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City plans new development for Long Island City waterfront

By Bill Parry

The city is planning to bring a massive mixed-use development to the Long Island City waterfront. The city Economic Development Corp. is currently seeking proposals from qualified developers for two parcels of land, totaling more than 4½ acres, just north of Anable Basin at the western end of 44th Drive.

NYCEDC’s goal for the project is to deliver 300,000 square feet of office and light manufacturing space, up to 1,000 units of housing with affordable units as a component, over an acre of waterfront open space and a school for the Long Island City community.

The 600-seat, 80,000-square-foot school would be the second of three schools promised to Hunters Point by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Plans for another 600-seat elementary school were announced as part of the Hunters Point South development last month.

“I’m especially proud of the work we did in conjunction with EDC to ensure that this Long Island City development includes space for a school for nearly 600 students in our community,” City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said. “As more people come to realize that western Queens is a fantastic place to live, it’s important to ensure that not only do we provide significant affordable housing so that our community is accessible to all, but to also make sure that increased housing comes with more jobs, parks, schools and transportation upgrades.”

The two sites are located on a mostly undeveloped stretch of waterfront, directly across from the new Cornell Tech campus under construction on Roosevelt Island. The redevelopment presents a significant opportunity to advance the city’s key goals, which include balancing residential development with new commercial office and light production uses, strengthening the mixed-use character and entrepreneurial creativity that defines the area, developing new waterfront access and improved connections, and creating new opportunities for affordable housing and quality jobs, according to the EDC.

One of the sites includes the troubled Water’s Edge restaurant, which was closed after owner Harendra Singh was indicted on federal charges in October. The restaurant’s lease expires in May 2017, according to the EDC.

“This catalytic waterfront development will build on the residential growth we’ve seen in recent years, bringing much needed office space and amenities to the community,” NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer said. “Our goal is to continue investing in Long Island City as a true live-work-play community, one where a parent living in an affordable apartment can walk their child to school and then continue on to work at a good-paying job. At the same time, we’re responding to the tremendous demand we’re seeing for new and flexible commercial space in neighborhoods outside Manhattan.”

The two sites are currently zoned for manufacturing. The EDC anticipates they would need to be rezoned to develop the project as the agency envisions it.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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