August 8, By Christian Murray
The cost to rent an apartment in Western Queens has become so pricey that Community Board 2 is calling for the city to offer incentives to developers to build more affordable housing.
Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley has proposed four sections—scattered among Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—that the city should look to rezone in order to increase the number of low and moderate income housing units.
The developers would, in essence, be offered the ability to build larger buildings in return for creating a greater number of below market-rate units.
The areas selected include a triangular section of Woodside—bound by Northern Boulevard, Broadway and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway; an area in Sunnyside bordered by 37th Avenue and Northern Boulevard from 43rd Street to 48th Street; and a number of parcels adjacent to Queens Plaza.
Furthermore, Conley is suggesting that the city review the Queens Boulevard area on the border of Sunnyside/Woodside from Calvary Cemetery to 49th Street to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.
Other sites include building on top of the LIRR on Woodside Ave. between 63rd and 65th Streets—as well as on the Phipps site along the Sunnyside rail line.
Conley said that all the new development in the past decade in Long Island City—where there was no requirement for affordable housing in the zoning code—has created a “gold coast’ where over 10,000 new market rate units have been built with less than 1,000 affordable units.
This week, Modern Spaces, a Long Island City-based real estate firm, released it second quarter report that reported that the average cost to rent a luxury 1 bedroom apartment in Long Island City was about $3,200.
The Long Island City boom has also put pressure, Conley said, on rental prices in Sunnyside and Woodside, where rents have also skyrocketed.
For instance, the average asking price for a one bedroom in Sunnyside is somewhere between $1650 and $1,800, according to local real estate agents.
Conley said that the boom is forcing some people out of the district—since when their lease gets renewed the rent becomes too expensive.