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Phipps Seeks to Rezone Property on Barnett Avenue Yet Again

50-25 Barnett Avenue (Photo: Queens Post)

Oct. 11, 2019 By Christian Murray

Phipps Houses has filed plans to rezone its Barnett Avenue property and build an eight-story, 164-unit building.

The non-profit developer filed plans with the Department of City Planning last month calling for its 50-25 Barnett Avenue property to be rezoned from a manufacturing district to residential. The zoning application comes three years after it pulled similar plans after fierce community opposition.

The plans call for a mixed use building on the north side of Barnett Avenue between 50th and 52nd Streets. The building would consist of 189,000 square feet of residential space, making room for 164 units. All units would be affordable, subject to income restrictions. The site would also include 6,200 square feet for non profit offices and room for 174 parking spaces.

The proposal is smaller than what Phipps put forward in 2016, when it sought a rezoning to build a 10-story, 209-unit building. The units in that plan would have all been affordable.

The affordable units in its latest plan would target households earning less that what was presented in 2016. For instance, half the units in its current application would be for households that make no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income. A quarter of the units would be for households that make up to 90 percent of AMI with the remaining quarter for households that make up to 110 percent.

In 2016, half the units were for households that made up to 130 percent of the AMI.

The criticism in 2016 largely dealt with the scale of the proposed building and opponents said that the income levels of the affordable units were too high. Other concerns dealt with the loss of parking and pressure on infrastructure.

The property, which is adjacent to the Long Island Railroad, is currently used as a parking lot, and has room for about 220 vehicles. Many residents at the 472-unit Phipps Gardens Apartment complex nearby use it since that complex does not include on-site parking.

There were advocates for the project in 2016 who saw a need for affordable housing, although they were in the minority. Many of the supporters were residents with young children.

But the overwhelming majority were in opposition to it with thousands signing petitions against it.

The plans were rejected by Community Board 2 (by a vote of 38 to 1) and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, when both provided an advisory opinion. The proposal, however, was approved by the City Planning Commission by a vote of 12-0.

Rendering of  2016 Proposal

Nevertheless, Phipps withdrew its plans when City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer made clear that he would not support it and that it would be nixed by the council. All rezonings need to be approved by the council.

“Ten stories is out of character and inconsistent with the rest of the neighborhood,” Van Bramer said at the time. “It’s across the street from the existing Phipps [Phipps Garden Apartments], which would be dwarfed by this.”

Van Bramer is currently reviewing Phipps’ latest proposal.

“Phipps has submitted a new and altered version of their original plans for the site,” Van Bramer said in a statement. “It will now go before the community for review and comment. And I will be following the process very closely and taking feedback from my neighbors.”

Phipps did not respond for comment.

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43 Comments

This is a joke

The complex in the photo looks like something I would see on Queens Blvd or 5th Avenue. That area in Barnett Area is mostly industrial, one story buildings dating to older times. Horrible idea and location.

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Anon

LIC Direct, screw you . These homeless bums are not from the neighborhood. I don’t really care where they go , but the first thing we need to do is get them the hell outta here. They are not of us and they are not from us. Get the trash the hell out of here.

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Sunnysider

Does anyone know the percentage of the people in the homeless shelters near us of which ones are actual New Yorkers to the ones that are flocking up from other states to get everything for free from us? Noticing there are more people from out if state in the affordable housing shelter system…. I wish I could pick up and move and go live for free in another state!!!!

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Gerry

The people that you have issue with here are no Trump supporters but upper class liberal transplants from Manhattan-the people that tell you how to think.

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gag

There is another Phipps property right next door which is also considered affordable housing.

No one complains about that one.

Not only would this development provide additional housing supply to the community but it will also make Barnett Ave safer as there will be more eyes on the street.

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BR

No to over development
No to this proposed project.
This has homeless housing written all over it.
Does anyone know the latest regarding the proposed building to go up on
Skillman between 51st and 50th? No to that too.

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bxgrl

To all those who say everyone else who wants to be able to afford their housing that THEY feel entitled: Look in the mirror,

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LIC DIRECT

Watch the progressives in Sunnyside say, we have a middle school on 48th St coming, a BJ’s coming to the old site of National Liquidators, a High School on Northern Blvd, too much traffic, not enough parking, transportation. JVB is a hipocrite affordable housing is Needed, Build it say Yes, unless its in JVB’s neighborhood. He will stick you in the back everytime, if nothing in it for him. Place homeless families in these new apartments from the local homeless hotels, so they can have a decent place to live. Mobilize the homeless in the neigborhood homeless hotels to demand decent housing. I’m ready to photocopy flyers to spread at the local homeless hotels in Blissville to invite this forgotten community to the next CB2 community board meeting.

