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City sets its sights on up to 24,000 units on Sunnyside Yards, according to report

February 6, By Hannah Wulkan

The NYC Economic Development Corporation is entertaining the possibility of building as many as 24,000 residential units on the Sunnyside Yards, according to a feasibility study the agency released today.

The study lays out three test cases for the mega-development, which would be built over the 180-acre rail yard situated between Sunnyside, Astoria and Long Island City. Most of the residential units would go up toward the Sunnyside portion of the yards.

The study is a follow up to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to build thousands of affordable housing units on top of the yard, which he first announced  in early 2015.

The first test case would see the construction of between 18,000 and 24,000 residential units on certain segments of the site. It would also add between 13 and 19 new schools, 2,400 to 3,300 new parking spaces and up to 52 acres of public park land. The test case allocates 700,000 to 900,000 square feet of retail space, but does not propose any construction of new office space.

The second test case, according to the EDC, would provide more of a balance of residential, commercial and community space.

It proposes the construction of 14,000 to 19,000 residential units, as well as about 4 million to 5.5 million square feet of office space and 500,000 to 700,000 square feet of retail space. It would add 10 to 14 schools to the area as well as 1 to 1.4 million square feet of higher education space, 3,300 to 4,500 parking spaces, and between 37 and 50 acres of park space.

The final test case falls somewhere in the middle of the first two cases, aiming to make Sunnyside Yards more of a destination. It proposes building 16,000 to 22,000 residential units, and though it does not leave room for office buildings, it does suggest building 1.1 to 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use buildings. It would also add 10 to 14 new schools, 3,900 to 5,300 new parking spaces, and between 31 and 42 acres of park space.

Regardless of which plan is picked, or if a new plan is adopted, the study shows that 30 percent of all residential units would be made permanently affordable.

The study shows that the estimated cost of the entire project would be between $16 and $19 billion, though the project would be broken down in to phases.

The heart of the project will likely go up in the east section of in the yards, in what the study calls the “Core yard.”

Development of Sunnyside Yards would likely begin with the Core Yard, which covers about 70 acres partially bordering Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, but does not reach Skillman Avenue.

The Core Yard would contain about 11,000 to 15,000 new residential units, 15 to 20 new acres of park space, and new community facilities and amenities.

The study estimates that it would cost about $10 billion to build the Core Yard, which could then expand outwards to eventually cover between 80 to 85 percent of the 180-acre rail yard.

“This feasibility study is only the first stage in a multi-step, multi-year design process needed to realize a project of this scale and complexity,” concludes the study, pointing out that the Sunnyside Yards project will be ongoing over the next many years and likely through several administrations if it moves forward.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been a critic of developing the yards, suggested that de Blasio come to the neighborhood and explain his plans.

“This is potentially a big project with enormous ramifications. I invite Mayor de Blasio to come out to Western Queens and hold a town hall meeting with my constituents. He can use this as an opportunity to explain what the administration hopes to accomplish, and solicit necessary community feedback from the residents of Western Queens. I would gladly join him at such an event,” Van Bramer said in a statement.

Van Bramer added, “I share what I know will be many of my constituents concerns. Infrastructure, particularly transportation, schools, parks, libraries and other needs must be met before we can entertain any such ideas from this administration. Let me be clear, this plan will be voted up or down at the City Council, and I won’t support anything that isn’t right for our community.”

Meanwhile, State Sen. Mike Gianaris said in a statement, “Any future development must ensure adequate infrastructure to handle our growing population, including additional schools, parks and open spaces, and vastly improved mass transit, particularly on the 7 line. I will intensify my efforts to see these needs addressed before thousands of new residents are added to our neighborhood and will not support any plan that does not have the community’s approval.”

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, in a statement, said,“I continue to oppose this level of large scale development for Western Queens.  I look forward to working with my colleagues in government, community leaders and all residents to share opinions and see what options are available so as to have a voice.  Open sky, clean water and sewers, fire , police, heath and senior care, public transit, schools, parks, community centers and expanded college education facilities must all be addressed.”

The decision to develop the yards will ultimately be decided by the city council.

