UPDATED, 10:22 a.m., Feb. 19: The Durst Organization halted plans for the next phase of the massive $1.5 billion Halletts Point residential development in Astoria for the time being, citing project costs as too high in the wake of the 421a tax abatement’s expiration.
The developer’s planned 2,000-unit complex promises 483 affordable housing units as well as a supermarket, school and waterfront esplanade. The next phase was paused one day after Mayor Bill de Blasio helped break ground on the project in Astoria on Jan. 14.
The multi-phased development’s first building — a 400-unit property with more than 80 affordable apartments and the aforementioned supermarket — started construction before the tax abatement’s expiration, according to DNAinfo. Durst Organization spokesperson Jordan Barowitz said the Building 1’s construction will proceed on schedule.
But the future of the rest of the project will depend on either the renewal of 421a or the implementation of a replacement program to alleviate the development’s “crushing” property taxes, said Barowitz.
The developer tax break expired on Jan. 15 after the Real Estate Board of New York and the Building and Construction Trades Council — the rival industry groups charged by Gov. Andrew Cuomo with hashing out a compromise on prevailing construction wages at 421a job sites — failed to agree a deal.
“Without a new 421a or a replacement program, we can’t continue with the project,” Barowitz told DNAinfo. “Without the abatement, the economics for the project collapse and we couldn’t get a construction loan.” [DNAinfo] — Rey Mashayekhi