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Astoria Cove developer looks to sell Queens megaproject site for $350M

Alma Realty’s project would have brought 1,723 apartments to Astoria

UPDATE (5/10/17): Developers looking to purchase the Astoria Cove site have until June 28 this year to submit their applications, Cushman & Wakefield (repping Alma Realty) announced today. Cushman said that with a 421-a replacement now in place, they have been fielding numerous applicants for the Astoria project.

After all the back and forth surrounding the controversial Astoria Cove megaproject in Queens, the developer, Alma Realty is now looking to sell the site for $350 million, Crain’s has learned.

The news follows shortly after a New York Daily News investigation revealed the potential piling up of construction debris and hazardous materials at the site over the last few years (though the initial sales offering happened in mid-March).

A little over two years ago, the City Council approved Alma Realty’s five-building project to bring 1,723 to the Astoria waterfront. After months of pushback from the local community board and residents, Alma agreed to offer 460 units of the overall development as affordable housing (27 percent) and hire all union labor at the site.

Even at the time of its approval, there was speculation that the developer might try to flip the site. Despite the approval though, construction never quite got underway at the site, and once the 421-a tax break program expired in January 2016, the developer said it was impossible to move forward.

A Politico investigation last summer questioned whether the project had actually been undone by financial issues since the developers did have some time to sign on for the tax break program before it expired in January 2016.

Now Alma Realty has hired Cushman & Wakefield to sell the site, according to Crain’s. The Daily News recently spoke with residents living around the megaproject who have complained about trash piling up at the site and the noise. The site is currently under investigation by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Alma Realty denied all allegations about using the site as an illegal dumping ground, according to the Daily News.

“Allegations concerning unauthorized waste handling are completely untrue,” a statement from 2030 Astoria Developers read. “The work that has been done recently at the site involves the deconstruction of a building under a demolition order by the city. All permits for this work are accurately filed and all regulations pertaining to safety and environmental requirements have been complied with. No violations were issued in connection with this work. We look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders in the community as we move forward.”

The developer bringing the site on the market is also an indicator that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed revival of the 421-a program—Affordable New York, is likely to be approved by the state legislature in the coming days, making it a more favorable bet for a developer who wants to build on the site.