For the study, please click here.

email the author: news@queenspost.com

61 Comments

Juan julio

No park please we dont need a park, the development needs parking not a park, lets not turn an already bad parking situation into something worse. All these developments have gyms, pools, so i dont want to hear we need the park for exercise




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Anonymous

Nobody but native born Queens people want to live here. Deepen the East Channel of the East River. Widen Manhattan with landfill along the whole length of Roosevelt Island. They all want to live in Manhattan anyway. Problem solved.

We like it quiet.




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Gardens Watcher

Another bullpucky big dream project from Mr. one-term Mayor. Cuomo blasted the idea of building over the Sunnyside Yards when it was first mentioned, and he was right. Wrong spot and wrong scale. Albany needs to stand firm in opposition. JVB too.




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Anonymous

This is never going to happen. The land is not owned by the city and the governor does not support the idea. This report, which cost $350,000 to write was a give away to someone connected to Di Blasio.




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Pajama Pants Parade

HUGE PARK BETWEEN 39TH STREET AND 43RD STREET.

BUILDING ALL YOU WANT FROM 39TH TO LIC.

PROBLEM SOLVED.




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Phil

I would say, at a minimum, Van Bramer needs to drive an extremely hard Community Benefits Agreement or he is toast.

Us with our dilapidated housing stock and lack of green space paying for developers to overcrowd and give newcomers lots of nice parks and good buildings? All the while dealing with years of construction noise and hassles and then overcrowded transit? That shouldn’t fly.

Queens only has one large park and it’s not very accessible. This should be made into parkland so we can actually have a place to be outside.




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Mac

Forest Park, Cunningham Park, Alley Pond, Gateway National Park, Flushing Meadow are all large parks.




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Phil

Only one of those is even remotely close to major population centers of Queens and none of them is close to Sunnyside




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Anonymous

I love it, do it tomorrow. I want an apartment. So much wasted land put to good use. Lets call the new neighborhood- l.i.c. a.s.




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Anonymous

Be careful what you wish for. I am pretty sure this area is major flood zone. I would not want to own apartment in a hole.




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Neziah Bliss

This could work IF they just gave a bit more back.
Of all the places where we could easily make a new subway line this HAS TO BE THE PLACE. It’s over functional railroad tracks that connect to a tunnel to manhattan. Come on!

Even the most negative Sunnysider would have to agree this would be good if 1) there was a new subway line, 2) we got a bunch of park land and schools, 3) if height of buildings is in control, 4) If the affordable housing is real and not just blowing smoke.

If they were to agree to the above it would really be a win-win. There would be no downside if all those 4 things were covered.




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Anonymous

Yes there would. It would be more crowded. It is crowded enough. Wait until your quiet little street turns into a thoroughfare like mine did. It stinks.




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Albert

There are 1.2 million new New Yorkers since 1990. They have to live some place. We also need some serious upgrades to transportation options.




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Bowery Boy

Jersey City would be perfect for them. Western Queens is congested enough now. The last thing we need is more Sunnyside Yards development.




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HubbaBubba

I like it, just add the Sunnyside – GCT LIRR stop & a lot of the commute issues are answered. More nearby green spaces, new schools & a quantum leap in value for homeowners so those who don’t like it can cash out with a huge profit & move to where they apparently prefer to live anyway, but now with a big cash cushion. Win/Win




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P13

This is just ridiculous. There is TONS of industrial space available near Laguardia College and the MoMa warehouse that can be developed without having to get all fancy with the engineering of building OVER a working railyard. The greedy developers just want free land to build on and the corrupt politicians will do anything for them as long as they get their bribes.




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pkyc0

why doesnt this article mention that the plan calls for the sunnyside stop to be built, with trains going to penn station, (East side access open up capacity) it also mentions that light rail or other surface transportation should be considered through the site or along skillman.




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SunnysideUp

Why do we all have to be on top of each other? There are so many other great areas with easy access to the city: Middle Village, Rego Park, Forest Hills. These are beautiful areas that can take a lot more development. Why do we have to be sheeps that all run in the same direction?




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Clama

The point is that we are very close to Manhattan and it’s more convenient for people to commute, the problem is how. No parking space, not enough subways, the bridge is already insufficient. What a headache!




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Anonymous

Throw in a skatepark, that will definitely move away all the pothead skaters from 52nd park




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Putin kicked my dog

Make it housing for all the middle eastern refugees liberals want to import into the country.




