Aug. 13, 2021 By Christian Murray
A developer’s application to rezone a large piece of property on Roosevelt Avenue received the blessing of the Queens Borough President last month and the project’s fate is expected to be determined by the city council in October.
The application calls for the development of a 13 story, 213 unit complex—including 54 affordable units—on Roosevelt Avenue between 62nd and 63rd Streets. About 10 stores along the avenue will have to be bulldozed to make way for the project.
The project was approved by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards on July 20, about six weeks after Community Board 2 voted in favor of the project, 30-5, on June 3.
The developer seeks to construct a 211,500 square foot building that would also include 7,500 square feet of space dedicated to arts groups—in addition to the affordable housing.
Without a rezoning, the building would be limited in size to 119,500 square feet (nine stories)—and only 123 units could be built. The developer, however, would not be required to provide affordable housing or offer art space.
Richards came out in favor of the project, subject to a number of commitments from the developer that Community Board 2 also sought.
He called on the developer, Woodside 63 Management LLC, to provide family sized units and to make sure that the 54 “affordable units” are offered to households earning an average Area Median Income of 60 percent. This equates to a household income of $68,220 for a family of four.
The developer pledged to meet the income requirements, and plans to offer the affordable units at a range of tiers—40 percent, 60 percent and 80 percent AMI—to achieve the 60 percent average.
Woodside 63 also agreed to meet other requirements that Community Board 2 and the borough president called for. These include adding electric vehicle charging stations; providing space for car-sharing vehicles; supporting the tenants in the existing Roosevelt Avenue space; using union labor; and conducting outreach to minority and women-owned businesses.
The developer is now in the process of presenting the plans to the City Planning Commission which is schedule to vote on them on Sept. 1.
From there, the plans will be referred to the City Council in late September. There will be a public hearing before the City’s Zoning Subcommittee on Sept 23, with a full council vote expected in late October. If the plan is approved by the council, the application will be granted.
The project’s fate will largely be determined by Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the district where the development is proposed.
The council typically votes in lockstep with the council member who represents the area where a zoning application is sought.
Van Bramer did not say how he would vote on the project.
“I am taking a close look at the project but I do recognize that Community Board 2 and Borough President Richards voted to support the plan,” Van Bramer said.
He said he would focus heavily on the affordable housing component of the plan when reviewing it.
“I always want to see more affordability,” Van Bramer said.
Van Bramer did not weigh in on the scale of the development. He did say he was pleased that union jobs would be created if the project moved forward.