More than 200 people crowded into the foyer of MOMA PS1 in Long Island City last Thursday, many sitting in the aisles or standing along the walls, to get an update on Hunters Point South, a massive, middle-income, mixed-use development currently under construction at 50th Avenue and 2nd Street.
Many of those at the meeting were concerned that the dwelling units in the first two structures being built in Hunters Point South would be 100 percent affordable housing even though plans had initially called for 60 percent of the project’s 5,000 dwelling units overall to be affordable housing interspersed with market-rate housing.
But elected and city officials said they planned to include market-rate housing in later phases of the project.
“We’re still looking to maintain the overall project plan,” Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley said.
Ruth Anne Vishauskas, of Hunters Point Development, said Hunters Point South is planned as a large, mixed-use development on seven parcels. In addition to the dwellings, the development will include a 1,100-seat intermediate and high school, 11 acres of waterfront, 100,000 square feet of retail and a library.
Affordable housing is defined as families who make $30,000 to $160,000 a year, Vishauskas said. Those in some income brackets will only be allowed to rent or purchase specified dwelling units. Potential residents will be chosen by lottery with certain preferences and their income will be checked through tax forms.
Vishauskas said some people who may be eligible include two-income families who are employed as nurses, teachers, food service workers, garment workers, nonprofit employees, police, firefighters and Metropolitan Transportation Authority workers.
“We want to dispel this rumor out there that this is a low-income housing project,” Conley said. “It is not.”
The city broke ground on the first phase of the project in February 2011. This phase, which is being done by developers Phipps Houses, Monadnock Construction and Related Cos., includes 950 affordable housing units, 225 parking units and retail space. Vishauskas said while the units were initially going to be a mix of affordable and market housing, all the units became affordable in negotiations.
“We are dedicated to building the best possible real estate product,” said Frank Monterisi, vice president of Related Cos.
Some in the audience wanted a guarantee that later parcels would not become 100 percent affordable housing. Officials did not make a guarantee that it would, but said they were not planning to build an all-affordable-housing development.
In response to a question as to why the first parcels would be all rentals, Vishauskas said banks are not lending to homeowners in the current market.
Conley said the meeting last Thursday was held after Deputy Mayor Robert Steel incorrectly said during the business group LIC Partnership’s annual luncheon that the project would be 100 percent affordable housing.
“It’s really important that you all have accurate information about Hunters Point South,” Conley said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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