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PR- 369-06
October 19, 2006


Port Authority Authorizes Waterfront Land Sale to City for Creation of up to 5,000 Housing Units, Targeted Primarily to Middle Income Families, plus Retail Amenities and Open Space

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Board of Commissioners today announced an agreement to transfer ownership of approximately 24 acres of land in the southern portion of Queens West from the Port Authority to the City of New York for a major, mixed-use, middle-income housing development in Long Island City.  Up to 5,000 units of housing primarily designed to be affordable to families earning from $60,000 to $145,000 for a family of four is expected to be developed on the site.  The units will be part of Mayor Bloomberg's $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years, the largest municipal affordable plan in the nation's history.  The Port Authority Board of Commissioners authorized the property sale at its meeting today.  The City has approximately 90 days to complete due diligence and documentation.

"The development of Queens West into a major affordable housing development with world-class open space and vibrant retail amenities will serve as an extraordinary component of our pursuit to create affordable housing throughout New York City and revitalize the waterfront in all five boroughs," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Middle-income families are facing housing affordability challenges as a result of New York's success, and we have to make strategic, long-term investments to ensure that New Yorkers of all incomes can work and live in our City.  This development will build on New York's grand tradition of major middle-income communities, but updated for the 21st century.  We will work quickly to turn this into homes for thousands of teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses and other moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers.  I want to thank the Port Authority for its continued collaboration and support."

"The Queens West waterfront development has been an important investment for the region and its economic future for the past 21 years," said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia.  "This agreement will ensure that this project continues and is a win-win for the Port Authority, the City and the region.  It will allow us to invest more dollars in our core transportation mission, and will provide the City with a key real estate asset that can be used to build much-needed affordable housing."

The City plans to develop a new site plan for the undeveloped southern portion of Queens West to allow for construction of a middle-income, mixed-use community including up to 5,000 residential units targeted to families earning between $60,000 and $145,000 for a family of four. The plan will also generate vibrant retail amenities, while maintaining the existing commitments to public open space and waterfront access.  In exchange for the land and the Port Authority's other rights at the site, the City will pay the Port Authority $100 million and will fund the Port Authority's remaining obligations for infrastructure and related costs at the site, which are currently estimated to total $46 million.  The Port Authority also will have the opportunity to participate in any future profits generated by the site and will continue to receive revenue from buildings to the north of the site, which were constructed in the first two stages of the project. In addition to the land being transferred from the Port Authority, the City will seek to acquire adjacent privately-owned sites to provide up to 1,500 additional housing units.

"This agreement presents a valuable opportunity to create a community that will affordably house middle-income families, the backbone of our City," said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff.  "In Queens West we have an opportunity to create a thriving, residential district which will both anchor and foster continued development in and around Long Island City."

"This transaction is an important milestone in the history of Queens West," said Port Authority Vice Chairman Charles A. Gargano.  "It ensures that this parcel of prime real estate in Long Island City is fully built, and will provide the Port Authority with substantial revenue to make sure the region's economy continues to grow and its millions of residents and visitors continue to have a world-class transportation system for future generations."

"The Port Authority has been a proud partner in helping New York City realize its vision for this prime waterfront site," said Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth J. Ringler Jr. "Now that the Queens West project is well on its way to completion, we need to focus more attention on the multitude of transportation projects our region needs now."

"Today marks a significant step forward in our efforts to create a major affordable housing development on a stretch of waterfront that has gone underutilized for too long," said Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan.  "The new Queens West will help realize the commitment to middle-income families that the Mayor made when he launched his expanded New Housing Marketplace Plan, which will provide housing for 500,000 New Yorkers - more than the entire population of Atlanta."

When Mayor Bloomberg announced the expansion of his New Housing Marketplace Plan in February 2006, he committed to a middle-income housing initiative designed to encourage moderate- and middle-income families to stay in New York City, while allowing the City's economy to continue to grow.  The middle-income housing initiative which Mayor Bloomberg described as a "Mitchell Lama program for the 21st Century" will generate up to 22,000 units of housing for New York households earning between $60,000 and $145,000.  In the eight months since announcing this initiative, the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development is already working to develop several thousand units of middle income housing across the city - from Manhattan's Westside to the South Bronx to Brooklyn. 

The Port Authority became a partner in the $2.8 billion Queens West project in 1984, following bi-state legislation authorizing it to undertake waterfront development projects in New York and New Jersey.  The Port Authority's investments in the project helped pay for land acquisition, planning, infrastructure, design, and other associated costs.  The first building, consisting of a 522-unit residential tower including co-op apartments, was completed and first occupied in 1997.  In 2002, a second residential building was opened, consisting of 435 rental apartments, retail space and vehicle parking.  In 2005, an adjacent 80-apartment senior citizen residence, sponsored and built by the Foundation for Senior Citizens with funding provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, was built.  This year, an additional 425-unit residential tower was opened for prospective tenants.


Stu Loeser/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Steve Coleman (PA)   (212) 435-7777

Neill Coleman   (Housing Preservation & Development)
(212) 863-8076

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