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Developers to Meet With Community Organizations to Discuss Former Amazon Site

An aerial view of Anable Basin, where Amazon had planned on building new headquarters. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Sept. 18, 2019. By Shane O’Brien

Community organizations in Long Island City will meet with the developers and owners of the sites where Amazon was slated to go next month to discuss how the parcels could be developed to meet neighborhood needs.

Amazon was planning on building expansive corporate offices over a 20-acre mix of publicly and privately owned parcels at Anable Basin, west of Vernon Boulevard and between 44th Road and 46th Avenue, before it withdrew Feb. 14 after being subject to fierce criticism.

What would have been Amazon’s campus footprint in Long Island City (EDC)

The parcels are owned by Plaxall, the plastics manufacturer, which has 12.7 acres of private land surrounding the basin, with the city owning the remaining property.

TF Cornerstone was in the process of developing two city-owned sites where 44th Avenue meets the East River– before the Amazon deal led to those plans being shelved.

Next to the abandoned Amazon headquarters is a five-acre waterfront plot at 44-02 Vernon Blvd., known as Lake Vernon, which is owned by a consortium of investors led by Bruce Teitelbaum and is being developed by L&L Mag. They plan on developing the site and seek to rezone it.

A group of community organizations, led by Brent O’Leary of the Hunters Point Civic Association, sent a letter to Plaxall, TF Cornerstone and L&L Mag at the start of the summer asking to meet with them after the coalition held a series of public sessions to develop a community-led plan for the area.

The community organizations include the Hunters Point Civic Association, Queensbridge Tenant Association, Ravenswood Tenant Association, LIC Coalition, Hunters Point Community Development Corp, Court Square Civic Association, Blissville Civic Association and Justice For All Coalition.

The developers have all agreed to meet.

(Source: WXY architecture + urban design) The Anable Basin Special District, a 15-acre area Plaxall was looking to rezone. The zone included two non-Plaxall properties on Vernon Boulevard.

The coalition of community organizations are calling on the developers to produce one comprehensive plan for the 25-plus acres, as opposed to each property owner filing separate rezoning plans. The organizations want the sites to be developed with one goal, rather than as separate sites with separate aims.

Prior to the Amazon plan, Plaxall was looking to rezone its property. It planned to create the “Anable Basin Special District,” a 15-acre zone that would have made way for eight mixed-use buildings consisting of nearly 5,000 residential units, light manufacturing and retail space.

The city-owned Parcels TF Cornerstone was looking to develop (GMaps)


Meanwhile, TF Cornerstone planned to rezone two city-owned lots as part of a project led by the Economic Development Corporation. The development, dubbed the Long Island City Innovation Center, would have reached 1.75 million square feet, and provided for approximately 1,000 apartments in two towers, a public middle school and park, and office and industrial space.

However, the community groups expressed that they wanted to avoid separate re-zonings over the course of two public meetings they held in April, where neighborhood residents put together their own community-based Request for Proposal (RFP).

The groups raised concerns that segmented planning could divide up the Long Island City community in a detrimental and irreversible manner.

Members of the coalition put together a list of what they believe the community would need should the 20-acres be developed.

They want at least two schools in the area as well as a community center for arts, recreation and public meetings.

The organizations also implore the developers to build truly affordable housing and provide medical facilities, commercial retail space and support for small business development.

In addition, the groups said that the neighborhood needs a continuous, uninterrupted greenway on the waterfront and a flood mitigation system.

O’Leary said that the potential development of the sites on the waterfront represented an amazing opportunity to meet the many needs of the Long Island City community. He also said that the upcoming meetings will offer additional chances for the community to have its voice heard.

“This is the way it should be done,” O’Leary said. “Instead of developers telling us their plans for our neighborhood, the community should express their vision and needs and the developers work within that vision so that the neighborhood develops properly.”

O’Leary said that the RFP the community organizations have compiled has essentially turned the development process upside down. He said that developers normally come to the community with a formulated plan and ask for feedback.

The first meeting will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in the New York Irish Center at 10-40 Jackson Ave. The meeting is being held by the Hunters Point Civic Association. The group’s meetings are open to the public.

Paula Kirby, Managing Director of Plaxall, said that the opportunity to work with the community was one the company welcomed.

“We’ve spent a lot of time over the years talking with the community about our property’s potential for jobs and workforce development, affordable housing and resilient waterfront open space unlike anywhere else in the city,” Kirby said.

“Brent invited us to hear his coalition’s ideas for Anable Basin and we said we’d welcome the opportunity. We’ll be there to listen and are looking forward to it.”

Meetings with TF Cornerstone and L&L Mag will take place later in October, although no specific date has been set.

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29 Comments

Help the Homeless

Thank you, LIC. I am not aware of this planned shelter. I know there is active construction at 11-12; 21-16; 21-30 and 23-15 44th Drive. Which of these locations is planned to be a shelter? or is there another address that i’m not aware? thank you.

