By Bill Parry
There was an air of excitement at the Astoria waterfront last week as Mayor de Blasio and city officials helped break ground on the massive Hallets Point development.
The Durst Organization and Lincoln Equities will build the $1.5 billion complex with 2,400 apartments, 480 of which will be affordable, as well as 68,000-square-feet of retail space, on seven-acre parcel of land along the East River.
“We’re thrilled to get shovels in the ground and bring a long-awaited addition to this community to fruition,” de Blasio said Jan. 13. “This is a project that delivers for the nearby Astoria Houses and strengthens this community with a new school, open space and a supermarket.”
The 2.5-million-square-foot complex includes seven residential buildings, two of which will be 100 percent affordable. The development will also feature a waterfront esplanade and park space plus a reopened section of Astoria Boulevard with improved bus services.
“I am very excited to welcome the new state-of-the-art development into my district at Hallets Point,” U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) said. “Currently, this stretch of Queens waterfront is isolated and underused, and it suffers from a lack of transportation and retail. This project will help breathe new life into the community.”
Astoria Houses NYCHA complex, residents are anticipating job opportunities before, during and after the construction of the Hallets Point development.
The Durst Organization partnered with Urban Upbound to to help residents gain access access to construction job opportunities.. A total of 35 have already been hired for site preparation work and another 100 have received job training for the construction phase of the project.
Residents of the Astoria Houses will have rental preference for 50 percent of all affordable housing units. Claudia Coger, the president of the Astoria Houses Residents Association, called the project an answer to their prayers.
“Lincoln(Equities) began working with, and listening to, the community on day one of the project,” she said. “For decades there has been talk of revitalizing and reconnecting the community to the rest of our neighborhood, but those efforts have always fallen short. As a 50-year resident of the Astoria Houses it is tremendously gratifying to see this project move forward and we are eager to work with the Dursts and Lincoln to make sure this project is the best it can be.”
The complex will be the first outside Manhattan for the eco-friendly Durst Organization. Hallets Point will be off the grid, supplying almost all of its own energy with three co-generation plants that will generate electricity, hot water, heating and cooling.
“21st century development must be affordable, contextual and sustainable. The Hallets Point development helps bring our city closer towards these goals,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said. “The 483 units will be available to working families who need it most. The on-site generation and Blackwater reclamation system will make the community greener and more sustainable. This project changes the entire paradigm here.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr