By Bill Parry
Developer TF Cornerstone announced this week its strategy to preserve and restore a natural waterfront habitat at the Long Island City Innovation Center, a massive mixed-use complex just north of Anable Basin at the end of 44th Drive along the East River.
The controversial project would include 1,000 residential units in two towers — one 64 stories tall and the other with 50 stories — as well as affordable industrial space, workforce training, offices, a school, affordable housing, public open pace and more to the LIC waterfront.
The proposed development on city owned land will require a zoning change during the public approval process. The first step toward that process, which is expected to get underway next year, is a public scoping meeting scheduled for Sept. 17 at the SUNY School of Law in Court Square.
“For the past several months, we have been working closely with waterfront and habitat restoration experts to revitalize and enhance the natural marine habitat that has existed here for generations,” TF Cornerstone Principal Jake Elghanayan said Sept. 12. “Through the creation of a one-of-a-kind public waterfront that creates new open space, we are driving a new model that uses public land for the public good.”
Designed by experts in waterfront resiliency and sustainability, including landscape architect Mathews Nielsen, the waterfront master plan for the development will leverage the latest landscape and urban design practices, while accentuating the naturally occurring cove and wildlife habitat along the East River and incorporate ideas from the community. The LICIC site will be designed by architect Michael Arad, a partner at Handel Architects.
“LICIC presents a once in a generation opportunity to reconnect New York’s industrial heritage as a waterfront city to the future, by creating shared spaces that appeal to a wide swath of personalities, industries and uses,” Arad said. “As a long-time Queens resident, I know how New York City, and especially residents of Queens, pride themselves on living in a diverse, welcoming place for all. Whether you work at LICIC, live there or just enjoy relaxing by the water, this will be a place designed for all.”
TF Cornerstone plans to prioritize a natural shoreline, resilience, and public open space by positioning the development’s buildings on the far eastern edge of the site in order to maximize the waterfront area to create an acre of new, public open space providing access to the river. The project is slated to include a public indoor waterfront atrium.
“Along the Queens waterfront their exists a great need and great opportunity to adapt our city to the future,” Waterfront Alliance President and CEO Roland Lewis said. “In concert with the Waterfront Alliances Waterfront Edge Design Guidelines, we applaud the LICIC team’s intention to increase community resilience to sea level rise and coastal storms to create welcoming, sustainable public spaces. It’s a forward-thinking approach that all waterfront developments in our coastal city must take in this era of climate change.”
The public scoping meeting on Monday is scheduled to be held at the CUNY School of Law at 2 Court Square West in the second floor auditorium. There is one session planned for 3 p.m. and another slated for 6 p.m.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr