Astoria, Real Estate
Jul 13, 2016

Victim of the Changing Real Estate Landscape – No Co-Generation for Astoria

The Hallets Point development, now down one building from five, will not be building a co-generation plant in the building after all.

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Rendering via Studio V Architecture

It’s very easy to take sides in NYC’s real estate scene. You might see developers as dirty, rotten scoundrels or perhaps you see them as a positive—even necessary element; or maybe you’re neutral with the mindset that they are just part of inevitable changes that happen in a big city like New York City. Regardless of your stance, it’s understandable to be disappointed in this latest news from the Durst Organization—no co-generation plants will be built in the Hallets Point development.

Politico reported on this, first reminding us that “the Dursts drastically reduced the scope of their once-$1.5 billion, more-than-2,000-unit Hallets Point plan.” Originally they were going to build five buildings; now it’s just one 400-unit building (and now only 80 below-market rate apartments) in the plans for the peninsula. The Dursts credit the expiration of tax incentive 421-a as the reason behind their decision to build less in the area. Politico says the incentive, “expired earlier this year after developers were unable to reach an agreement with construction unions on wage requirements.”

One of the big concerns about building in this area—or really anywhere in Astoria—is the stress thousands of new residents would put on services and utilities. Anyone who was around in 2006 no doubt remembers the week-long blackout because ConEd didn’t have enough juice to satisfy all the cooling needs during that hot summer. And I do not think this is an unreasonable concern, frankly. A co-generation plant allows a building to create its own power and “can operate independent of utilities like Con Edison.” It’s a great solution to a serious problem (thanks, climate change).

I first heard about co-generation in this Habitat article from 2012. The American co-op in Little Neck had a big problem with oil leaking out of a cracked storage tank, which made its way into the ground (but not out to Little Neck Bay, thank goodness). This unpleasant situation made them realize they needed to make some changes, and a co-generation plant—which produces both heat and electricity from a single power source—seemed like the solution. Co-op members paid a bit more up front, but in the end they reduced their power costs by 85%. Pretty sweet.

So, the Dursts will build their one building, leaving out the ones that would have housed the three co-generation plants. Apparently it was too expensive for them. They’ll build a central chiller plant instead.

Developer cites demise of tax incentive in abandoning off-grid Astoria plan [Politico]

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.

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