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de Blasio calls for building 11,000 affordable units over Sunnyside Yards–Cuomo says no

Sunnyside_Yard_East_jehFeb. 3, 2015 By Christian Murray

The city has plans to develop thousands of affordable apartments over the Sunnyside Yards.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, during his state of the city address today, said that he aims to build 11,250 affordable units over the yards and said that the housing could cater to more than 30,000 people.

However, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office issued a statement that made it clear that such development would not happen soon.

“The MTA uses Sunnyside Yards as an important facility for our transportation system, and it is not available for any other use in the near term,” the statement read. It noted that the “State and the MTA are studying several potential future uses of the site from a long term planning perspective.”

The concept of building on the Yards has caused quite a stir among western Queens residents in recent months. When it was first suggested in October by Joe Conley, the former chair of Community Board 2, it was panned.

However, the drumbeat for building on the Yards grew when Dan Doctoroff, former deputy mayor, published an op-ed in the New York Times calling for its development. Furthermore, the Amtrak chair Anthony Coscia said at a real estate conference in October that it was looking at selling or developing the Yards to raise funds.

These suggestions were dismissed by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer at the time, who said the area didn’t have the infrastructure to handle such development, and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan also expressed concerns. She discussed putting together a group to evaluate the concept.

De Blasio said the city will work with Amtrak and the MTA on the project, and the housing would be built above the tracks.

“Right now there are 200 acres of land in the heart of queens in the form of a rail yard…this could be a real game changer,” he said.

“We know that this site has different parts of it. Some parts could easily handle larger buildings being built there, other parts of this site could not,” the mayor said. “We’ll work closely with elected officials and community leaders to determine what makes sense and how to build this the right way.”

Van Bramer said in a statement that he spoke to the Mayor at some length before his State of the City speech. “I share his vision [for affordable housing], but I also shared my concerns about his Sunnyside Yards proposal. He was respectful of the issues I raised, and we agreed to continue to dialogue on this critical piece of his agenda.”

State Sen. Mike Gianaris said in a statement that he was open to the concept but emphasized that he would not support any proposal with out the backing of the community.

“Mayor de Blasio is right that western Queens needs more affordable middle class housing so we can maintain the character of our growing neighborhoods,” Gianaris said in a statement.

Gianaris added that “Any future development must bring with it more and better schools, new parks and open spaces, and vastly improved mass transit, particularly on the 7 line.” He noted that “It is critical that the discussion regarding Sunnyside Yards includes the community and focuses on providing the additional infrastructure we desperately need. I look forward to working with the Mayor to ensure our existing community is consulted and protected as this process unfolds.”


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Where's Jimmy Van Bremer

Van Bramer has been putting this down for months. Then Deblasio talks about it and we dont hear anything. Is he scared?


This is closer to LIC so I don’t think he really cares. He only cares about Sunnyside. Notice the double speak and desire to preserve a low rise community in Sunnyside which he obviously isn’t enforcing for LIC which was low rise for a long time. At least he acknowledged the train situation.
I took this from Queens Crap blog:

From Capital New York:

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside, did not immediately embrace the idea of building 11,250 units of affordable housing at the 200-acre site.

A left-leaning Democrat, Van Bramer stressed that he supports an expansion of affordable housing in New York City, which was the focus of de Blasio’s State of the City speech Tuesday morning. He said his concern stems from the needs that arise with the additional population in his already-crowded district. He also said he is wary of the possible height of the apartment buildings in a predominantly residential area.

“I’m down with the vision and I truly do applaud the mayor for making this a priority,” he said. “[But] if you’re going to seriously look at the Sunnyside Yards, though density works in some places it doesn’t work in others.”

For instance, he said he would oppose high-rise buildings that may be out of character in the neighborhood, which is home to a mix of long-time residents and young families attracted to the proximity to midtown Manhattan.

“The truth is we just don’t know” what the mayor’s specific blueprint is, he said. “We’re just not going to build 30, 40, 50 residential towers in Sunnyside—that’s just not going to happen. That level of density would be wildly out of character with the very low-rise nature of Sunnyside.”

He also said, as local officials skeptical of major housing projects in their districts often do, that the city and state should provide adequate resources to accompany the growth—a school and a new train line, for instance.

“When the 7 train goes down, then all hell breaks loose,” he added, referencing the only subway that serves that area.

Lic Res

Time to move out. Our quality of life will be lowered even further, the 7 train will be unusable, while our cost of living in NY will go up even further. After all, who will subsidize all this?


queens is already bursting at the seams how will all these people
get to work?

and this just adds more congestion to an already congested area


Here’s a solution. Don’t vote for the former communist. Why does NY vote for these wackos? Now we have Al Sharpton running the city, morons.

Patricia Dorfman

“affordable housing” is the new euphemism apparently for “we can ruin your lives without your consent”

•25 years of jobs for people who do not live here

•25 years of noise, dust and traffic for those who do

•100’s of businesses displaced when rents shoot up around the new “city” (as elsewhere in nyc)
•thousands of current residents’ lives permanently disrupted

•permanent congestion

•not one community meeting asking for our opinion

•untold millions of dollars for those who will not suffer

•ignoring courageous local leaders who stood up to him

•ignoring areas of nyc asking for revitalization
this is frightening backroom dealing, with advise from millionaires who do not live here and treats Queens disrespectfully. and is government against the consent of the governed: even you folks who disagree on other things, please sign this petition


cb2 meets this thursday night at 7pm at sunnyside community services, which is between queens blvd and 43rd ave on 39th St. to speak, come early to sign in. there are places to participate and this an important one.

Patricia Dorfman

deblasio said today according to the NYTimes:

“…And here’s one that will be a game-changer when it comes to keeping our city affordable for thousands of New York families: Sunnyside Yards.
Right now, there are 200 acres of land in the heart of Queens, land that exists in the form of a rail yard – and only a rail yard. But the fact is, those tracks could easily exist underground – allowing us to build housing – much of it affordable — above them.
At Sunnyside Yards, we envision a plan that incorporates what diverse and dynamic neighborhoods need — access to transportation, parks, schools, retail stores, and job opportunities. Now 200 acres is a lot of land. We know some parts of this site can easily handle larger buildings… and others can’t. So we’ll work closely with elected officials and community leaders to determine what makes sense.
Our approach is not entirely novel. Developments that prioritize affordability and livability HAVE been built before — from Starrett City to Co-Op City to Stuy Town, to the Big 6 towers in Woodside, Queens.
And these developments created affordability on a grand scale.
Stuy Town, when it opened in 1947 provided our city with 11,250 affordable apartments… a community where trees and parks, and shops dotted a landscape from which residents could actually see the sky.
We’re bringing that same kind of scale — and a real sense of urgency — to Sunnyside Yards…and setting the same exact goal of 11,250 affordable units, as part of a neighborhood that anyone would be proud to call home.
And in contrast to the recent history of Stuy Town, we’re going to make sure that affordable housing at Sunnyside Yards stays that way.
To paraphrase one of my former employers, it takes a village to build a neighborhood. So we look forward to partnering with Amtrak and the MTA in this extraordinary effort at Sunnyside Yards…”

Anonymous visitor

1% (80,000) of the population will benefit of this while 99% will pay for it and our neighbourhoods will sufer. Did State Sen. Gianaris take the 7 yesterday? How did he come home?
#fail If this gets built I’ll move out.


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