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Developers Unveil Big Plans for LIC Waterfront, Up to 12 Million Square Feet Planned

A rendering of Hunters Point including the development plan (YourLIC)

May 21, 2020 By Christian Murray

A group of developers looking to build on a 28-acre section of land surrounding Anable Basin provided an overview of their plans at a Community Board 2 Land Use Meeting Wednesday night.

The developers announced that they are looking to build 10-to-12 million square feet of space on the 28-acre area with buildings that range in height from 400 to 700 square feet, the equivalent of 30 to 60 story structures.

The plan would focus heavily on commercial space, and the project would be developed over a 10 to 15 year period. The developers aim to get the property rezoned next year.

The plan includes 7 acres of open space, space for three schools and ½ million square feet for arts and cultural space and similar uses. The plan would also include a pedestrian/bicyclist bridge over Anable Basin that would connect 5th Street on both sides of the water.

The developers said that about 50 percent of the 10-12 million square feet would be for commercial use. The proposal would also include mixed-income housing, although the number of units was not disclosed at the meeting.

The plan–presented by a development team consisting of TF Cornerstone, Plaxall, Simon Baron Development and MAG Partners—incorporates the sites where Amazon HQ2 was slated to be built as well as some adjacent parcels.

The developers—with the exception of TF Cornerstone—each own a portion of the 28 acre area. TF Cornerstone is looking to develop two city-owned lots on 44th Drive, which are part of the 28-acre area.

A map of the 28-acre area (Rendering: YourLIC)

The group came together last year at the request of the city council, which called for the developers to come up with one unified rezoning plan for the area as opposed to each having a separate concept for their own property.

The developers formed YourLIC and have hosted four workshops since November to solicit feedback from residents covering topics such as economic empowerment to open space. A fifth workshop was postponed due to COVID-19.

“We want to create a true mixed-use district with all the community resources needed to make it a place to live, work, play and thrive,” said Paula Kirby, managing director of Plaxall, whose family has operated a plastics factory and owned property in Long Island City for 70 years.

The developers said the project provides Queens with the opportunity to develop an economic engine at a time when New York City—and the borough especially—has taken a financial hit. They said it would generate a significant number of high-paying jobs.

The development team said that the scale and height of their buildings would also be in context with other Long Island City districts–such as Court Square and Hunters Point South.

“We believe this is appropriate for this location,” said Eleanora Bershadskaya, a Senior Associate at TF Cornerstone.

TF Cornerstone, she said, is developing parcel C at Hunters Point South, with one of its two towers reaching 550 feet.

Furthermore, the properties in the Court Square section of Long Island City are of a similar size. For instance, One Court Square—also known as the Citigroup Building–is 50 stories tall and about 670 feet tall. The Skyline Tower, which is going up at 23-15 44th Dr., will be 778 feet high and 68 stories.

The developers were asked about the scale and density of the plans given the pandemic. They said that they are planning for the long term and that there will be demand.

“We think density makes New York City great and we remain committed to that,” said Ashley Cotton, with MAG Partners. “We think immigrants, young people, professionals and college grads will continue to come here.”

The group went into detail about the open space, noting that it would provide a connection to Hunters Point South and sets the stage for a corridor that could eventually go to Queensbridge.

The plans call for a junior soccer field, a tot lot and a track at the northern section. Then farther south, provisions are made for a plaza, esplanade, kayak launch and more.

A map of the proposed open space (YourLIC)

Kenny Greenberg, a member of the Land Use Committee, asked why the city-owned sites on 44th Drive were not being exclusively used for public use. He noted that community activists and elected officials—such as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney—have called for the city-owned parcels to be used for a public purpose.

Bershadskaya, with TF Cornerstone, said that the developer has taken into consideration what has been said and changes have been made.

The initial plans for the parcels– that were put out as an RFP by the Economic Development Corp– called for 1,000 residential units along with commercial space and various amenities.

The sites, Bershadskaya said, will no longer be used for residential purposes. The sites will be for commercial use only and will include public space and a public school.

“We are committed to public amenities,” she said. “This feedback hasn’t fallen on deaf ears.”

Anable Basin (YourLIC)

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20 Comments

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John Thomson

While this is good, how much more foolish do the people who negatively impacted Amazon not coming to LIC look after seeing Amazons significant success from their ability to provide a real need during the Pandemic.

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Robert White

These developers are ruining the neighborhood by overloading it with horrible buildings and the skyrocketing amount of people that will be crowded into a small parcel of land. What about transportation? How do they expect the subways to maintain all of this. They should be stopped and I will call on all my Queens representatives to block this greedy venture.

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Hector

The 5th street footbridge is a great idea

Everything else in this plan sucks

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Steven T

Given that many companies are right now taking a very close look at downsizing their commercial footprint by having at least part of their workforce telecommute in the post-pandemic economy, I’m not sure NYC needs an additional 12 million sq. ft. of commercial office space. I hope this developer has a Plan B. And it would also be nice if any plan included some cultural amenities as was done at Hudson Yards.

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Anon

Have they learned nothing from this pandemic? Density is not good. I agree with another commenter- we need a hospital.

