Coalition seeks affordable housing and work in Astoria
by Jess Berry
Jul 23, 2014 | 664 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Yet another housing development is in the works in Astoria, and once again, the outlook for affordable housing is bleak.

Last week, the citywide Real Affordability for All Coalition rallied outside of Queens Borough Hall for 50 percent real affordable housing options in the proposed 1,700-unit Astoria Cove, a 2.2 million-square-foot project that would also include retail space, a supermarket, and park and space for a school.

The rally happened just before a public hearing held by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

The coordinator of the coalition, Jaron Benjamin, said that the group’s goal was to secure housing that is built by and for New Yorkers with “real community benefit.”

“We want to make sure that anything that’s getting built in Astoria is for people of Astoria,” Benjamin said. “That the buildings that go up are affordable for the majority of people that live here, that they go up using good union labor, so creating good jobs, and that it’s not done in a reckless way.”

Katz expressed concerns over the number of affordable housing units before the hearing on Thursday, and Alma Realty tried to appease her by offering 345 affordable units. Last year they had proposed 340.

The number brings the number of affordable units up to 20 percent, which falls far below the 50/50 model proposed by the Real Affordability for All Coalition, and also does not match the 35 percent ratio proposed by Community Board 1.

Alma Realty did not respond to multiple calls for comment.

Borough President Katz will issue her recommendation for the development by July 31, and then it will go before the City Planning Commission and ultimately the City Council.

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