Representatives from the city Economic Development Corp. were ambitious and optimistic about the future of the Hunters Point South redevelopment as they toured the site Monday.
EDC President Seth Pinsky said demolition of existing structures on the property, including the former Tennisport, is proceeding and he hopes to issue requests for proposals for the first building sometime next year.
“We’d like to get this project under way as quickly as possible,” he said. “I think that though the economic environment certainly had an impact on development, one area where demand has remained very strong has been in the area of affordable housing, so we’re confident that that demand will continue.”
The massive 5,000-unit residential complex will comprise seven buildings across 37.5 acres, with 60 percent of the apartments slated for middle-income households. The project is expected to be done by 2017.
The project has come under fire from affordable housing advocates who have argued that the spectrum of eligible incomes, based on median household income levels of $55,000 to $158,000 per year, are far higher than the median household income in Queens. Critics have cited city Independent Budget Office statistics that showed Queens is home to 23.7 percent of city households earning less than $50,000 per year.
A plan for the site’s 11-acre park was just approved by Community Board 2 with stipulations that it be modified to include natural grass in a large commons area and a boathouse for the launch planned at the end of Second Street. The park would be constructed in two phases, with the active recreation-themed section adjacent to Gantry Plaza State Park slated for completion in the first phase.
Pinsky also downplayed concerns that the new commercial space included in the project would draw traffic away from existing businesses along such bustling strips as Vernon Boulevard.
“You’re going to have 5,000 new apartments here, which will have thousands upon thousands of people here,” he said. “I think there’s going to be more than enough demand for new supply. That’s not a concern of ours.”
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2009 Community News Group
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