Hallets Point, the poorest neighborhood in Queens, will likely see a new luxury housing project take shape along the East River within the next year.
And in a surprising twist, the low-income community appears to be in favor of the luxe development.
“This community really needs revitalization,” Lucille Hartmann, district manager of Community Board 1, told Crain’s.
The developer, New Jersey-based Lincoln Equities, has managed to ward off many concerns about the new structure’s impact on current residents, pledging to build a 35,000-square-foot, moderately priced supermarket in the first building it will create on the site.
“Oftentimes, developers will parachute into a neighborhood and have grand plans to insulate people,” Mitchell Taylor, founder of the East River Development Alliance, a nonprofit organization geared to expand the economic opportunities for public housing residents, told Crain’s. “That is not the case here. They are now bringing much-needed resources to the area and trying to be a part of the community.”
According to the plan, ten residential buildings will go up on a seven-acre site along the East River, bordering an industrial section of the Astoria peninsula. The $1 billion project stands to add around 2,000 rental units, shops, restaurants, an esplanade and a park.
The measure comes up for a vote before City Council in September, and the developer hopes to break ground next year if approved.
The biggest concerns, it seems, are with regard to infrastructure, as only three bus lines and one subway serve the immediate area, and it is currently without a supermarket or bank.
City Council member Peter Vallone Jr. has asked the city to extend ferry service to Hallets Point from Manhattan — an idea Mayor Michael Bloomberg has hinted at being open to, and is currently being studied by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. [Crain's] — Julie Strickland