By Bill Parry
TF Cornerstone is going to change the skyline of Long Island City’s waterfront — again.
The developer behind the East Coast project that transformed the gritty industrial space at the north end of Center Boulevard into a new neighborhood of sleek high-rise towers, is now planning a massive 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use project on the north side of Anable Basin on 44th Drive, where the defunct Water’s Edge restaurant currently sits. Monday, the New York City Economic Development Corporation announced the deal that will bring two towers, one 64 stories tall and the other with 50 stories, containing 1,000 rental apartments, including 250 affordable units.
The project includes a new 600-seat school, 100,000 square feet of light industrial space, 400,000 square feet of commercial office space and 25,000 square feet of art space, on top of two adjoining city-owned sites.
“Long Island City has emerged as one of the fastest growing centers of our city’s economy, especially when it comes to innovation and modern industrial jobs,” NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett said. “With this project we are creating a first-of-its-kind work-live-play structure, with affordable housing, incubators, and space for cultural institutions. The development is expected to create nearly 1,500 permanent jobs and more than 2,500 construction jobs.
“Over the last decade, TF Cornerstone has been a leader in Long Island City’s urban renaissance, evolving from a largely industrial hub into a thriving 24/7 community,” TFC Executive Vice President Jeremy Shell said. When the NYCEDC issued a request for proposals for the sites in February 2016, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) was thrilled that space for a school was included in the plan. The project is expected to open in 2022, but it requires rezoning and will have to pass through a public review process.
“While I am pleased that this proposed development includes a much-needed 600-seat elementary school, hundreds of affordable housing units, and space for manufacturing and retail, I have concerns over the size of the project and its effect on transportation infrastructure, like the dangerously overcrowded 7 train and other subway lines,” Van Bramer said. “Before any construction could begin, the project would require a zoning change and years of public engagement from the community. I look forward to hearing directly from my constituents and working on their behalf to ensure we’re building a Long Island City that is sustainable and for everyone.”
In addition to over an acre of open space, including a canoe and kayak launch, the development will have 80,000 square feet of office space for start-ups and fast-growing companies in the tech, arts, design and creative industries. Coalition for Queens, the non-profit that fosters the tech ecosystem in the borough while helping low-income adults out of poverty, will partner in the project.
“C4Q is focused on building inclusion and equality through technology and ensuring that more New Yorkers are able to participate in the new innovation economy,” C4Q founder and CEO Jukay Hsu said. “This initiative is a transformative opportunity to create a diverse, integrated, and dynamic physical environment with vibrant live and work spaces that are representative of the values and cultures of Queens and New York City. We are excited to work with the NYCEDC and TF Cornerstone to connect our local community with the tremendous opportunities created by the rapidly growing tech industry.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr