The Your LIC stakeholders — TF Cornerstone, Plaxall, Simon Baron Development, and MAG Partners — revealed they are looking to develop 10 to 12 million square feet of the 28-acre land around Anable Basin with up to 15 buildings that range from 400 to 700 feet in height, or 37 to 64 stories.
The Your LIC team, which City Council called to form in order to create a comprehensive plan with input from the community, updated Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee on their plans for the site on Wednesday, May 20.
The team said 50 percent of the 10 to 12 million square feet of development will mainly be commercial, built over a 10 to 15 year period. The other 50 percent of the plan is still being studied, as they look for ways to balance non-residential and residential uses, a Your LIC spokesperson told QNS.
In terms of building height, the Your LIC developers compare the proposed building heights to that of Hunters Point South (TF Cornerstone owns one of the tallest buildings there which will reach 56 stories when finished) and One Court Square (50 stories).
“In many ways this does feel contextual,” TF Cornerstone Senior Associate Eleanora Bershadskaya said.
They plan to dedicate seven acres to public open space, as originally planned, and are working with the landscape architects at SCAPE to connect Hunters Point South and plan a future connection to Queensbridge to the north.
Some elements of the open space may include: “The Square,” a new half-acre public place that would serve as a gateway to the waterfront on the upland public site that is currently occupied by Department of Transportation industrial uses; “The Green,” a sports lawn in the northern portion of the waterfront; “Vernon Plaza,” a community park along Vernon Boulevard that would act as an overflow space for excess stormwater and prevent upland flooding; and “The Terrace,” an elevated public terrace on the second public site designated for development with views of the waterfront and skyline.
Community Board 2 members asked whether they had a ratio of population to open space, and Bershadskaya said they don’t because they haven’t commenced their environmental impact analysis.
Your LIC is planning half a million square feet of arts and cultural space as well as workforce centers to enhance the district. They will also provide sites for up to three new public schools.
The developers believe workforce centers in particular are crucial, and that because 50 percent of the plans call for commercial usage, it can be a place for job and commercial growth.
They say over 40 acres of the district and upland community could be protected from storm surge with new separate storm sewers and green infrastructure that could remove up to 17 million gallons of combined sewer overflow in the neighborhood annually.
While presenting the plan as it stands, the Your LIC team members said they’ve taken into account the feedback they’ve received from community members at their workshops. They’ve conducted three in-person public workshops since November. A fourth workshop was made virtual and a fifth was postponed due to COVID-19.
On May 7, the developers hosted a virtual Workforce Advisory Committee meeting that included about 30 expert participants, such as educators, non-profits, workforce provides and employers in the area, that gave them feedback on how the project could provide a pathway for job and career opportunities for local residents.
But the Your LIC development has sparked a debate over private use in public land. A group of local leaders and advocates created Our LIC to develop a community land trust and turn the Department of Education building into a community hub.
One of the members of Community Board 2 asked about this debate, to which Bershadskaya responded that they have heard them and that’s why the program now calls for 50 percent commercial use and no market-rate housing.
“We want to be able to deliver benefits that respond to public sector objectives [and] respond to community objectives on those public sites. We also want to be able to deliver a district wide plan that addresses a lot of the concerns that the public has had. And frankly, the way to do that is development,” Bershadskaya said.
Ashley Cotton, a representative of MAG Partners, also pointed out that the DOE building doesn’t fall under the developers.
When asked by Community Board 2 members whether they’ve made adjustments to the plans due to the pandemic, the spokespeople didn’t offer a specific answer. Your LIC told QNS that, from a design perspective, they are laser-focused on optimizing for post COVID-19 planning concepts that are beginning to be discussed.
For their next steps, they plan to host a final workshop over the summer, socialize further details about the proposal publicly with the community, begin the environmental scoping process by the end of the year and submit a formal ULURP in 2021.