innovation QNS, Capune said the team spent two years gathering ideas from local groups, including the Steinway Street Business Improvement District , and launched online surveys for residents to develop a plan that will address the area’s biggest needs.

“The havoc created by COVID-19 hit Queens harder than any community in the nation,” Tom Grech , the president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce , said in a statement. “As we look to rebound, the partnership behind Innovation QNS is well-positioned to contribute meaningfully to our recovery, as its partners have led historic revitalization initiatives before, including here in Astoria. Through the substantial private investment in Astoria it is proposing, this uniquely experienced team will benefit the residents of Queens County.”

The developers started showing the plans to elected officials and residents this week and will tweak the proposal based on their feedback.

“We’ll be looking for the public feedback on the project,” Capune said. “We’re very early in the process.”

The development would not displace any residents from their homes and Capune said most of the businesses along the stretch either plan to relocate nearby or in the project itself.

If all goes according to plan, the developers will submit a preliminary action statement with the city in July and the New York City Council will vote on the proposal next year. The team expects construction to last 10 years.

Developers tapped architect Eran Chen ’s ODA New York , the team behind 10 Jay Street and 420 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn, to design the project. Chen said he chose to break-up the new buildings with open spaces to create “pockets of community gathering that will eventually really stimulate the life of a community, as opposed to just retail storefronts.”

“We were really inspired by the already existing wealth of cultural institutions in this neighborhood [and its] diversity of people,” Chen said. “We’ve kind of tailored very carefully with those components.”

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Nice, I like ODA.

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i hope they end up building more affordable units. These mega projects are the key for keeping lower income earners in the city limits. They can do better than a whopping 2000 market rate vs <1000 affordable.

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Intense opposition to this project. Apparently a lot of people in the area like vacant parking lots.

However, the rezoning needed for this project begins it’s review.

*“”Developers have said Innovation QNS would be a boon to the neighborhood and the city as a whole, creating badly-needed housing — including more than 700 affordable units (WHICH IS NEEDED) — as well as 1,700 permanent jobs, new green space, and an estimated $50 million in annual spending at neighborhood businesses.

But some residents have come out strongly against it, expressing worry over the buildings’ sizes and predicting that they will contribute to raised rents around Astoria.””*

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Another NIMBY win… sigh.

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Western Queens is due for densification. Aside from its proximity to Midtown, it also has the intersection of the most subway transit in the borough. If you live in Astoria or Sunnyside you should see that redevelopment is inevitable and literally a mile away. Neighborhoods will naturally increase density faster the closer they are to Central Business Districts (Midtown/LIC).

Sunnyside Yards isn’t coming in our or our great grandchildren’s lifetime so where else are we going to develop?

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My thought process goes something like this; Amazon denied, Sunnyside denied, Industry City denied, and now this? I mean, I understand the desire to somehow be different from your high-density neighbor across the East River and to contrast the skyline and sinewy seduction of the knife, but Manhattan has its limits! That’s where the outer boroughs must come in more and actually present a pro-development platform, and that’s where they may want to actually start acting like Manhattan a bit more, and present zoning accordingly! It’s one thing to be ostensibly pro-development, it’s the other thing to actually elect community boards that are constructive, not destructive. I would love to see the higher-profile projects come in and actually be approved by these district reps, or even just to break ground and be built as-of-right in a frequent capacity.

Oh yes I really want more decentralization in development from Manhattan for a couple reasons. It would help from a transit relief perspective. It would also help with rent normalization.

LIC and surrounding areas’ development is inevitable. But I hope Flushing continues to develop as it is Queens’ other CBD and helps with the Manhattan decentralization.

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I want to see more development in the outer boroughs for those reasons as well.

But also it makes the city look considerably bigger (and better).
NYC has always had one of the biggest skylines in the world but I don’t think it’s really looked that way because all of the biggest and best were in Midtown or Downtown.

As can be seen with DTBK, a single large skyscraper outside Manhattan has made the skyline look much much bigger.
Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and even Hudson County I want to see get bigger

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Do you think they’ll reject this project? If so, what would be the as of right plan for the area?

I don’t know what will happen, but I am certainly tired of all the NIMBY’s in the outer boroughs that are simplistically negative about it.

“Queens Is Not for Sale” :neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face::neutral_face: I doubt this project will get through.

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7d70b26fc3a93cd663768d1c52a445b5
Why?

I agree with the need for affordable housing, but opposing this project is not going to make the area more affordable. It’s going to continue to get more expensive regardless of whether this passes or not and there is only 1 solution.

Build, build, build. Not even luxury, just market rate with affordable units. And lots of them.

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So you mean letting real estate developers do their jobs? How shocking!

sigh

https://qns.com/2022/06/astoria-community-board-against-innovation-qns/

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A few renderings of the Innovation QN’s masterplan. However, many are against the project and are crying for it to not be built. By way of NIMBY community input, this entire rezoning is at risk of being eliminated.

Alleyway

Another alley

Outdoor space

Courtyard

A new park

What people rather have and enjoy, decrepit low rise industrial and parking lots

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It’s great!