ASTORIA — The developers behind the massive Hallets Point development say the passage of a new housing-tax-abatement program will allow them to move forward in constructing the remaining six buildings planned for the megaproject, which stalled last year after the state's 421-a program ended.
The Durst Organization, which broke ground on the first building at Hallets Point in early 2016, halted plans for rest of the development when the 421-a program expired just a day later — saying it could not afford to finish the build-out without the tax breaks the program provides.
But now the developer says its plans are back on track after the state legislature passed the Affordable New York program in its budget deal earlier this month. The program represents a replacement for 421-a that provides property-tax abatements for developers in some neighborhoods if their projects include a certain percentage of affordable units.
The Affordable New York program has been criticized by housing advocates as a giveaway to developers, and a study in November estimated that the new program could cost the city billions in lost tax revenue.
Durst Spokesman Jordan Barowitz credited the tax abatement as essential to the completion of Hallets Point, which will create 2,400 new apartments on the Astoria waterfront, nearly 500 of which will be affordable.
"Without a replacement for 421-a, we would not have been able to continue with buildings two through seven," Barowitz told DNAinfo New York. "We're very pleased we’ll be able to move forward with the project and help revitalize the Hallets community, and create a bunch of jobs and hundreds of units of affordable housing."
The Times Ledger was the first to report on the project's revival.
The first building at Hallets Point — which broke ground before 421-a expired — is already under construction at First Street and 26th Avenue. It's slated to open in the spring of 2018 and will have 405 apartments, 81 of them affordable, as well as a supermarket.
The Durst Organization plans to break ground on the next building on First Street between 26th and 27th avenues in June, according to Barowitz. Construction on another building on the campus of NYCHA's Astoria Houses, on 27th Avenue between Second and Third streets, will start in November.
Each building will take between two years and 30 months to complete, Barowitz noted.
Meanwhile, another developer planning a major housing project on the Hallets peninsula has put its development site on the market, according to published reports.
Alma Realty, one of the developers behind the proposed 1,700-unit Astoria Cove development, has reportedly put the 9-acre waterfront site up for sale for $350 million, Crain's reported earlier this month.
The five-building project was approved by the City Council in 2014, but stalled last year after its owners said they could not move forward with construction until 421-a was renewed.
A spokesman for Astoria Cove's developers declined to comment.