Housing asks for bids in development of Flushing lot into affordable units

By Alex Robinson

As developers put the finishing touches on Macedonia Plaza, the city Department of Housing has launched a process to build more affordable housing in downtown Flushing.

Housing has issued a request for proposals to developers interested in transforming Municipal Lot 3 into a complex that would include affordable apartments.

Department officials said they expect 100 to 250 units to be built on the property, which is adjacent to Flushing’s Long Island Rail Road station on 41st Avenue.

Developers’ proposals must have both mixed-income and affordable housing units in order to be considered, the RFP said. Proposals must also have more than 50 percent of units be two-bedroom apartments or at least 40 percent must be family-size units.

But there were no specifications as to how many units must be affordable.

Housing started the public process to redevelop the lot months ago with a series of community meetings.

The main concern voiced by community leaders was what would happen to the parking spaces currently in Municipal Lot 3. City officials assured them the spots would be preserved.

“Proposals should address the 156 parking spaces that currently exist on the site with a feasible plan for replacement,” the RFP said.

The city first committed to the project Oct. 9, the same day the City Council passed the Willets Point redevelopment, according to the office of Councilwoman Julissa Ferraras (D-East Elmhurst).

The Willets Point project was originally approved by the Council in 2008, but was brought back for a second vote when developers Related Cos. and Sterling Equities were selected and announced they wanted to include a megamall in the proposal.

Construction on the housing component of the project, which includes 2,490 units, of which 35 percent must be affordable, is set to begin in 2024, but can not start until the city builds ramps off of the Van Wyck Expressway.

Former Borough President Claire Shulman, who said she had been advocating for the Municipal Lot 3 project for years, said affordable housing at the location had not been a priority until recently, as the city was waiting for the Willets Point redevelopment to be approved.

Proposals are due in October. Housing will then take about six months to select a developer. The city expects the actual construction work will take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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