Gary LaBarbera, president of the Build Up NYC alliance, commended Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for opposing plans to re-zone parts of Astoria to accommodate the Astoria Cover development.
“Good jobs and increased affordable housing will grow and strengthen Astoria’s middle class,” said LaBarbera. “Build Up NYC will continue to fight for good jobs, affordable housing and any removal of hazardous material that may exist on the current site at the City Planning Commission next Wednesday.”
In a ruling issued last week, Katz said rents for the planned 1,723-unit development by a group of developers led by Alma Realty would be too high for most locals.
Citing problems with public transportation from the site and seeking a commitment on wages for construction workers on the property, along with living wage for permanent employees, Katz told the local Queens Courier, “The proposed redevelopment of the Astoria Cove site would revitalize an otherwise under-utilized Queens waterfront.
“At this time, there are still outstanding issues with this project which must be meaningfully addressed by whichever entity implements and constructs this proposed project in the future.” The Boro President’s ruling following a thumbs down by the local Community Board which said that Alma’s commitment to include 20 percent affordable housing was too little.
In a statement, lawyer for the developers, Howard Weiss of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, said, “We remain confident that the City Planning Commission and City Council will recognize that Astoria Cove will be the crown jewel in the revitalization of the Queens waterfront with its promise for the Astoria community of much needed housing, local retail with a FRESH supermarket, construction jobs and permanent employment, and waterfront access with expansive publicly accessible open space.”