Developer Alma Realty's long-in-the-works plan to build a 1,700-unit mixed-use project along the Astoria waterfront has earned many opponents along its path to approval. Some want more transit to the East River-bordering area; some want more schools; some want union labor to be used; but the most vocal critics say that the project needs to include more affordable housing than the 20 percent green-lit by the City Planning Commission. The City Council's zoning committee is sure to hear from all of these folks today as it considers whether to deliver its own OK, in the second-to-last hurdle of the city's ULURP process. (The last is the full council's verdict, which typically follows whatever the zoning committee decides.)
Affordable housing is by far the most prominent issue, brought to the fore by a group of protesters this weekend. Though they're based in another borough, tenants and elected officials in Crown Heights, where Alma operates 700 mostly-rent-stabilized apartments that used to be part of the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, rallied against rent hikes, with City Council members vowing to push Alma to up their affordable-housing game at Astoria Cove, too.
The connection between the situation at Astoria Cove and the issues that Crown Heights tenants are facing with the possible deregulation of stabilized units and the rent raises that follow are connected by two things: the developer, and the issue of affordability. Astoria Cove's presentation before the Council today, which means Alma Realty is already in the news, meant there was a convenient time peg for Crown Heights denizens to to make their voices heard. Stay tuned.
· Protesters Link a Queens Project to Brooklyn Rents [NYT]
· Officials Threaten Astoria Cove Project Over Brooklyn Rent Fight [DNAinfo]
· City officials and real-estate company battle over rent hike [NYP]
· The Jewish Hospital Apartment Complex Goes Market Rate [Brooklynian]
· All Astoria Cove coverage [Curbed]