Feb. 9, 2022 By Christian Murray
Several large sites in western Queens are slated for redevelopment and Council Member Julie Won wants the chair of the City Council’s Land Use Committee to become familiar with these properties.
Won took Council Member Rafael Salamanca, the chair of the Land Use Committee, on a tour of two areas within the 26th Council District that are likely to be developed and go through the lengthy rezoning process.
The first sites were by Anable Basin in Long Island City, where the Amazon headquarters was proposed to go. The greater Anable Basin area includes approximately 28-acres of land that is owned by Plaxall, Simon Baron Development, MAG Partners and New York City.
She then took Salamanca to the 5-block area in Long Island City dubbed Innovation QNS, where a 2,700-unit mega development is proposed to go up by Northern Boulevard to the east, 35th Ave to the north, 37th street to the west, and 36th avenue to the south.
There has been no movement in terms of the development of the sites by Anable Basin. However, the Innovation QNS development is likely to undergo the public review process later this year.
Won wants Salamanca, who represents the 17th District in the South Bronx, to be aware of the sites, since he presides over the committee that hears all rezoning applications as they go through the public review process known as the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP).
She noted that the 26th Council District is being developed at a rapid pace and said that she wants to protect residents from being priced out when it came to rezonings.
“I am working toward a future that does not price out my neighbors and replace them but works with them to create equitable housing opportunities and high-quality public spaces for everyone. We need to ensure that future development in District 26 involves everyone in our community and is inclusive of long-term working-class residents” Won said.
Won said that major development comes with steep costs and impacts. She said that she is committed to development that reflects the needs of the district and provides more equitable housing that is deeply affordable.
She said that rents have jumped in the past year and that large-scale luxury developments are pricing out many long-term residents and working-class immigrant families.
The average one bedroom apartment in Long Island City, for instance, fetched $3,657 in January 2022, up from $2,799 in January 2021, according to a report released by M.N.S. Real Estate.
“I’m grateful that Chair Salamanca took the time to walk the streets of our neighborhoods. He witnessed firsthand the needs of our district and the richness of each corner that makes Astoria and Anable Basin what it is today. We look forward to a strong partnership that will create equity and dignified, affordable housing in our communities.”
Salamanca, who said that he has approved 7,000 units of affordable housing in his district, stated that he believes in “responsible, pro-community development.”
‘As Chair of the Committee on Land Use, I value my role in helping my colleagues negotiate projects in their districts that truly speaks to the needs of their communities. To understand the needs of a community is to experience the local vibrancy and culture firsthand. I thank Council Member Won for inviting me to her district,and look forward to working with her in the immediate future.”