City takes control of Hunters Point South land

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Hunter’s Point (Source: NYC Economic Development Corp.)

The city took possession of 30 acres of western Queens riverfront property this month where it is creating plans to build the city’s largest middle-income housing project since the 1970s, known as Hunters Point South.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the state’s Empire State Development transferred the property May 20 to the city, Lisa Willner, a spokesperson for the state development agency, said.

The transfer was in two parts, with 24 acres being transferred to a city agency that was not immediately identified, and six acres to the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said Andrew Brent, a spokesperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city will take title to the EDC properties soon, he said.

Port Authority spokesperson Steve Coleman put the sales tag at $100 million for the 30 acres.

The Hunters Point South property runs from 50th Avenue south to Newtown Creek, and was formerly known as Queens West Stages 3 and 4. It is the southern portion of the four-part Queens West site, a massive project to build residential and commercial towers on former industrial land by the East River.

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In stages 1 and 2 of the Queens West development, private firms AvalonBay Communities and Rockrose Development have constructed several apartment towers.

As many as 5,000 residential units are expected to be built at Hunters Point South, with some 60 percent of them affordable to middle-income residents. However, housing advocates have complained that the units will not be affordable to lower-income Queens residents.

The City Council approved the Hunters Point plan in November 2008.

The city wants to build affordable housing at the site as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pledge to create or preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing in the city.

The transfer was reviewed in a public process last year, and the Queens West Development Corporation, which is a subsidiary of Empire State Development, approved the move in January, Willner said.