Proposal to attract developers to downtown Flushing waterfront wins state approval

Flushing BOA
Photo via Flushing BOA application filed with the Department of State

A 62-acre portion of land on the Flushing waterfront may soon see substantial redevelopment after receiving a special designation from the state.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) designation for an area of land in the western area of downtown Flushing, bounded to the north by Northern Boulevard, to the east by Prince Street, to the south by Roosevelt Avenue and to the west by Flushing Creek and the Van Wyck Expressway.

The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation (FWCLDC) presented the application for the BOA, which is described as a vacant, underdeveloped and/or polluted area where, under the program, economic environmental conditions are examined and redevelopment opportunities are identified in an attempt to attract public and public investment.

The designation opens up several benefits for future developers, including support from state municipalities and a potential for tax credits.

The proposed revitalization plan encompasses 62 acres, which includes “street beds, undevelopable wetlands and a portion of Flushing Creek,” according to state documents. A key recommendation made in the report included creating a special waterfront district at the site to allow for mixed-use redevelopment and affordable housing.

The plan also includes suggestions for creating public waterfront access, improving traffic flow and rehabilitating the water quality of Flushing Creek.

Flushing BOA 2

“The recommendations set forth in the Flushing Waterfront Revitalization Plan present an unparalleled opportunity to serve the needs of expanding Flushing’s thriving downtown area further westward to the waterfront along Flushing Creek, and to ensure that future development will provide new public amenities and open space in a remarkably diverse and growing neighborhood,” the report filed with the Department of State’s office of planning and development concludes.

Any future zoning changes at the site will be subject to the city’s land use and environmental reviews.

“Communities across the state are revitalizing vacant brownfield sites and these designations provide the resources to make their grand visions a reality,” Cuomo said. “This Brownfield Opportunity Area program gives local leaders the power to bring about much-needed change to properties that have been neglected within their communities, and we look forward to seeing progress and development as we transform communities across New York.”

Assemblyman Ron Kim said the designation was “one more positive step forward for our community.”

“We are grateful for this designation, which will ultimately create jobs and housing for New Yorkers in areas that were blighted and neglected,” Kim said.

Across the creek, a multibillion-dollar development plan for Willets Point is in the first building stage. The project, proposed by Queens Development Group and over 10 years in the making, will bring affordable housing, a public school, parkland and neighborhood retail space to the area.

“I thank our entire board for its support during this process and now look forward to the next phase which will include a formal ULURP application to implement the zoning recommendations included in our nomination study,” said Claire Shulman, president and CEO of the Flushing Willets Point Corona LDC said in a letter to the LDC’s board. “The LDC thanks the Department of City Planning for its stellar work on our nomination study and environmental assessment report. Our staff at the LDC also deserve thanks for their hard work in overseeing and ensuring completion of this critical phase of our work. The LDC will apply for funding for the next phase of our work (implementation) as soon as it becomes available from the state.”

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