April 5, 2022 By Christian Murray
The developers behind the massive Innovation QNS project in Astoria that involves the rezoning of five city blocks will be holding a town hall meeting later this month.
The announcement of the meeting comes less than a month after Council Member Julie Won, who will ultimately determine whether the rezoning is approved, put them on notice to do more community outreach—saying not enough had been done.
The town hall meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 20 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Museum of Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave. There will be two 90-minute sessions, with one starting at 4 p.m. and another at 7 p.m.
Representatives of the entire Innovation QNS development team will all be in attendance—including executives from Silverstein Properties, Kaufman Astoria Studios and BedRock Real Estate Partners. The architect from ODA New York will also be on hand, as well as an environmental consultant from AKRF.
The developers plan to create a mixed-use district between 37th Street and Northern Boulevard, bound by 35th and 36th Avenues, that would consist of more than a dozen buildings that would range in heights from nine to 27 stories.
The developers announced the plan in 2020 and have been working with the Dept. of City Planning to get their rezoning application certified. Once certified, the six-month long public review process—known as ULURP– is scheduled to begin and the application will be either approved or rejected.
The upcoming meeting will involve the development team delivering a presentation of the plan, which will be followed by a Q&A session. The town hall will be open to the public.
The developers plan to hold two additional workshops, with one in May and another in June.
The latest version of the plan calls for 2,845 apartments, of which 725 would be affordable. The developers say that hundreds of the affordable units would be priced below $1,000.
The plan also includes 250,000 square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of retail offerings, 100,000 square feet of community space, 2 acres of public open space, and 1,465 parking spaces.
The announcement of the meetings comes in the wake of a March 8 letter than Won sent to the developers advising them to conduct a series of in-person meetings in multiple languages before getting the project certified. She also called on them to hold town halls.
“In person town halls and workshops in multiple languages must be held to ensure that neighbors have a chance to express their concerns, provide direct input on community needs, and have their questions answered by your organizations directly,” the letter read.
Won’s views are pivotal to the fate of the project since it will be her vote in the city council that will ultimately determine whether the rezoning application is approved. The city council typically votes in lockstep with the representative where a development is proposed.