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COCED

Simple math: 26 units – 8 parking spaces = 18 cars left to look every day for parking in the neighborhood where parking is almost impossible to find. These “developers” have a very strange vision, to put it mildly.

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coced

So often, if not always, we describe NY as “great”. It could be for the lack of other adjectives in our vocabulary. Is it a comfortable city in terms of transit? No. Does it have a lot of green spaces, public parks, wide boulevards? No. Is it very clean? No. Do we have interesting architectural projects anywhere in the city except, maybe, in Manhattan? No. Public schools? NO. Comfortable for people with modest means? No. The list goes on and on. But it’s great for opportunity to earn a buck or two, and every politician from lowest to the mayor has the attitude and delusions of grandeur. that’s probably the only reason..

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dave

what are they going to charge $50 for 6 hours of parking just because my HS buddy has a great job and i have some mobility problems and cant take mass transit but i can drive from Long island???

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LIC Direct

City won’t develop public land into parks and much less now that they are broke. Public land should be turned into a park, Green Space, with a recreation center, indoor swimming pool, ice skating rink, bowling allies, a mini Chelsea piers in LIC, with a concourse with food stalls, restaurants, bars all phased in within 3 to 5 years once this COVID19 blows over. It would revitalize the area, create jobs, and be open to the public, like world ice arena in Flushing.

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rgs sunnyside

and meanwhile we’re still stuck with no improvements to the 7 covid express.. infrastructure infrastructure is all i can say!

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Not surprised

Epic Fail.

What happened to the light industrial space for actual maker space? Didn’t we learn anything from covid? Everything this city needs can’t always be made somewhere else!

50% for commercial means basically retail on street levels of the apt towers and the other towers will be hotels, which will be converted to homeless shelters. So only minimum wage job creation. Just more cash cows for the “non-profits” warehousing the homeless.

3,000+ units of overpriced apts will still drive up rental rates in the area and clog the already stressed transit. So we basically get all of the problems of the Amazon proposal without any of the higher-paying jobs to cycle money into the local economy.

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JaimeB

Gosh, New York City sure could use that Amazon HQ2, the 25,000+ jobs, and the billions in extra tax dollars right about now. Great work, AOC & Company.

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Bill

Still no plans for a real hospital in western Queens? What we really need are more condos and office space. I’m glad these developers have the vision to fill the needs of the area.

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fuelgrannie

it was never made clear by the nycedc (the city’s economic development corporation, a taxpayer-funded public benefit corp) why (or even how) the nycedc managed to *gift* public city land to tf cornerstone, with no input from the public itself; apparently, there was “a contest” at some point and tf cornerstone “won” the land, despite it being public city property. those two lots of land, one used by the dot, and the other, the notorious bleached yellow board of education building which amazon was going to use, belong to the public, not to the nycedc, and yet somehow the edc has the authority to hand over that city land (at what: the price tag of $1 apiece?) to wealthy developers who did nothing to “earn” that public city land. nyc residents can’t trust the edc, even though our tax dollars fund it and pay the salary for every one of its 500 employees. those two public lots of land belong to queens residents: they are not be *donated* to real estate developers by a taxpayer funded city entity; they belong to city residents, not fat cat bureaucrats.

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Dennis Mathews

So surprising to hear that developers believe “density is what makes New York City great”. Have you ever heard a more self serving statement ?

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gag

Density does make NYC great though. If you don’t like it move to a farm somewhere.

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Orianna

The public land in this area should remain public. Time for a Western Queens Community Land Trust.

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Larry Penner

Record construction in Long Island City has not been accompanied by any significant increase in transit capacity to accommodate thousands of new residents. The same is true for thousands more who commute from other neighborhoods to jobs in LIC.

There are opportunities to increase capacity and service by running trains more frequently mid-day, evenings, overnight and weekends on the #7 line. Until the 1980’s, there was Manhattan bound express service till 12:30 PM. Flushing bound express service began after 1 PM. There has been no express service between 10 AM and 3 PM due to periodic ongoing track, power, signal, and routine maintenance projects for decades.

There are opportunities to increase capacity and service by running trains more frequently mid-day, evenings, overnight and weekends for both the #7 and G subway lines. There is always equipment used primarily for rush hour peak service that is available to provide additional service during off peak hours. It is a question of finding millions of dollars more to cover operating costs for additional service.

Why not extend 8 of 14 Long Island Rail Road trains currently terminating at Hunters Point during AM rush hour to LIC? Turn trains around to provide reverse commuter service. In the PM rush hour, start 7 of 12 trains from LIC instead of Hunters Point. Establish new off peak, mid day and evening service between LIC and Jamaica.

New ferry services will be able to accommodate only so many riders. In many cases, a majority of new residents and employees will need the subway rather than the ferry to access employment, educational, medical and entertainment opportunities in Manhattan and other boroughs. The continued economic success of new business coming to LIC is dependent upon not only additional transportation capacity, but capital improvements to sewer, water, electrical and utility assets as well. Municipal fire, police and sanitation services will also have to be expanded. What is the cost and who will pay for all these additional capital improvements and services?

(Larry Penner — transportation advocate, historian and writer who previously worked 31 years for the Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.)

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