The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
718-274-4500

For Immediate Release
November 25, 2014
Contact: Shachar Sharon

Council Unanimously Passes Historic Agreement on Astoria Cove

New York City Hall – The New York City Council today voted unanimously to approve the Astoria Cove development along the East River waterfront on Hallets Peninsula. In one of the largest agreements on affordable housing in city history, a record 27% of the development will be permanently reserved for low- and middle-income households.

The agreement, negotiated under the leadership of Council Member Costa Constantinides, also includes good jobs, increased transit options, and community benefits.

More affordable housing

  • This agreement marks the first time that a developer is mandated by law to provide affordable housing. These rates make the agreement innovative, contextual, and inclusive of our community.
    27% of the development floor area, over 460 units, will be permanently affordable
  • 5% of the development will be reserved for families with incomes at 60% AMI, which translates to monthly rents will be as low as $882 per month
  • 15% of the development will be reserved for families with incomes at 80% AMI, or monthly rents as low as $1,175
  • 7% of the development will be reserved for families with incomes at 125% AMI, or monthly rents as low as $1,837

Good jobs
Astoria Cove will be built with a fully unionized workforce. The developer has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the building trades and service worker unions. This means good jobs both during the construction process and to service the buildings after they are built. Trainings and safety seminars will be organized for new workers and jobs will come with pension benefits so that families can continue to live in their neighborhood even into retirement.


Better transit options
The agreement includes a fully-funded ferry dock. The City is committed to allocating $5 Million to the ferry dock and securing funding sources for the difference. The dock can be used for East River Ferry service to unite the peninsula to parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. This will make Western Queens better connected to the growing technology corridor and new tech jobs in Downtown Brooklyn and the upcoming Cornell-Technion center at Roosevelt Island. It will also help increase public transit service in an area that is up to a half-hour walk to the nearest subway.

Transforming Astoria for the better
Astoria Cove will feature diverse retail and a supermarket, a new school, upgraded park, a renovated local library, and an upgraded senior center at NYCHA Astoria Houses. The City is committed to allocating $1 Million to renovate the Queens Library, Astoria branch and $500,000 to upgrade the senior center. The developer is committed to constructing a new school, upgrading Whitey Ford Field, and building a supermarket in an area that has seen no new supermarket constructed in 20 years.

Constantinides said, “Residential development in the 21st Century must be innovative, contextual, and inclusive of its community. I am proud to have reached this goal by passing this historic agreement at Astoria Cove. For the first time in City history, the developer will be required, by law, to provide permanently affordable housing that is within the reach of Astorians. In one of the largest agreements on affordable housing in city history, a record 27% of the development will be permanently reserved for low- and middle-income households. This agreement shows what we can achieve when the private and public sectors work together. This agreement provides real benefits to the neighborhood and will help further link our booming communities along the East River. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, and all my colleagues in the City Council including Council Members Greenfield and Weprin, for their dedication. I am deeply honored to have had partners in these negotiations to build a better connected, and more affordable, City of New York.”

“This is a strong victory not only for the residents of Astoria Cove and the great borough of Queens—but for an entire city that is committed to responsible, community oriented development,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “I want to thank Council Member Constantinides, Greenfield, and Weprin, as well as all the residents and stakeholders who made their voices heard.”

Borough President Melinda Katz said, “The modified Astoria Cove proposal is consistent with Queens’ commitment to responsible development,” said Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President and former Chair of the City Council Land Use Committee. “It is now closer to par with many of our chief concerns, namely housing, transit options and skilled labor. Once built, this project will become a landmark accomplishment that we can be proud of here in the Borough of Queens. I’d like to express my gratitude to Community Board 1 and especially to Councilmember Costa Constantinides for his leadership, stewardship and tenacity with the negotiations and ensuring real community benefits to our constituents. I am proud to support the Land Use Committee’s approval of the Astoria Cove project’s rezoning application, as amended.”

“The Astoria Cove deal is historic. The New York City Council got Alma realty to commit to building 35% more affordable units over the 20% threshold the City Planning Commission asked for, with deeper levels of affordability to boot. This project will provide thousands of good jobs, 468 units of affordable housing plus many improvements to the local community ranging from better parks to renovations for senior centers and libraries. I thank Councilman Costa Constantinides for never wavering in his advocacy for his community and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for her leadership on affordable housing,” said Councilman David Greenfield, Chair, Committee on Land Use.

“The project will transform the waterfront in Astoria, providing much needed improvements to the neighborhood,” said Council Member Mark S. Weprin.

“Queens Library in Astoria has served the community for more than 110 years. This funding will go a long way toward upgrading this historic, heavily used, library building. Thanks to the hard work and foresight of Council Member Constantinides, Astoria residents will have this library to serve their informational and educational needs for generations to come,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, Interim President and CEO, Queens Library.

Gary LaBarbera, president of Build Up NYC said, “Good jobs and affordable housing will be a reality in Astoria Cove thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Councilman Costa Constantinides’ leadership. We are proud to stand with them today and look forward to continue working with them and the rest of the City Council to ensure responsible development strengthens our communities.”

Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Sub-Committee on Libraries and sits on seven standing committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Environmental Protection, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.
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