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Sunnysider

Create more projects for the newly created poverty level citizens created by conservatives low wage and anti labor policies.




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Anonymous

Good luck finding a parking space with all these hipsters moving in. Ugh. Parking is so important.




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Anonymous

NYC is not an appropriate place to have a car. Also, hipsters don’t live in low income housing generally. We are wealthy.




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Anonymous

People all over NYC have cars because they want to come and go from NYC. In addition to having an overblown idea of your importance you have far too little experience to speak with authority on anything. Reading about things and ideas is fine but living through them is another thing altogether.




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Hello

JVB doesn’t ride the subway to work. His office is blocks away from home. He’s clueless.
This project is a TERRIBLE IDEA!




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Phil

I’ve seen Van Bramer on the 7 in the morning dressed in work clothes going toward Manhattan multiple times. Not sure what else he’d be doing besides commuting into city hall




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Anonymous

You can request his public schedule. The one time I saw it. He actually took meeting with real estate developers in their offices. My guess is that city council members have parking spots. That is just a guess.




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Anonymous

Put a chain on those real estate mad dogs. This area can not bear that many more people. We don’t need them or want them. Go somewhere else. Deck over the East River, that is really where people want to live, on an extension of Manhattan, not Queens. They won’t like it here because they will be Bridge and Tunnel People.

DiBlasio & Co., I never hated my city government before, but you are bringing me very close to the edge with your insane aggression! Back off.




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Anonymous

What would be the price for an apartment there? $3000 for 1 bedroom? Fucking the MIDDLE-CLASS once again. Doesn’t anybody care about the Middle-class anymore? Sad ?




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BaconBits

And that’s exactly how “they” like it. Poor people will benefit from the charitable giving by rich people, so they can write it off as an offset. But only if you comply with the demands of their morality. Otherwise, you are SOL.




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Anonymous

don’t worry JVB and our mayor will be having a Texas Style Cage match with Nolan about this — this should be interesting — see sunnyside post dated 2/4/2016 –




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Eurozone

Without building a new subway line or a complete revamp of the 7 nothing should proceed or be approved except for the parkland which is the most feasible idea.




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Phil

This is madness. 50,000 new people on the subway? I can’t even get on at 52nd in the morning due to 6 outbound trains for every 1 local inbound (idiots). How are these people going to get on?

Oh, and all the pushy yuppies of Vernon Jackson are going to love these yuppies, who will all get on before them.




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rikki

keep telling everyone and you give me so many negatives….you have to either live with the sardines for at least 25 years or reverse commute

Get a seat on one of those outbound trains every-morning, ok its not the thrill and excitement of Manhattan, but you will be a lot happier commuting and be a lot less stressed out I know its a hard choice but the project will be built before any new subway line is built….

UNLESS the LIRR has a sunnyside stop you can hop on to grand central for the price of a subway fare and transfer whenever that connector is finished

Or option 2…when the LIRR is not using the GC connection how about shuttle trains to GC every say 15 minutes to alleviate the sardine commute…. but then when has any government agency worked with other agencies for the betterment of THE PUBLIC?




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Scoler

Add a few more ferries to get folks over to Manhattan and the new 2nd ave subway and prohibit vehicles with less than three occupants on the bridge between 7-10AM & 5-7 PM, then add more buses. Problem solved. Housing shortage addressed. Unless you want to wait and hope the cities population decrease in the next ten years?




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Phil

The issue is none of those things you proposed to solve the problem will happen. Also nobody is going to walk from Sunnyside Yards to a ferry then walk from wherever the ferry depot is to 2nd Ave subway then ride to who knows where.




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Ummm No Thanks?

Forget that nonsense!!!
14,000-19,000 residential units?
Good luck trying to get a seat on the 7 (that is if it’s running)
Let the rich owners of the NYCFC build a stadium there with the promise of free ample parking for residents of the neighborhood when stadium is not being used. OK fine, you can toss in a bookstore…..




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Matt

If we’re still alive by the time the first apartment is open, there will be a new solution for the subway. Probably flying UBERs.




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LovaHemi

A NASCAR Track could be built there. It would create needed jobs and get the kids away from the X Boxes:-)




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