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LIC

21-16 44th Drive. It would be nice if there were more news surrounding this site and it’s owners because I don’t believe many in the community are aware. (Maybe LIC Post can research and report) It’s listed under an LLC currently, but the real owners are Amsterdam Hospitality. They’re paid a lot of money by the city to operate unsafe and unsanitary homeless shelters.

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Help the Homeless

We should include a state-of-the-art shelter for the homeless, instead of Continuing the pattern of sheltering this vulnerable population tucked away in industrial zones with absolutely no resources or infrastructure available to them. Let’s turn-the-tide on the pattern the Mayor of NYC has followed with respect to housing this population in hotels and ware-houses transformed into shelters, tucked away in industrial areas, out of the site of the limousine liberals living in million-dollar condos. The effort to shelter people in appropriate locations is a responsibility that all communities in our district should share.

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Help the Homeless

Thank you, LIC. I am not aware of this planned shelter. I know there is active construction at 11-12; 21-16; 21-30 and 23-15 44th Drive. Which of these locations is planned to be a shelter? or is there another address that i’m not aware? thank you.

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Sammy

TF Cornerstone, Tisch and the rest of the NY real estate mafia. Now we know who really was behind the anti Amazon movement. AOC- Gianaris Van Bremmer all just doing their bidding – for which they will be well paid.

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Tell us more about how you hate NY real estate developers, Trump lover

You never vote for one for president would you? lmao

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Sammy

I’m a registered democrat my whole life and never have and never will vote for Trump. I am opposed to real estate developers and their political cronies exploiting my neighborhood- so I must be a Trump supporter? Now I know who the morons are that got Trump elected.

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sammy

I have been a registered Democrat my whole life. I never have and never will vote for Trump. I’m speaking out against the real estate developers and their political cronies who are exploiting my neighbourhood so I must be a Trump supporter? Its this kind of thinking that got him elected. Congratulations! I’m sure he loves you!

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Ian

The City/MTA need to pay for long overdue subway improvements as part of this. Vernon-Jackson is packed.

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Fool the Neighbors Story

These developers are frantic over the money and Amazon deal they lost control of. Now, their story has shifted, This isn’t about “how the parcels could be developed to meet neighborhood needs.” These developers don’t give a rat about the neighborhood. It’s about how to fool the Neighbors to pass re-zoning so they all can make/get their money, get tax abatements, politicians get their re-election money, all the closed door dealings, that is the story = Fool the Neighbors.

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Ed Parkin

There was a good plan agreed upon before Amazon wanted to step in. Now they are eyeing full commercial development and cut out any public facilities from that zone.

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Handed to us on a plate

Schools, green space, community center, retail… did these people even read the Amazon deal? This stuff was handed to us in addition to the infrastructure, thousands of jobs and billions of tax dollars. These organizations helped chase away a once-in-a-lifetime development opportunity without an alternative plan. And now they are listing demands and expect to be served with amenities? This is some entitled BS. We’re going to get a bunch of new high rise condo buildings around Anable Basin regardless of this political theater. And these organizations have no one to blame but themselves.

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Gerald

No union labor, a deal made behind closed doors between the governor and mayor without any checks and balances, and hiring non-New Yorkers to fill most of the positions? I’m glad Amazon didn’t come!!! Thank goodness for democracy

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Alan Haines

What absolute nonsense. $500m subsidies were slated to ensure all construction was union. You blew that. And why would an office building need to have union employees other than maintenance workers? Get real

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Damyanti Radheshwar

A mix-use development for living and working with school and shops, contained and affordable, so people can walk to work and school. This can be a model for new developments in the city and the country. High density can help offset costs for development.

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New Name

Rename the place AOC Plaza. In honor of AOC the Jobkiller. There can be a park named “What ever happened to JVB Park”, named after the soon to be out of office and forgotten, Little Jimmy van Bramer.

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LIC DIRECT

an indoor Recreation center with a ice skating rink, olympic size swimming pool and other sports would be great since the wasted space cube Hunters Point Library sponsored by little man Jimmy “can’t reach the top shelf” Van Bramer has been a money pit, $50 Million dollars and more and an ugly eysore of a building, totally worthless, Have the building turned into a community art center and museum, scrap the Library. Would be nice if the homeless camp out in the new digs once it opens in a safe environment so they can warm up during the cold winter and cool off during the hot summers on the new comfy seating.

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hart

Yes, yes. Let’s put up housing for poor people.
What an energizing concept for a high profile spot.
And exactly the direction the NYT and NYC & Brooklyn developers want for LIC.

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jasmine butler

This is depressing. Amazon would have created a cool, techno campus that would become the trademark of LIC.
We need to work on getting Amazon back. Not working up c string ideas from b string bureaucrats.

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Woe

They should put the new borough jail in Jimmy Van Bramer district as he doesn’t care about queens law abiding citizens, helped kill the Amazon deal instead of having a legitimate business in LIC with their overpriced money laundering condos and drug deals. Yeah, the courthouse will be next to the jail in LIC, common Jimmy are you voting yes for the new jail?

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gagf

Housing would be nice, especially if there is retail on the ground floor.

Whatever they do, I hope they continue the waterfront park.

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