ASTORIA — A New Jersey real estate firm looking to build a $1 billion development in Hallets Point, including a new water taxi stop, and beautify a run-down portion of the increasingly popular Astoria waterfront has received a boost from the state Legislature.
Lincoln Equities Group plans to entirely change the appearance of the 7-acre waterfront site, including construction of seven residential buildings with approximately 2,200 units, 20 percent of them set aside as affordable housing, said Andrew Moesel, a spokesman for Lincoln Equities Hallets Point project.
The development has already gained support from the Legislature, which last week passed a bill to make it easier to rezone the area by transferring the ownership of the land from the State Parks Department to the New York City Housing Authority.
The City Council still must approve the rezoning of the industrial area before the project, which is a public-private collaboration, can move forward.
The proposed buildings will have different heights ranging from 20 to 40 stories, with many setbacks and view corridors to allow light and air, according to the developer’s website.
Lincoln Equities also plans to build a landscaped public waterfront esplanade with pedestrian walkways and bike paths for the entire community. Accommodations will be made for a water taxi stop.
The development would be the latest in Western Queens, which has been experiencing marked growth in the last decade. Many of the buildings have been built along the nearby Long Island City waterfront.
Sen. Michael Gianaris, who represents the area, supports the project, saying the growth "helps boost our economy by attracting more jobs as well as residents to fill them." But he is also cautious about the development's potential impact.
"While the Hallets Point development can be valuable in this way, we must ensure that any additional growth occurs responsibly so that neighborhood infrastructure is not overburdened and existing residents do not suffer as a result," Gianaris said.
Moesel said the project would benefit the area, including the nearby Astoria Houses, a public housing project, which would get additional open space and recreational areas.
One of the goals, Moesel said, is to "add several new amenities, both recreational and commercial to the residents of Astoria Houses."
"That area lacks many services and this project will revitalize that neighborhood and make it a better place to live," he added.
The neighborhood would get supermarket, drug store and restaurants, according to the developer.