Astoria, Real Estate
Jul 20, 2016

Another One Bites the Dust? Astoria Cove and 421-A

The demise of the 421-A tax break does not bode well for the Astoria Cove development on the Astoria waterfront.

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A rendering of Astoria Cove by Studio V.

ICYMI, Astoria Cove, the giant multi-building development on the Astoria waterfront, is pretty much dead now since the 421-A tax break program is kaput. DNAinfo reported:

“A second major affordable housing development touted as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s citywide intitiative is in jeopardy as a result of the state’s 421-a tax break program expiring, the developer told DNAinfo. The builder behind the Astoria Cove development — which would bring some 1,700 apartments, 27 percent of them affordable, to the Hallets peninsula — said without the 421-a a tax break, the project can’t move forward.”

They claim that their project was “conceived with the 421-a in mind,” but interestingly enough an article in the Queens Tribune last year has a quote from our councilman, Costa Constantinides, who says, “All of my conversations with the developer, nothing that we ever discussed was contingent upon them receiving 421-a, that’s why we negotiated the various levels of AMI.” AMI is “Area Median Income.”

That article also talks about the changes Alma Realty (the developer) would have to make some adjustments to their plan, which they did (affordable units went from 20% to 27% of the total development).

“In order for Astoria Cove to be able to receive the 421-a tax break, the developer would need to make modest changes; including increasing the proportion of affordable housing in its building or lower the income rates of the people they plan to serve, according to Norvell. However, the current program lasts up until Jan.1, 2016 making it impossible for Alma to apply.”

In a Queens Tribune article dated January 26, 2016, Alma Realty said that it was “still moving forward and the land will continue to be used for Astoria Cove.” There were rumors at that time that the development would not actually happen

Honestly, it’s hard to know what to believe, but with the scale back of the Hallets Point development from five buildings to one (and a loss of co-generation plants), it’s not surprising that Astoria Cove could fold. If Albany brings 421-A back, though, we could see that little peninsula take on thousands of new residents in the not so distant future, and the arrival of new services (businesses, shops, etc) needed in the area.

How about you—what do you think of the prospect of the Astoria Cove development not being built? Were you hoping to live in one of their units, affordable or not? Let us know what you think.

Demise of 421-a Tax Break Stalls Second Major Housing Development [DNAinfo]
Astoria Cove Misses Requirements for 421-A [Queens Tribune]
The Cost of Modesty: Affordable Housing Coming To Hallets Point, But Will it Kill Astoria Cove? [Queens Tribune]

This post has been edited.

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

2 Comments

Richard Khuzami

The Old Astoria Neighborhood Association asks that petty politics be put aside, and the interests of citizens be prioritized. This effects not only Astoria Cove, but also Hallets Point and numerous smaller development that have been put on hold indefinitely.

Beyond the obvious issue of lack of affordable housing which directly effects all New Yorkers, the delay in renewing the 421a tax abatement has caused our neighborhood to lose:

1. Durst’s Hallets Point on-site power plan which has been abandoned, which will strain an already overtaxed and antiquated local power grid.
2. Neighborhood improvements committed to by the developers of Astoria Cove and Hallets Point during the ULURP process, such as replacement of the rusting seawall railing around Astoria House, improvements to local playgrounds, Whitey Ford Ballfield, local libraries,new schools, and Supermarkets.
3. Economic Development, sorely needed in our neighborhood, which is stagnating. Businesses such as Delicatessens, Building Supplies, transportation, etc all suffer. Developers committed to hiring locally when possible, so there are significant lost wages. Development will be the primary economic driver for the revitalization of the Old Astoria Neighborhood.
4. With the new Ferry service set to start in 2017, We are worried that the lack of a residential base population may make it difficult to justify the service in the future.

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