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ANOTHER racist Trump lover?!

> With affordable housing comes undesirables.

Oh no, don’t get too close to the poors!

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Gardens Watcher

An oversized, Marriott-like solution to the need for affordable housing is not the answer.

And trying to shame Gardens residents with essentially a charge of “white privilege” if they don’t want a zeppelin next door is pathetic.

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Roberto

He will not divide us as jimmy used to march around and chant.The he is actually jimmy and he has.

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Anonymous

Build it! It will definitely look better than what is there now and it can and will improve the lives of many households. Face it, NYC is all about real estate and that is a common feed to the health of this city’s economy. Like I said.. BUILD IT!

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Anonymous

ABSOLUTELY NOT! Phipps management and owners can not even adequately manage, clean or maintain at a minimum standard its current buildings on the Sunnyside Property. Imagine the conditions if the owners are distracted by a newer property! The community has already said no. Phipps owners continues to show its arrogance to the Sunnyside neighborhood.

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Karsten

All we ever hear is how there is a housing crisis and not enough affordable units. As if we needed more proof, this story proves Jimmy Van Bramer is nothing but a political hack. This project would dwarf nearby units? So what’s the solution? Build everyone a single-family home? Nope! We can’t do that either because everyone would need a car and we’d be ruining the environment. This city is deeply confused and has the wool pulled over its eyes by a bunch of crooked bureaucrats.

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These developers and architects apparently think this is Miami!

It’s pretty but they apparently haven’t taken City planning or even know what that is. It’s better to imagine the structure in reality when reality is represented in the drawing or model.

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Progressive Sunnyside, not today! NIMBYs!

I can’t wait to hear the excuses offered by the so called progressive Sunnyside Garden Residents and their progressive Councilman, JVB as to why this project should not move forward. The community needs affordable housing. We need to make it happen! My fear is that we will hear a whole bunch of NIMBY excuses. Shameful! Sunnyside, live up to your progressive values!

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Mac

Move to a place you can afford. What a sense of entitlement. I want to live in Central Park South, I’ll start demanding the tax payer fund that too. Enough already.

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Anon

The last thing we need is affordable housing (vertical ghettos) in the middle of one family homes. If you want to see what affordable housing looks like walk around the Met apartment buildings. Screw affordable housing.

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Anonymous

As a property owner, I welcome the project; it would increase my property value. I am praying this project to go through!

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Dietmar Detering

Jimmy van Bramer, take my feedback, support this proposal now, and lead the neighborhood through a peaceful process towards a progressive goal (more urban housing) instead of letting it tear itself apart again while you waver (remember the bike lanes?). And do you remember when you came out in opposition to the fire department using that ugly building at Lou Lodati Park as a maintenance shop? You got your way there, too, and now we have WB Mason trucks flooding the entire neighborhood. Such a win! As of right, Phipps can build much worse things than affordable housing on that lot!

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Pat

This neighborhood is too crowded putting another bldg would impact everyone who lives here now.

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Gardens Watcher

No thanks, once again. Should stay zoned for manufacturing.

And isn’t the proposed new school not far from this lot? One big construction project is enough disruption in the area.

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John O'Reilly

As before, as long as Jimmy Van Bramer lives within blocks of where Phipps wants to build, this project is going nowhere. According to the recently woke, post-Joe Crowley election defeat, Van Bramer belief system, affordable housing is what gets built in neighborhoods where Jimmy doesn’t live.

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Concerned

This site should not be rezoned from manufacturing to residential. It is right next to a State Superfund Site (site code: 241123), which has contaminated the groundwater under the lot. Also the Buckeye Pipeline which carries fuel to Queens’ airports runs along it. It should not be zoned as residential.

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We need affordable housing

We need affordable housing. It will be a shame if CB2 denies this and if JVB does too.

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Mac

We have enough affordable housing Woodside Houses, Cosmopolitans and Queensbridge. If you can’t afford the area move to one you can afford. That’s how we did it in the 60’s 70’s& 80’s

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Anonymous

To hell with affordable housing, there I said what every property owner is thinking. If you can’t afford to live in this area then don’t. I didn’t create you and I don’t want to raise you. My taxes feed, clothe and educate the children of the irresponsible idiots. I’ll be happy to put tax dollars to all the birth control and abortions on demand that my progressive friends wish to put forth.

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Mac

Move to a place you can afford. What a sense of entitlement. I want to live in Central Park South, I’ll start demanding the tax payer fund that too. Enough already.

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Mac

Gag- A little jealous are we? Plenty of us south of Skillman are against this too, especially those live near the cosmopolitans formerly the metropolitans (Mets) apartments.

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