Council Members questioned the developers on the project’s affordability and use of union labor. On October 20, 2014 the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises held a public hearing on the proposed Astoria Cove development project. The project, which would create a new mixed-use development of 1,700 apartments, commercial space, a school, a supermarket, and parks, was approved by the City Planning Commission over opposition by both Queens Community Board 1 and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.
Coalition of local residents, Greenwich Village community organizations, and elected officials sought to prevent NYU’s development of two superblocks north of Houston Street. In 2012, the City Council voted to approve multiple actions to allow an expansion plan by New York University to develop two superblocks bounded by West 3rd Street, Houston Street, Mercer Street and LaGuardia place in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. The project, projected to take 20 years to complete, would entail the construction of four new buildings to be used for student housing and faculty residences, academic use, public space, and a grocery store to replace one eliminated by the development. The largest building, the Zipper Building, would be 980,000 gross square feet. NYU claimed the project would create approximately four acres of publicly accessible open space and amenities.
$130 million secured to invest in 35 under-resourced parks throughout NYC. On October 7, 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Department of Parks & Recreation Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver announced a $130 million investment in 35 community parks throughout the five boroughs. This is the first phase of a multi-faceted program to support investment in the most under-resourced parks and communities, known as the Community Parks Initiative. The Mayor’s capital budget raised $110 million of program financing. The City Council, Borough Presidents, and foundation grants cumulatively contributed another $20 million.
The project was approved by City Planning despite opposition from the Community Board, Borough President, and the local Council Member. On October 20, 2014 the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises will hold hearings on the proposed Astoria Cove mixed-use development project. The project, designed by Alma Realty, is the first project subject to Mayor de Blasio’s mandatory inclusionary zoning housing requirement. Despite the requirement, the project has faced opposition from community groups and elected leaders arguing the designated affordable units are too expensive for current Astoria residents.