Kaufman Studios’ mixed-use development OK’d

Development will provide housing for studio employees, actors and other film industry personnel. On January 9, 2008, the City Council voted to approve an application to rezone an eight-lot, former manufacturing area, and build a three-lot, mixed-use development in Western Queens.

The development, proposed by Kaufman Astoria Studios and Damroc Realty, will be located on 35th Avenue between 34th and 35th Streets, and consist of two sevenstory residential buildings with 60 residential units, 62 parking spaces, 7,800 sq.ft. of ground-floor retail, and 3,000 sq.ft. of open space. Currently located on the site are a coat factory, vacant parking lot and two-story dwelling. Because of the site’s manufacturing history, the developer will record a restriction against the property to test for hazardous materials and, if necessary, take remediation measures in partnership with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

The rezoning will affect the area surrounding the development between 34th and 35th Avenues, from 34th Street to 35th Street. The new C4-2A zoning will allow as-of-right residential and commercial uses, including movie studios, with a maximum FAR of 3.0 for all uses.

The Planning Commission on December 5, 2007 praised the proposal, approving it without modification. The Commission noted that the former M1-5 zoning does not reflect current economic trends, which have transformed the area from a primarily manufacturing neighborhood to one characterized by light industrial, residential and commercial uses. The Commission found the new zoning more consistent with the current scale and use of the area and credited Kaufman Astoria Studios for sparking this revitalization with its current complex, which includes restaurants, movie theaters, the Museum of the Moving Image, as well as residential and office space.

At the City Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing on January 7, 2008, Council Member Eric Gioia complimented the developers on their project and remarked that Astoria is “undergoing a renaissance.” He then cited as examples of this resurgence the new Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, the growth of the film industry, and the gradual shift away from manufacturing activity. Council Member Robert Jackson asked the developers whether they would offer a community preference for the condominiums, to which Joseph P. Morsellino, the developers’ attorney, replied that his clients were currently undecided but would work with Queens Community Board 1 on the matter.

The subcommittee and Land Use Committee approved the application on January 7th and 8th, respectively, before the full Council followed suit on January 9, 2008.

ULURP Process
Lead Agency: CPC;Cond.Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: QN 1,App’d, 34-1-1
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 12-0-1
Council: App’d, 46-0-3

Council: Astoria Studio Apartments (Jan. 9, 2008). CPC: Astoria Studios Apartments (C 050 491 ZMQ – map amend.) (Dec. 5, 2007). CITYADMIN

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