Thursday, February 10, 2011

Developer Chosen to Start Long Island City Housing Complex

Hunters Points South is to include nearly 700 low- and moderate-income rental apartments and a 10-acre park.

The Bloomberg administration announced Wednesday morning that it had selected a development team led by Related Companies to build the first phase of a development on the Queens waterfront, which, when completed, will be the largest middle-income complex built since the 1970s.

Related, and its partners — Phipps Houses, the largest nonprofit moderately priced housing operator in the city, and Monadnock Construction, one of the largest builders of such housing — will erect two buildings at what is called Hunters Point South with 908 rental apartments, at least 685 of which will be set aside for working- and middle-class families earning $32,000 to $130,000 a year.

The entire project, which was first announced by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg more than four years ago, will offer subsidized housing for an unusually broad swath of working- and middle-class families. The city has invested heavily in the site, by buying this once industrial stretch of waterfront where Newtown Creek enters the East River for $100 million.

The city will also build a 10-acre park and install the necessary water and sewer lines for the entire site.
The site plan for Hunters Point South. Click to enlarge.NYC Economic Development Corp. The site plan for Hunters Point South. Click to enlarge.

“At Hunter’s Point South,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement Wednesday, “not only will we build the largest affordable housing complex in more than three decades, we’ll do it on a long-vacant waterfront property that has incredible views and sits adjacent to one of New York City’s fastest growing neighborhoods.”

The project has been a long time coming. Years ago, the Bloomberg administration wanted to use the land to build housing for athletes as part of its ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2012 Olympics; after the Olympics, the housing would have been converted to apartments.

As developers and investors continued to buy up much of the city’s stock of housing for poor and working-class families, Mr. Bloomberg announced plans to build 5,000 units of middle-income housing on the site.

Site plan, click to enlarge.
Stephen M. Ross, chief executive of Related Companies, at first hoped to persuade the Real Estate Board of New York, the powerful lobbying arm of the real estate industry, to build it on a nonprofit basis. But Mr. Ross, who then headed the board, had trouble persuading his fellow developers to take it on, and the city was reluctant to turn the site over to a single entity.

“This is something I believe in passionately,” Mr. Ross said. “To succeed and prosper, the city has to build work-force housing. It can’t be the most expensive city to live and work in. But there haven’t been any middle-income housing programs for the past 20 years.”

Rival developers complained privately that the city was likely to favor Mr. Ross because of his close ties to the Bloomberg administration. City officials went to great lengths to explain why the Related team was chosen.

Rafael E. Cestero, the city’s housing commissioner, said that Related-Phipps-Monadnock had submitted the lowest cost bid and adhered most closely to the city’s design guidelines. Indeed, the group was the only one, he said, that offered to build all the apartments for poor, working- and middle-class families.

At this point, Mr. Cestero said 75 percent of the units would be subsidized with a $50 million grant from the city, with the remaining units leased at market rates. The Related proposal is a victory of sorts for the city, which was hoping for at least 60 percent of the units to be moderately priced. The city plans to begin building the water and sewer lines next month, along with the first section of a 10-acre park. Construction of the two apartment buildings will not begin until June 2012.

“It’s exciting,” said Councilman James Van Bramer, who represents the neighborhood. “The Hunters Point project will bring us an incredible park, a new school, new retail and some affordable housing.”


  1. What is the dollar value of the Project, the duration from NTP to Final Acceptance & what kind of man-hours can the Council anticipate for the members?

  2. This information has helped me to know more about the middle-income complex for an apartment and their problems.


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