Mayor Bill de Blasio joined elected officials and community members in Astoria Thursday morning to break ground at the site of what will become Hallets Point, a 2.5-million-square-foot development project featuring seven planned residential towers.
Hallets Point will include a total of 2,400 units; two of the buildings will house 483 affordable apartments, and residents in the neighboring Astoria Houses will have a rental preference for 50 percent of all affordable housing units.
The project will also include 65,000 square feet of retail space and community facilities, a supermarket, a public elementary school and a waterfront promenade.
The development project is a joint effort by Lincoln Equities Group and real estate firm Durst Organization, which purchased a controlling interest for more than $100 million in 2014.
The first building will open in 2018 and will include 405 units, at least 81 units of which will be affordable to low-income families earning 40 percent and 50 percent of area median income (AMI). These numbers translate to individuals making incomes of $24,000 to an annual income of $38,000 for a family of three.
At the ceremony, de Blasio reiterated his commitment to building affordable housing in the city and announced that 40,024 affordable apartments have been constructed since he took office two years ago.
“Hallets Point is going to be good for every surrounding neighborhood. It’s going to be good for all of Queens,” he said. “It’s going to be another phoenix rising in this city and will definitely be good for the people of Astoria and the people of Astoria Houses who deserve better.”
Claudia Coger, president of the Astoria Houses Resident Association and 50-year resident of Astoria Houses, thanked representatives from Lincoln Equities Group for listening to community suggestions throughout the planning process. She recounted the struggles that residents of Astoria Houses experienced and noted how important this project is.
“For years, we had some desertions, we had some devastation on the peninsula, we had some evacuations, we had some escapes, we had all types of things that happened on the peninsula but we did not give up,” Croger said. “We have resilience. We the people here, we planned, we prayed, we hoped and today is a reality of all of that effort.”
The $1.5 billion project will add more than 100,000 square feet of public access space and reopen a section of Astoria Boulevard with improved bus service. The Durst Organization has also partnered with Urban Upbound to employ 35 local residents for site preparation work or at other work sites.
Hallets Point will also include several green features including onsite power generation and a wastewater recycling system. A co-generation plant on the site will allow the development to generate its own electricity, hot water, heating and cooling on site, making it the only off-the-grid campus in New York City.
“We are a multi-generational company and we have a stubborn dedication to New York City and to the neighborhood in which we build,” said Douglas Durst, chairman of The Durst Organization. “We look forward to many years of continued partnership with this community as we build something beautiful and lasting together.”