A local community board has told developers if they want to move forward with a proposed development on the Astoria waterfront, they had better pay attention to the board’s suggestions.
One week after Architect Jay Valgora of STUDIO V Architecture presented the approximately 1.7-million-square-foot mixed-use development known as Astoria Cove to Community Board (CB) 1, board members voted against the proposal unless developers follow recommendations given by the board.
“We have put down in writing the recommendations that we think will help improve the situation there and will make the Astoria west area productive and really something to be proud of in our community district,” said Elizabeth Erion, assistant chair of CB1’s zoning and variance committee.
The four pages of conditions included an increase of affordable housing units from 20 percent to 35 percent dispersed throughout all five buildings of the site and be included in every construction phase; increase of parking spaces; priority of construction and permanent jobs given to local residents and youth; commercial space set aside for recreational and medical facilities; and the importance of the 456-seat public elementary school constructed at the site.
The proposed Astoria Cove by developers Alma Realty is expected to consist of five buildings, three on the waterfront ranging from 26 to 32 stories and two on the upland portion of the site, including a six-story residential building.
The project, which is expected to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.
Howard Weiss, attorney for Alma Realty, said his clients are happy the community board did not raise objections to the project and most of the conditions presented have already been changed. He said that developers will be submitting revisions to the proposal.
“[The community board] had some concerns and they expressed those concerns,” Weiss said. “But the important thing is that if you listen carefully to their vote they support the project itself.”
Although Weiss said developers are working with Department of City Planning to increase the number of affordable housing units, 35 percent would not be “realistic.”
“We are working with City Planning to increase the number of affordable units to what would be a realistically and economically viable affordable housing density,” he said.
The Astoria Cove proposal will now head to the borough president and make its way to the City Council by the late fall.