You are reading

Developers of Innovation QNS to Certify Project Monday Despite Council Member Won’s Objections

Members of the Innovation QNS development team from left to right: Jamison Divoll of Silverstein Properties, Bishop Mitchell Taylor of Urban Upbound, Tracey Appelbaum of BedRock Real Estate Partners and Tracy Capune of Kaufman Astoria Studios (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Members of the Innovation QNS development team at a townhall meeting Wednesday from left to right: Jamison Divoll of Silverstein Properties, Bishop Mitchell Taylor of Urban Upbound, Tracey Appelbaum of BedRock Real Estate Partners and Tracy Capune of Kaufman Astoria Studios (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

April 22, 2022 By Christian Murray

A group of developers that aim to rezone five city blocks in Astoria in order to build 2,800 units will certify their plans Monday—in defiance of Council Member Julie Won.

The developers of Innovation QNS said Friday that they will be certifying their plan April 25, which will mark a major step in their quest to rezone the area. Their controversial plan will undergo the six-month-long public review process where it will go before Community Board 1, the borough president, the City Planning Commission—and the City Council for a binding vote.

The decision by the developers to move ahead and certify the project comes on the heels of Won trashing components of the plan as well as their outreach efforts.

Council Member Julie Won (twitter)

She wrote in an op-ed published in the Queens Post Thursday that the project is not ready to be certified. She said the developers had not met their requirements for certification that she set in a letter dated March 8.

The letter called for the developers to hold townhalls and workshops in multiple languages and to engage in greater outreach to increase awareness of the plan. She said that the outreach was vital—particularly given the scale of the plan, which would bring more than a dozen buildings to the area that would range in heights from nine to 27 stories.

Won’s views are pivotal since it will be her vote in the city council that will ultimately determine whether the rezoning application is approved. The city council typically votes in lockstep with the representative where a development is proposed.

If Won rejects it, the rezoning application is almost certain to fail.

The development team­­–consisting of Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silverstein Properties and BedRock Real Estate Partners—issued a statement Friday following Won’s Op-ed.

“After four years of planning, refining the plan based on input from the community and working with City agencies to complete the extensive studies and analysis as required, we believe it is appropriate that the formal review process commence and that the public has an opportunity to be heard,” said Michael Johnston, spokesman for Innovation QNS.

The developers said that they had not been notified by Won that she didn’t want the project to be certified at this time. They did not comment on the op-ed.

The developers held a town hall on Wednesday in response to Won’s March 8 letter calling for townhalls and outreach.

But Won was critical of the townhall and the way it was managed.

In her op-ed, she said that community advocates were initially denied entry after organizers falsely claimed that the event was at full capacity, which she said was not the case. The Queens Post took a video of the incident.

Won said that the translation service was inadequate, and the townhall was held at a time when Muslims were observing Ramadan and Orthodox Christians observing Holy Week.

She said that the developers had shown little consideration for the local community, noting that many small business owners in the area are unaware of the plan.

The op-ed also said that when many people did speak, they called for more affordable housing—not luxury housing.

“I was clear [on March 8] that this project should not certify before aligning with the needs of the community and I stand by that today,” Won wrote. “I laid out a clear path for the developers to show themselves to be good faith partners in this plan, and they have decided to move ahead before meeting any of my requests.”

A rendering of the Innovation QNS plan (Screenshot)

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

City Hall beef: Mayor Adams blasts Comptroller Lander for not traveling to DC to lobby feds for migrant crisis help

Mayor Eric Adams tore into city Comptroller Brad Lander Thursday, criticizing the city’s chief bean counter for not traveling to Washington D.C. to push the feds to provide more migrant crisis support.

During the tirade, Hizzoner said Lander, who’s frequently criticized the mayor’s handling of the migrant crisis, should have already gone to the nation’s capital to advocate for the city to get more funding for the influx — especially since Lander oversees the city’s finances.

Jamaica post office launches initiative aimed to help prevent dog bite attacks against postal workers following release of USPS rankings report

As part of the United States Postal Service (USPS) National Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign, the Jamaica Main Post Office is educating customers on the importance of dog bite prevention. Last year, the neighborhood had four incidents of postal employees being bitten by dogs. 

On Wednesday, June 7, USPS Safety Specialist Giovanni Ortiz distributed fliers with dog bite prevention tips to customers at the post office, located at 88-40 164th St. 

Crook steals backpack from straphanger on Brooklyn-bound L train in Ridgewood

Police from the 104th Precinct and the 33rd Transit District are searching for a crook who robbed a man of his backpack while on a Brooklyn bound L train Wednesday morning. 

Police say the 29-year-old victim was on the northbound L train that was approaching the Halsey Street subway station on the Queens/Brooklyn border at approximately 8:35 a.m. on June 7, when the crook approached the victim, snatched his bag and fled the station. The victim refused medical attention, police said.