Last week it was revealed that the Astoria Cove project would not be moving forward at present with the developers citing the absence of the 421-a tax break program to make the megaproject feasible. But an investigation into the development this week by Politico hints that it might actually have more to do with a lack of overall financing for the project.
Of the planned 1,723 units developer Alma Realty was planning to bring to the site, about 27 percent or 459 apartments would have been affordable. This, other developers told Politico did not make any financial sense. In addition, the cost of the project was bound to skyrocket due to the developer agreeing to pay union wages for construction.
The project was given the all clear by the New York City Council in November 2014, and at that point the 421-a program was still in use. The developer did not secure the tax break even before the program was initially supposed to expire in the summer of 2015, nor by the start of this year when it officially expired.
Developers are only able to secure the break once they show there is some progress towards that particular project, and in this case Politico has deduced that the developers were likely unable to get the adequate funds to move forward. The publication had previously reported that the developer would not have qualified for a revised version of the tax break program put forth by the de Blasio administration that was ultimately rejected, due to revised housing requirements.
UPDATE: John Mavroudis, the principal of 2030 Astoria Developers issued the following statement to Curbed:
"The Astoria Cove project will bring to this community much needed infrastructure, housing, retail, jobs, economic development, along with a world-class waterfront esplanade and much discussed public ferry service to connect this previously isolated neighborhood to the rest of the city. It is an excellent project for the city and the surrounding community. Projects like this were conceived with the 421-a in mind and we rely on its reauthorization in order to move ahead."
- Astoria Cove project stalled over shaky finances, not expired subsidy [Politico]
- Another Astoria Megaproject Stalls Following the Lapse of 421-a [Curbed]