By Rebecca Henely
Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Long Island City Monday to break ground on the first two middle-income apartment buildings in Hunters Point South, a highly anticipated mixed-use development.
“Over the years there have been many plans for Hunters Point South, all of them good, some of them better than others, but none of them realized until now,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor shoveled the first mounds of dirt at the construction site on 51st Avenue near 2nd Street with the developers and the borough officials. The new buildings, part of an extensive first phase that also includes a waterfront park and the 1,100-seat IS/HS 404, will have 925 affordable housing units and 17,000 square feet of retail space. The buildings are expected to be open to tenants within two years.
“In just a few years, Hunters Point South will have all the markings of a great community,” Bloomberg said.
The mayor also revealed that the city would be putting out a request for proposals next month for the second phase of the project, which will be located south of Borden Avenue and will include a mixture of middle-income and market rate housing.
The middle-income housing is designed to be affordable to families who make between $33,200 and $190,000 a year. Originally, the first two buildings were meant to have a mix of this middle-income housing combined with market rate housing, but the developers — Phipps Houses, Monadnock Construction and Related Cos. — decided to make the units in the first two buildings completely middle income.
Adam Weinstein, president and chief executive officer of Phipps Houses, said the developers have also made some changes in light of Superstorm Sandy, which caused significant flooding to Long Island City, especially in the designated “Zone A” that includes Hunters Point South.
The building’s exterior doors will be built to withstand flooding, the front of the building near the floodplain will have a concrete base designed to act as a flood wall and multiple building systems will be placed on the second and fourth floors instead of the first floor. The building’s emergency generators will also be moved onto the roof.
Borough President Helen Marshall said building the middle-income housing was Bloomberg’s idea and something much-needed in Queens.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) called the groundbreaking a great day for Long Island City.
“This is a win for all of us,” Van Bramer said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.