Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to create a citywide ferry system, including a dock along Astoria’s waterfront, will boost interest in the already hot neighborhood where industrial properties are being gobbled up as possible new residential projects.
In his State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a $55 million plan to expand citywide ferry service that will make stops around the five boroughs, including Astoria, Roosevelt Island, Long Island City, the Lower East Side, Coney Island, Soundview in the Bronx, and the Rockaways.
The Astoria ferry dock was already included as part of the huge Astoria Cove project, which, together with the nearby Hallets Point mega development, will bring about 4,000 new apartments in the area.
Besides those larger projects, the burgeoning Astoria waterfront is littered with development plans for older properties, and former industrial buildings are being marketed for development sites. Some experts believe the inclusion of another transportation option will be a positive addition for the growing neighborhood.
“When I was growing up in Astoria, that area was not known as a safe neighborhood,” said Astoria native Minas Styponias, who is also an agent with BuySell Real Estate in the neighborhood. “It’ll definitely become an area where people will want to go.”
Styponias added, “It will be a little slow start until those towers get built there. Then there will be an increase in the ridership, and it will be well worth it for the city’s investment.”
De Blasio expects to have the Astoria ferry running by 2017. He said there will be an estimated 4.6 million trips each year and a ride on the new waterway system would cost the same as a subway ride.
The Astoria waterfront is underserved in public transportation, which traditionally plays a big role in real estate. As more of the city becomes accessible to the waterfront through the ferry, real estate professionals expect to see prices increase as the area becomes more popular.
“I think the ferry is great news for Astoria, and will definitely add some value the area,” said Eric Benaim, CEO of real estate firm Modern Spaces.
Rockaway residents are also happy for the return of ferry service to their neighborhood, but officials have criticized the two-year wait for the service to restart.
“While I am encouraged by the news and what it means for the future of Rockaway, our families and small businesses are suffering today and need service implemented immediately,” Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said. “Our ferry dock at Beach 108th was disassembled and shipped away overnight. It should not take two years to bring it back.”