AOC resigns from Queens megadevelopment steering committee

Congresswoman delivers blow to de Blasio’s dream of 180 acres of housing, schools and parks

New York /
Jan.January 24, 2020 05:26 PM
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sunnyside Yards (inset) (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia)

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sunnyside Yard (Credit: Getty Images and Wikipedia)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez resigned from the steering committee planning the development of a 180-acre Queens site after being pressured by community groups.

In a letter today, AOC said she quit the Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee because not enough feedback was being incorporated into the New York Economic Development Corporation’s vision for the massive project, which opponents fear will cause gentrification.

“This feedback, both from community members and from my office, includes but is not limited to community land trusts, truly affordable housing, and public and green infrastructure of the scale necessary to meet our 21st century housing and environmental justice challenges,” AOC wrote to the EDC, the main economic-development arm of the de Blasio administration.

Officials at the agency acknowledged AOC’s resignation Friday afternoon. In a statement, a spokesperson said, “Sunnyside Yard presents an opportunity to build a stronger New York for generations to come that includes more open space, transit, affordable housing, jobs and green infrastructure in Western Queens. This planning process has always put community engagement at the center.”

Groups opposing development in Queens, including the Democratic Socialists of America, had targeted the de Blasio administration and the development’s steering committee, a roster of community leaders and elected officials, including AOC.

“You love to see it,” said Alex Crowley, a member of the leadership of the Queens branch of the socialist group, upon learning of AOC’s resignation.

Groups including the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project, Justice for All and Woodside On the Move previously criticized the development process for being conducted undemocratically. They said that after Amazon’s exit, the EDC put together the steering committee featuring AOC and other officials but gave it little accountability, rather than engaging with dissenters.

City officials hope to establish a mix of affordable housing, schools, parks and open spaces over the rail yard, situated between Sunnyside and Long Island City. The administration has been trying to portray the planning process as inclusive to avoid the kind of opposition that killed plans for an Amazon campus in nearby Long Island City.

The ambitious project, if it comes to pass, would not happen until after Mayor Bill de Blasio’s term expires at the end of next year.

The EDC has a hand in efforts to develop Willets Point in Queens and Hunts Point in the Bronx, the aborted Amazon campus and the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park.


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)
TRD Pro: Is homebuilding really down?
TRD Pro: Is homebuilding really down?
From left: Trinity Place Holdings’ Matthew Messinger and Macquarie Group’s Shemara Wikramanayake along with 77 Greenwich Street (Getty, Trinity Place Holdings, Macquarie Group, Google Maps)
Trinity Place gets extension to finish pandemic-slowed 77 Greenwich
Trinity Place gets extension to finish pandemic-slowed 77 Greenwich
East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and 350 Pantigo Road (Zillow, Getty, Town of East Hampton)
Hamptons town could buy former department store land to build homes
Hamptons town could buy former department store land to build homes
From left: Silverstein Properties CEO Marty Burger; BedRock Real Estate Partners co-founder Tracey Applebaum; Council member Julie Won; a rendering of Innovation QNS in Astoria (Getty, BedRock Real Estate Partners, New York City Council)
Council approves Silverstein, BedRock’s $2B Innovation QNS
Council approves Silverstein, BedRock’s $2B Innovation QNS
43 Greenway Terrace in Forest Hills (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images, Zillow)
TRD Pro: Queens’ top 10 neighborhoods for Q3 home sales
TRD Pro: Queens’ top 10 neighborhoods for Q3 home sales
Silverstein Properties' Marty Burger, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, BedRock Real Estate's Tracey Appelbaum, City Council member Julie Won and Mayor Eric Adams with rendering of Innovation QNS (Silverstein Properties, Getty, New York City Council, Innovation QNS)
5 lessons from Silverstein’s Astoria deal
5 lessons from Silverstein’s Astoria deal
Mayor Eric Adams, Related Companies' Stephen Ross and Sterling Equities' Fred Wilpon with a rendering of the soccer stadium (The Related Companies, Sterling Equities, Getty)
Related, Sterling to develop Queens soccer stadium, hotel, 2,500 apartments
Related, Sterling to develop Queens soccer stadium, hotel, 2,500 apartments
Long Island developer Robert DiNoto (Getty, Google Maps, Robert DiNoto)
Tri-state roundup: LI developer divests after guilty plea
Tri-state roundup: LI developer divests after guilty plea
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...