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New Astoria complex may lure supermarket

Developers have filed to build a mixed-use residential/commercial complex at this intersection near Astoria Houses.
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The large-scale housing complex planned for Astoria has recently filed its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure form, starting a process by which the developers may be able to bring needed commercial space to an isolated part of the neighborhood.

“We look forward to speaking with the community and telling them how much this project will benefit Astoria,” said Andrew Moesel, spokesman for Hallets Point.

The development, set to be built on the Hallets Cove peninsula along the East River on 1st Street and 27th Avenue, was designed to include 2,000 to 2,200 housing units, 80 percent of which would be market rate and 20 percent of which would be affordable housing geared toward seniors, Moesel said.

But interest in this project largely centers on the commercial and community benefits that could come from this mixed-use development. The project also plans to revamp 100,000 square feet of the waterfront along the East River and build retail space with hopes of attracting local businesses.

“We have specifically set aside a large place for a supermarket,” Moesel said. “Outside of that we will let the market decide.”

The area will need to be rezoned before the project is built, necessitating the review.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), who has not taken an official position on the Hallets Point project, said commercial properties are scarce on the peninsula, where many people already live in the Astoria Houses public housing development.

Last week Vallone’s office, the New York City Housing Authority, the western Queens public housing advocacy group East River Development Alliance and City Harvest, a nonprofit whose mission is to deliver food to the hungry, set up a Northwest Queens Mobile Market to bring fresh food to the underserved community.

“I believe that that area absolutely needs development,” Vallone said. “They don’t have any banks. They don’t have any supermarkets.”

Vallone said the Hallets Point project has broad support and other developers are planning to build a similar project, Astoria Cove, adjacent to Hallets Point. Yet he said that while commercial development is needed but unlikely without the residential units, he had concerns about whether Con Edison has the infrastructure to bring those housing units on the grid, where the students would go to school and if more transportation options could be brought to the neighborhood.

“All of those people obviously cannot fit on the N and Q train,” Vallone said, “At the minimum they should be providing ferry service.”

Moesel said the developers were still in discussions but did hope to bring bus or ferry service to the area.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the neighborhood and its representatives to make a project that everyone can benefit from,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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