While part of the project remains stalled over a funding squabble with the city, the Durst Organization plans to temporarily make use of another site at its Hallets Point development in Queens.
The developer plans to set up a temporary cultural center where the final phase of the mixed-use project will eventually rise, at 27th Avenue and 1st Street, said Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz. The 30,000-square-foot space will include a stage and a fenced off area for film, dance, music and other events, he said.
“Hallets is something of a blank slate, and we want to start to highlight the cultural and arts community in Astoria,” Barowitz said. “It’s the final phase of the project so construction is a few years away. The views it has of Manhattan, it would be a shame not to activate it.”
The cultural center is expected to open sometime this summer.
Meanwhile, a 163-unit affordable housing project planned for the development’s second phase is being held up by a lack of funding. In January, the city Housing Development Corporation pulled $43.5 million in bond financing for the project.
At the time, city officials told Politico that the market-rate units planned for the seven-building development would pay for the affordable apartments. Officials also indicated that the decision was unrelated to a feud between Douglas Durst and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
But in February, the City Council launched an investigation into why HDC reneged on providing the financing. As part of the project, Durst had agreed to retrofit four boilers for the New York City Housing Authority’s Astoria Houses. Council member Ritchie Torres told the Queens Chronicle in March that NYCHA residents were “collateral damage” in the fight between the mayor and developer.
When completed, Hallets Point will span 2.4 million square feet, with 2,400 residential units. The megadevelopment’s first tower, 26-01 1st Street, is expected to open this summer.