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City buys 30 acres to build 5,000 units

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Plans to develop Hunters Point South inched closer after Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the city had finalized the $100 million acquisition of 30 acres of property in Long Island City that had been destined for the Olympics.

The city bought the parcel from the state and it will be converted into what Bloomberg called the largest middle-income housing development since the 1970s, with 5,000 housing units — 60 percent of which will be designated for moderate and middle-income families.

The mayor said the acquisition “represents a landmark movement in our city.”

“We’re talking about housing for the backbone of our city,” Bloomberg said at a news conference at the site last Thursday.

Bloomberg said the project will create 4,600 jobs and foster $2 billion in private investment.

The project is to be conducted in phases, with the first stage — $175 million in infrastructure and park design work — to begin in the fall.

Included in the project is a 1,100-seat high school for grades 6 through 12 and 11 acres of parkland along the East River, Bloomberg said.

The mayor said the city is working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to extend bus service to the site in the future.

Borough President Helen Marshall said she was pleased to see affordable housing allocated for the site.

The property was part of the city’s bid for the 2012 Olympics and would have been developed as the Olympic Village, with housing for Olympic athletes.

Marshall noted if the Olympic torch had been awarded to New York, housing “would have been expensive.”

“It’ll be wonderful to see this area developed,” Marshall said. “Construction will bring economic development to the entire city. I’m very proud to see this happen.”

City Councilman Eric Gioia (D-Sunnyside) said the Hunters Point South project was a step forward in the effort to build more affordable housing.

“We need to do more for the middle class,” he said. “Hunters Point South is getting it exactly right.”

Gioia said the development “will act as a catalyst for the entire waterfront. It will be a catalyst for further home ownership.”

Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Rafael Cestero said there will be a lottery system for Hunters Point South apartments, with half of those given preference to residents within Community Board 2 and 5 percent set aside for city workers.

Bloomberg said the property being situated on the water ensures the project will be a success, noting the importance of “location, location, location” in real estate.

“All of you, just look. You can’t have a better location,” he said.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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