The massive Astoria Cove development is expected to get the green light when the full City Council puts it to a vote Tuesday.
A historic deal was reached last week when 2030 Astoria Developers agreed to raise the number of permanent affordable units to 27 percent, up from the proposed 20 percent.
“We were negotiating this up until the absolute last minute to make sure that we got the best community benefits that we could get,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said. “There are always moments that you have where both sides are dug into their positions. Sometimes I thought we were too far apart and it was very difficult at times, but I always felt good that we had a partner in this administration.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio gave credit to strong leadership in the City Council in forging the agreement, in particular to the first-year councilman. “I know Costa drove a hard bargain at the table with the developer,” he said.
In addition to the record 27 percent of the 1,723-unit complex set aside for low- and middle-income households, the deal includes investment in a transportation network, money to bring a ferry to Astoria, a million dollars for the Astoria library and the NYCHA Senior Center and even an upgrade to the Whitey Ford Field, according to Constantinides.
“Plus good union jobs with apprenticeships with training and a living wage with pension benefits,” he said.
The mayor called the deal a “game-changer” that will change the way such deals are done in the future.
“In the not so distant past, including as recently as last year, this development would’ve had a lot less affordable housing,” de Blasio said. “Let me put this in human terms - the count I have, that’s 119 more units - 119 more families in this city who will have affordable housing who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. That’s a real difference-maker.”
There was a second development during the rookie councilman’s week. On Nov. 13 Constantinides announced passage of his bill INT. 378, which mandates the city reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. The bill unanimously passed the City Council with 42 co-sponsors.
“We are a city that leads the way on housing, public health and transportation policy, so we must continue to lead the way on environmental protection,” Constantinides said. “Combating climate change is a 21st century issue that affects all New Yorkers and that’s why we must construct policies that keep us on par with global standards.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, there is an indisputable link between carbon emissions and warmer climates worldwide.
“While rising seas and extreme weather events are likely part of New York City’s future, we can still prevent the worst outcomes,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) said. “Not only can we turn the tide of climate change, but as the most populous city in the country and a global leader, we have the moral responsibility to do so.”
©2014 Community News Group
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