De Blasio joins Queens officials for groundbreaking at Hunters Point South

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens elected officials celebrated the second phase of construction at Hunters Point South with a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

Upon its completion, Hunters Point South will be the largest affordable housing unit built in New York City since the 1970s. The second phase will include 3,000 units split between four mixed-use housing parcels, 100,000 square feet of retail space, a new 11-acre waterfront park and a community facility space. Out of the 3,000 units, 60 percent will be deemed affordable to low-and middle-income families. In total, Hunters Point South will bring 5,000 new units to the Long Island City waterfront.

“We’re building a new neighborhood from the ground up, from its streets to its parks to its transit,” De Blasio said. “This is going to be the biggest affordable housing project built in a generation, and it’s going to ensure that this corner of Queens – despite all the market pressures driving up rents – will remain a diverse place for working people.”

As a part of the mayor’s Housing New York Plan, the project will cost $99 million and construction of the infrastructure, roadways and waterfront park is set to be completed in 2018. Housing construction will begin soon after.

“Queens, as you know, is a borough of neighborhoods,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz remarked. “We’re still the only borough that says, ‘I’m from Forest Hills, New York, I’m from Rego Park, New York, I’m from Hunters Point South, New York.’ We pride ourselves on that and to have a commitment and development like Hunters Point South, which is going to allow folks not only to come here, live here, raise their kids here but afford to be able to live in such an enormously great place like the borough of Queens, it’s truly a phenomenal moment.”

Katz also pledged to with De Blasio to implement even more affordable housing in the months to come. The borough president, along with 11 other community boards in Queens, voted to oppose zoning regulations that would expand affordable housing in the city. Several community boards cited numerous issues with the amendments including lack of parking and language in the regulations that favored developers over communities.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer noted that along with affordable housing, more infrastructure, services and programs such as schools will also be required to ensure that every community member is served.

“A lot of families have put their heart blood and soul into making this place so amazing so now that many others want to come to live here, which is a great blessing,” Van Bramer said. “My job as your local elected official is to make sure that the city does everything first and foremost with every single one of you in mind.”

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