Feud with de Blasio pushes Durst to shelve Halletts Point

Developer will postpone project until next administration

Jan.January 24, 2020 08:50 AM
Mayor Bill de Blasi0, a rendering of Halletts Point, and Douglas Durst (Credit: Getty Images, Durst)

Mayor Bill de Blasi0, a rendering of Halletts Point, and Douglas Durst (Credit: Getty Images, Durst)

A longstanding feud between a scion of real estate and the mayor’s office has reached a breaking point.

The Durst Organization, one of the city’s most prominent real estate developers, is stalling plans for its sprawling Halletts Point development in Astoria, Queens, after the city declined to provide a subsidy, according to Politico.

The Douglas Durst-led firm and the de Blasio administration clashed over a city subsidy and affordability requirements for the seven-building, 2,000-unit rental project. The inclusion of more affordable units, according to the third-generation real estate developer, would send the project into the red.

In 2015, the city promised a $21.6 million subsidy to offset infrastructure costs, but in the intervening period, a state tax abatement included in the financing changed to mandate that 5 percent of the units be included in the city’s affordable housing program.

When Durst proposed an alternate financing solution, that did not include additional affordable units, the city refused to go forward with the plan.

“A project as large and complex as Halletts Point requires a partnership between the developer and the city,” Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told Politico. “Unfortunately, we have never been able to forge this partnership, and without it, the project is impossible to build.”

Barowitz said the firm would wait until the next administration to pursue the project.

The mayor and Durst had a public falling out in 2017 when Mayor Bill de Blasio cited the real estate developer as an example of a political donor that did not receive favorable treatment. After the mayor later noted that Durst failed to win the bid to run the city’s ferry system, Durst, borrowing a phrase from HBO’s Game of Thrones, said “winter is coming.” [Politico] — Georgia Kromrei

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