A longtime Long Island City property owner is seeking a waterfront rezoning that will allow it to bring a 5.8 million gross square foot mixed-use development to the area surrounding Anable Basin, just north of the Hunter’s Point South redevelopment.
Under the proposal by Plaxall Realty, 14.7 acres would be rezoned to accommodate 5,000 condos and rentals, 335,000 square feet of creative production and light manufacturing space, 3.1 acres of public waterfront esplanade, and up to 30,000 square feet of community space. It would also bring a 700-plus seat public school to the neighborhood, outside of the rezoning area.
The project is the second major development to be proposed for the area surrounding Anable Basin this year. In July, TF Cornerstone unveiled its plan to bring 1,000 rentals, light manufacturing space, retail, and office space to two city-owned blocks north of 45th Avenue and 44th Drive and West of Vernon Boulevard.
The proposed Plaxall development will, if approved, rise just south of TF Cornerstone’s Anable Basin project on a site bound by 44th Drive and 45th Avenue to the north, Vernon Boulevard to the east, 46th Road to the south, and Fifth Street and the East River to the west.
The New York Times, which broke the news of the proposed rezoning, says that Plaxall is planning an apartment tower that is 70 stories, or nearly 700 feet tall, for the project. At that height, it would become one of the tallest in the outer boroughs when taking into consideration Durst Organization’s plan for a 710-foot apartment tower near Long Island City’s clock tower, and JDS Development Group’s 1,066-foot tower poised to rise above Brooklyn’s landmarked Dime Savings Bank. It would readily surpass the borough’s tallest building, the 658-foot Citigroup Building.
Plaxall’s proposed redevelopment would dramatically alter the landscape of Long Island City’s waterfront. Creating the tower and its surrounding buildings would be “a unique opportunity to really make a skyline for Long Island City,” Paula Kirby, a Plaxall executive, told the Times. Of the 14.7 acres proposed for redevelopment, Plaxall owns 13. That land would be razed, and the additional acres owned by various landlords are expected to be redeveloped or sold following the rezoning, the Times notes.
Plaxall, who’s been entrenched in Long Island City and the area surrounding Anable Basin as a plastics manufacturing group and landlord since 1950, has long anticipated the site’s redevelopment. On a website dedicated to answering questions about the proposed rezoning, it says it’s aimed to minimize commercial tenant displacement through its leasing strategy over the past few years. Plaxall also says it might temporarily relocate tenants throughout the development period, which will play out over a series of phases from 2020 to 2034. The rezoning will not lead to any residential displacement, a spokesman for the project confirms.
The rezoning will make accessible an area of the Long Island City waterfront that’s largely been unreachable over the past century. Plaxall hopes to activate the waterfront and the basin with retail and restaurants, a bi-level esplanade that connects to Gantry State Park, and even some kayaking (as pictured in the project’s rose-tinted renderings.) The esplanade will be elevated as a measure against flooding.
The rezoning area would adhere to the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy, requiring 1,250 of the project’s 5,000 apartments to be dedicated as affordable housing. The levels of affordability at the site have yet to be determined.
Plaxall is seeking the rezoning of the site, but will consider selling the whole site at a later date following the rezoning. It’s hoping to sell a stake to a developer in the project’s first phase, that will include 500 apartments.
“We are fully engaged in detailed planning and driven to maintain what is special about the community through the careful crafting of a prescriptive, mixed-use zoning framework,” said Plaxall Realty president Jonathan Drescher, formerly of the Durst Organization, in a statement. “Through our plan, the new Anable Basin would be a place where people live and work in the same place—enhancing quality of life, productivity and easing the demands on transit and energy infrastructure by placing workplaces close to home.”
The environmental effects of the proposed rezoning will be addressed by the Department of City Planning and Plaxall at a public meeting on December 14.