Sept. 28, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The size and scope of a large project proposed along Queens Boulevard in Woodside is currently being negotiated, with discussions of a smaller development with a public school on the table.
Council Member Robert Holden, who represents the district where Madison Realty Capital has proposed a two-tower project at 69-02 Queens Blvd., is working with the developer to decrease the development’s density and add an elementary or middle school at the site.
“We’ve been negotiating for the past month or so,” said Daniel Kurzyna, spokesperson for Holden. “They seem open to it.”
The project as currently envisioned includes a 17 and 14 story tower with a total of 561 apartments, of which 169 would be affordable. Some ground level commercial space is also part of the proposed project.
But the project, larger than what is permitted under current zoning, can only be built as planned if its rezoning application passes a lengthy public review process. The review process, however, is soon coming to an end, with a City Council vote scheduled some time before the end of the year.
Negotiations have mainly focused on shaving off some stories from the taller building and including the school in a district with an overcrowding issue.
“There’s 5,000 unfunded seats in District 24,” Kurzyna said.
Another possible area where the project can change include the breakdown of units, where more two-bedroom units would be added to counter the majority of one-bedroom units in the proposed development.
The demands for the school and density lowering, however, are the “main components of conversation”, Kurzyna said. While specifics like school seats and a desired tower height have not been laid out yet, the two areas will weigh heavily into whether Holden will give a yes vote to the project.
Madison Realty Capital did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
The Council Member has publicly expressed his opposition to the developer’s project as it stands, as he said in a jam-packed town hall about the proposal in May where many angry residents spoke out against the plan.
“This is really kind of counterproductive, isn’t it? It’s not proper city planning,” Holden said at the time. “I have serious reservations about this.”
Town hall attendees said the project would exacerbate the district overcrowding schools problem, and add strain to what residents say is an overburdened neighborhood in terms of traffic, public transit, and more.
Community Board 2 took heed to what residents and Holden said about the project, and voted it down in a June meeting. The board, among many reasons, said the developer’s request to build bigger in an area that was already recently up zoned for large-scale projects is inappropriate. It suggested the project stay within its maximum allowable density and height under zoning—a build of about 10-12 stories.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz also recommended that the project building heights be lowered, and that the developer talk with the School Construction Authority about siting a school on site. She also recommended the developer consider adjusting the depth of the proposed income bands for the affordable housing units.
The rezoning application entered City Council two days ago, which must hold a hearing and vote on the project by early December.