March 16, 2021 By Christina Santucci
The public will get an opportunity next week to weigh in on a developer’s proposal to build a 1-million-square-foot complex – with 1,400 apartments – on the Halletts Point peninsula in Astoria.
The Department of City Planning is holding a virtual public scoping meeting, where attendees can make comments about the planned development – called “Halletts North.” The meeting is scheduled to take place Monday, March 22 from 2:00 p.m. until 5 p.m.
The Halletts North project is planned to go up just a block away from the Durst Organization’s massive Halletts Point project. Both projects are by the East River, near Astoria Houses.
The developers behind the Halletts North project need a series of zoning changes as they look to transform the existing 3.8-acre industrial site at 3-15 26th Avenue into a giant apartment complex.
The development would consist of three residential towers – one 22 stories, another 31 stories and a third 35 stories, according to an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) filed with City Planning last month by Astoria Owners LLC.
More than 300 of the estimated 1,400 units would be set aside for affordable housing. The project would also include 3,600 square feet of retail space, a 9,700-square-foot community facility and a 525-space parking garage, the EIS stated.
The project, which is being designed by Studio V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop, would also transform 40,000 square feet of industrial space into a public waterfront promenade, which would be accessible through a new road at 3rd Street.
The developers touted the promenade as a way to connect one of the last stretches of previously inaccessible waterfront with the rest of the peninsula.
“For too long, this site blocked families from accessing and enjoying the waterfront,” said Jim Hedden, a representative of the development team, in a statement. “Now, we look forward not only to connecting our Halletts Point neighbors with this resource, but to creating new economic, educational and environmental opportunities and revitalizing a disused portion of our shoreline.”
The developers estimate that the project would create 500 jobs. They are also working with the nonprofit Urban Upbound to set up an on-site job incubator at the complex. The incubator would focus on supporting neighborhood small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as on job training and placement.
“This is the kind of forward-thinking equitable investment that is so needed right now not just for the residents of Astoria Houses and Halletts Point, but across Queens and New York City,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, co-founder and CEO at Urban Upbound, in a statement.
The Halletts North proposal is expected to undergo the public review (ULURP) process later this year, and if approved, construction could begin in the second half of 2022.
The developers are seeking several zoning changes for their project site, as well as on an adjacent site at 3-17 26th Avenue. The proposed rezoning would be from M1-1 to R7-3/C2-4, which would allow the entire area to be used for residential purposes and permit a wider range of commercial uses.
The project’s owners would be required to set aside a portion of the apartment units for affordable housing—in accordance with the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) guidelines.
The sites were previously used by Astoria Steel, and the development company said that it has spent $16 million to clean up the land.
The work, according to Astoria Owners LLC, included the excavation of 8,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and the demolition of deteriorated structures.
The Department of Environmental Conservation’s website indicates that the remediation of the site was completed in December 2019.
Information about who is behind Astoria Owners LLC was not readily available, but the Real Deal reported that developer Boris Aronov had bought the site for $26.5 million in 2014.
Meanwhile, the status of nearby Halletts Point remains unclear. Although the Durst Organization completed its first of seven proposed buildings in 2019, construction on the development has since been suspended, the Real Deal reported in August.