December 3, 2022

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The spotlight has been on the Innovation QNS development in Astoria after contentious negotiations.
But what also passed this week by the City Council was Innovative Urban Village in the East New York section of Brooklyn.
“We want to do what’s best for the community, especially during this crisis,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “And I can’t stress enough: The crisis has to take priority.”
Creating housing stock has also meant fighting for lower rents.
So far this year, the City Council’s Land Use Committee has approved, or will soon approve, 42 projects for more than 12,000 units of housing with over 63% of them affordable.
About 45% of Innovation QNS’ 3,200 units will be affordable.
Meanwhile, 100% of Urban Village’s 2,000 units will be affordable.
“Not every district is the same. And the needs of all districts are certainly very, very different,” Speaker Adams said.
Multiple factors, including financing and land acquisition costs, play a role in determining how much developers and Mayor Eric Adams’ administration will concede to councilmembers negotiating for greater affordability.
Councilmember Charles Barron insisted it’s about holding your ground.
“We have no market-rate housing in our community. And we stop gentrification,” he told NY1. “And this is how you did it with the power of the City Council, the people’s power.”
But the leverage he had for Urban Village was different than what Councilmember Julie Won had for Innovation QNS.
The market rate in East New York is lower than the market rate in Astoria.
One of the Urban Village developers is the Christian Cultural Center, a mega-church invested in the community’s well-being, while one of the Innovation QNS developers is Silverstein Properties, a real estate behemoth.
Won said her community had wanted 55% affordability.
“The developers and I went back and forth every single day for the few weeks,” she told NY1’s “Mornings On 1.” “And they said, Look, we can get you to 55, if you’re willing to compromise to MIH Option 2 or MIH Option 3. That means that I would have to let go of deeper affordability levels to get there.”
Won focuses on the more than 600 units she secured for her formerly homeless neighbors.
Mayor Adams applauded Innovation QNS as a game-changer.
He celebrated 8,500 units of housing his team advanced this month.
They include 2,500 apartments in Willets Point, Queens — part of the deal he announced for a Major League Soccer stadium.
The housing in Willets Point would be 100% affordable, in part because it would be built on city-owned land.
The project still requires approval from the City Council.


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