Nov. 29, 2017 By Christian Murray
Representatives of the Economic Development Corp. and TF Cornerstone came under fire at Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee meeting earlier this month about their plan to build 1,000 residential units along with commercial space on two city-owned lots where 44th Drive meets the East River.
The development, which stems from the EDC putting out an RFP in 2016, would bring 1,000 units–250 of which would be deemed affordable– a school, 500,000 square feet of commercial and industrial space, and an acre of public space.
TF Cornerstone was selected in July to construct the project. TF Cornerstone and the EDC need the site to be rezoned in order for the development to proceed.
The committee took exception that only 25 percent of the units would be affordable given that the development is going up on city-owned land.
“This is completely unacceptable,” said Lisa Deller, chair of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee. “You have to understand that we are looking for economic diversity. This is city-owned land, it is our land…and if it is not 100 percent affordable it should be 50 percent affordable to people with modest means.”
She said that the EDC doesn’t seem to be hearing what the community wants. “We have plenty of luxury units on the waterfront, we have not been asking for more,” she said.
Kenny Greenberg, a Land Use committee member, questioned the mission of the EDC. “Something called the economic development corporation should be supporting the existing community not imposing more real estate from the outside. It’s economic development for who?”
Eleni Bourinaris, the Queens Borough Director for the EDC, said that affordable housing is just one component of the many benefits the project would bring to the community. She said the commercial and industrial space would bring jobs and help maintain the manufacturing base of the area. The EDC anticipates the project would create 1,500 permanent jobs.
She said that there would be 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space, of which 50,000 square feet would be affordable. The development includes 400,000 square feet of office space, a school and an acre of public space.
The proposed development would go on two parcels: 5-40 44th Drive, which is currently the Department of Transportation facility, and across the street at 4-99 44th Drive, which includes a city-owned parking lot and the former Water’s Edge restaurant, which would be demolished.
John McMillan, director of planning for TF Cornerstone, told the committee that the developer is not just getting two parcels handed to it.
For instance, he said, TF Cornerstone is required to relocate the existing DOT facility, which requires buying a site and constructing a whole building. He said that it could cost more than $50 million.
Furthermore, apart from the provisions of a school and public space, TF Cornerstone has to rebuild a platform where the public space now lies—since it is falling into the East River.
Nevertheless, the plan is likely to face a great deal of community resistance as the EDC and TF Cornerstone try to get the property rezoned.
“There is going to be a huge, huge pushback through any public process as this goes forward about open space and affordability. We are the more rational and composed proponents of affordability,” O’Brien told Bourinaris. “This message really needs to be driven home substantially; it need to go up to a level that something is done about it.”
Deller said that the EDC should reevaluate the plan before going through ULURP rezoning process, which McMillan said that they would start at the end of 2018.
“If we say no, the borough president and councilperson says no—it would cause you to rethink the goal of the project… so why not do it now.”
MRLIC-We know you hate overdevelopment, DUMBlasio and VanLamer already. You’re just as repetitious as MRIRONY. Say something different
I am in favor of large scale developments but I am against this phony “affordable” bs. If you are going to make “affordable” units, there should be some extreme vetting, in the words of the Donald. Right now there are some very wealthy people cheating the system. There needs to be much harsher penalties for people who lie. Jail time.
Nice! -23 votes in 20 minutes. The creeper strikes again! Don’t be cheap, more please! What do they cost? 1,000 votes for $10? You must be so proud.
The Mayor and JVB will make it happen
This entire street was under water during Sandy, all the way up past Vernon.
They literally want to build high rises on property that is going to be under water in 100 years.
That’s why they have to build it so high
The boiler room and all the mechanics of the building have been raised to higher floors in all new waterfront construction. If a flood happens, things will get wet but won’t wreak havoc. TFC had some building affected during Sandy such as 2 Gold Street. I am pretty sure that 4545 Center Blvd is the first new building constructed on the waterfront since Sandy with these new guidelines in place.
I see the developers and Real Estate people have been hitting the dislike buttons on myself & Anonymous.
1. Tens of busy development executives are in a grand conspiracy to downvote comments on a local message board
2. You make terrible pointless comments
I guess either is possible
I am not the only one who mentioned the RE people and developers hitting he dislike buttons.It has been mentioned before by others.
It is the work of some seriously disturbed individual that frequents this site. Troll fun. There are actually companies that sell votes in bulk. Not kidding. Google it. Watch, I bet I will get 40 something negative votes any minute now.
I think the the EDC and TF Cornerstone should be sent packing myself.
Trump (the greedy real estate developer you voted for) nominated Stephen Akard, a former Indiana EDC executive, to serve as director general of the Foreign Service. He’s in bed with all the developers you pretend to loathe. What a sad hypocrite.
MRIRONY-We know you hate Trump already. If I was the only one who voted for him he wouldn’t have won. Get over it already. The EDC was also hurting New Yorkers before Mr. Akard got there I;m sure. King Bloomberg used the EDC to ruin NYC with Luxury Development. He is mostly to blame. Vent on all the people who voted for King Bloomberg. I never voted for him.
The best you can do is a whataboutism about our our mayor from 4 years ago? Trump is the CURRENT president and is helping all his fellow greedy developers get rich at our expense. Since you voted for him you don’t get to complain about it.
Enough already! I’m so tired of these greedy luxury condo developers having so much power. That’s why I voted for the greediest luxury condo developer for president. Well, that and he told me that Hillary was going to let brown people into the US and I’m afraid of them.
well JVB just loves the money in his pockets that is for sure –