The Real Deal New York

City Council approves rezoning for Madison Realty Capital’s Woodside rental project

Developer reworked proposal after pushback from local community
By Rich Bockmann | November 01, 2018 05:30PM

From left: Josh Zegen, renderings of 69-02 Queens Boulevard, and Councilman Robert Holden (Credit: Perkins Eastman Architects via Department of City Planning)

The City Council gave the green light Wednesday to Madison Realty Capital’s 431-unit rental project in Woodside, after the local council member originally said he’d oppose the project.

The Council voted yesterday to approve Madison Realty’s application to rezone the site at 69-02 Queens Boulevard, which will include 129 units of affordable housing under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.

“Despite an overwhelming demand across the borough, Queens has seen only a handful of developers interested in building significant amounts of new affordable housing for the community,” Josh Zegen, co-founder of Madison Realty Capital, told The Real Deal.

Zegen added that by working with local Council member Robert Holden, the local community and the Department of City Planning, his firm achieved “an overall great outcome” that includes a new 476-seat school.

Holden said the schools in his district suffer from severe overcrowding, and that getting Madison Realty to include a school was key to getting his approval.

“Any developer targeting my district for future projects should expect me to fight for these quality of life issues for my constituents,” he said.

Madison Realty Capital bought a five-parcel assemblage, including the project site, for roughly $31 million in 2016. The company in February filed an application to rezone the site from manufacturing to residential, and to increase the density to allow for 563 apartments.

Local community members and Holden, however, balked at the plans. Already critical of a 2006 neighborhood rezoning that paved the way for large-scale development, they argued that approving Madison Realty’s plans would set a poor precedent.

Holden said he would not approve the project — which essentially gave it no shot of getting through the City Council — and the local community board in its advisory role gave the thumbs down.

The developer, however, made several changes to the project, including shifting the unit mix toward more two-bedroom apartments for families in the neighborhood and reducing the heights of the project’s two proposed buildings.

In addition to building a 476-seat school, Zegen’s firm is working with the 32BJ building-services union on the site.