July 16, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Assemblymember Catherine Nolan is demanding that the city put a stop on new building construction in Long Island City following recent news of a developer securing a half-billion-dollar loan to build what will stand as Queens’ largest tower to date.
The proposed 67-story condo-project at 23-14 44th Dr., in the works since 2016 and with construction beginning last year, came into the spotlight yet again just last week, when the Wall Street Journal reported that the developer had secured a $502 million construction loan for the massive $700 million project.
With the loan, Chris Jiashu Xu, the developer, will be able to build out the 780 foot, 802-unit “Court Square City View Tower” by 2022, the WSJ reported, with LIC’s Modern Spaces in charge of marketing.
But Nolan, who released a statement on the project this afternoon, said the tower is “another illustration of the inadequacy of the current zoning in Long Island City.”
“I have written numerous letters opposing such large towers and asked for changes in zoning,” Nolan said.
She claims that City Planning’s LIC Core Study, a neighborhood study that could lead to a rezoning, has been “put on hold,” while as of right towers continue to spring up in the community.
The Department of City Planning, however, said the city is working on the core study.
“Over the past two years, DCP has held 17 outreach sessions on the LIC Core Study, enabling the City to gather feedback from residents and other stakeholders about their neighborhood. The City is evaluating this, and a larger strategic approach for the future of Long Island City.”
Still, Nolan recalled a recent effort by the city to trade off its air rights in exchange for affordable units in a private Long Island City development, which had the added effect of boosting the size and volume of the project three-fold.
“LIC is facing an emergency situation,” she said. “Therefore, I ask for a moratorium on any new Buildings Department permits for new construction in Long Island City until the city can present a plan for properly increasing the infrastructure.”
The letter follows a series of statements made by Nolan on the state of development in Long Island City. Back in February, for example, she bashed a city proposal to develop two towers on publicly owned land on 44th Drive, and is also part of a group of Assemblymembers who pushed back against a plan to eliminate a cap on zoning allowances for building height in New York state.
The development, while in the works since 2016, is also under construction at a time when the city is preparing to submit its plans for 44th Drive for public review, and also as Plaxall, the plastics manufacturing company, recently announced plans to bring 5,000 units to the waterfront around 44th and 45th Drive. Both plans have alarmed many residents in recent months.
In addition, the Queens Plaza area is also set to see the Durst Organization’s 70-story, 710-foot tower, which will be completed in Spring 2021.