Critics want more affordable housing at Astoria Cove

By Juan Soto

As opposition to the Astoria Cove mega-project mounted, the developers revealed that they have slightly increased the number of affordable housing units that will be available at the five-unit waterfront building complex.

Alma Realty and other developers want to erect the complex in an industrial area at the Hallets Point peninsula. Now Alma Realty has pointed out that its plan is to construct 345 affordable housing flats “in the five buildings.”

That number accounts for 20 percent of the apartments in the 1,700-unit complex.

The borough president held a hearing Thursday, and the testimony was mixed with 11 speakers in favor of the development and another 11 against it.

“This will be the first project that passes with mandatory affordable housing regulations,” said Borough President Melinda Katz during the Land Use committee hearing in a packed second-floor conference room at Borough Hall. “This will be a signature project in the city of New York and I am excited is in Queens.”

Community Board 1 will support the massive project if Alma Reality and its partners agree to make affordable housing units 35 percent of the project.

“Inclusion of more affordable housing and job creation is vital,” Lucille Hartmann said.

Moses Gates from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development pointed out that “20 percent of affordable housing is basically the minimum requirement for tax abatements.” His organization of 95 nonprofits serves low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. “This is not affordable housing.”

The borough president will issue a written recommendation about the Astoria Cove mega complex by July 30.

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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