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De Blasio diverts funds from Queens affordable housing project, prompting City Council query

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Mayor de Blasio abruptly pulled funding for a 163-unit affordable building at Halletts Point

City Council is demanding answers from Mayor Bill de Blasio as to why he abruptly canceled plans to provide $43.5 million in funding for a 163-affordable unit in Halletts Point that would have included funding for repairs at an adjacent New York City Housing Authority development, reports Politico (h/t the NY Post).

Halletts Point, a megaproject taking shape on Astoria’s waterfront and being helmed by developers Durst Organization, had struck a deal with NYCHA that allowed developers to make a $4.2 million deposit on the land needed to build the large-scale development in exchange for Durst agreeing to replace four boilers at the Astoria Houses. But following what the Post calls a “public spat” between the Durst Organization and Mayor de Blasio in September, when the Mayor referred to the group as an example of not getting what they want, despite donating to his campaign (in this instance, he was referring to Durst’s quest to get a city ferry contract), the Mayor pulled financing for the project.

According to an official at the city’s Housing Development Corporation, despite initially approving funding, they realized that there wasn’t enough money in the city’s annual cap to fund the project.

Councilman Ritchie Torres, who heads the council’s investigations committee, stated that he has “concerns about the withdrawal of bond financing from the project and the impact on the boilers at Astoria Houses.” The council is currently investigating the situation.

Once complete, Halletts Point will have more than 2,000 apartments spread out across seven buildings, including about 480 affordable units. The development will also include a waterfront park and a school. In September, the first of the seven building— a 405-apartment building designed by Dattner Architects— topped out.