Acting Queens borough president to announce Special Flushing Waterfront District decision by March 12

Flile photo: Max Parrott/QNS

Interim Queens Borough President Sharon Lee will issue a recommendation on the Special Flushing Waterfront rezoning by March 12.

As part of her deliberations, Lee visited Flushing to hear directly from local residents who would be impacted by the subsequent development on Monday evening.

The Special Flushing Waterfront District (SFWD) proposal would include nine buildings in the 29-acre area enclosed by 36th Avenue to the north, College Point Boulevard to the east, Roosevelt Avenue to the south, and the Flushing Creek to the west. The rezoning would result in a privately funded and maintained new road system that would alleviate traffic congestion, an expanded publicly accessible waterfront park with an extended shoreline and promenade and infrastructure upgrades to the existing sewer and drainage system.

The application was prepared by FWRA LLC, a joint partnership of the three major developers who own plots in the area. They claim that all told, the project would involve $2 billion in private investment, create close to 3,000 jobs and would generate $28 million in annual property tax revenue.

These towers would add 3.36 million square feet of development — the majority of which would be residential units or hotels. The development would include 1,725 new apartments and 879 new hotel units. Between 75 and 90 of the units would be reserved for affordable housing. The remainder would go to office space, retail, community centers, parking and open waterfront space.  

Protesters with MinKwon Center and other local organizations who have been a constant presence through the land use process have so far opposed the plan based on its potential for displacement.

Lee’s meeting with residents came after many claimed that they did not have enough of a voice in the planning process. Protesters have also raised another process-based objection that the proposal did not include an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a detailed city report that analyzes the effects of a rezoning. This move eliminated opportunities for public review and comment before the beginning of the land use review process.