Just a day before a controversial affordable housing proposal in Sunnyside, Queens was set to come before the City Council, the developer behind the project has decided to scrap it entirely, the New York Daily News reports. Earlier this year, affordable housing developer Phipps Houses had announced plans to bring 209 apartments to an existing parking lot that it owned at 50-25 Barnett Avenue. The project would have also brought with it a 4,000-square-foot community facility, and 200 parking spots.
The plan had received the backing of the de Blasio administration, with the Mayor in particular pushing for the project to be approved by the City Council, in the past few months . That however was going to be an uphill task from the start due to the strong community opposition to the project.
With the local community board having rejected the proposal, the City Councilman from the area, Jimmy Van Bramer became the face of the opposition, saying that residents were opposed to the height of the building (10-stories at its highest point), and the fact that the rents would be too high (Phipps said the units would be rented to those making between 50 to 130 percent of the area median income).
Though a huge de Blasio-backed affordable housing project in the Bronx recently got City Council approval, the failure of the project in Sunnyside follows that of a similar project in Inwood that the City Council voted against.
"Let's not mince words: this is bad for our city and for working families struggling to pay their rent," a spokesperson for the mayor told the Daily News, about the Sunnyside project. "No community, certainly not one with 7,000 people wait-listed for affordable housing, should lose a development like this."