BY BENJAMIN FANG
A massive proposed rezoning for the Anable Basin in Long Island City has drawn strong support from business leaders in Queens.
Thomas Grech, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, put out a statement expressing his “enthusiastic support” for the proposal. He specifically cited the creation of jobs, economic output and manufacturing space for creative production and light industrial uses.
“Maintaining and fostering the growth of that innovative environment is a top priority of the rezoning proposal at the Anable Basin,” Grech said. “This project is one that will leave a legacy of success to the state, the city of New York and Queens County.”
When fully built out over 15 years, the rezoning is expect to create an estimated 2,200 to 2,600 permanent jobs and more than 10,000 construction-related jobs. The developer behind the proposal, Long Island City-based company Plaxall, estimates that it would generate $450 million in annual economic output.
The project will bring 4,995 units of housing to the waterfront, 25 percent of which will be affordable under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. That means 1,250 units will be affordable for a family of three making $51,540 a year.
Grech also touted the plan’s proposed 335,000 square feet of space for light manufacturing, preserving the neighborhood’s legacy of manufacturing and industrial uses. He said it would be a “precedent-setting commitment.”
Other amenities include 40,000 square feet of space for arts and cultural institutions, and a new 700-seat public school for a growing residential neighborhood. The project would create a multi-level waterfront esplanade on the Anable Basin.
“It has the potential to be a special place in Long Island City,” said Matthew Quigley, a managing director at Plaxall, “and a unique attraction on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront.”
Plaxall owns 12.6 acres of the 14.7-acre site.
Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership, testified at a public hearing in December in support of the project. In a statement, she said the project will build on Long Island City’s unique mix as a place to live, work, design, study and play.
“We applaud the thoughtful, holistic approach into its preparation, so that this extremely piece of NYC’s waterfront can be developed in a way that advances the community and the city it serves,” she said.
Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, also expressed his support for Plaxall and the project.
“The family’s vision for Anable Basin is clearly based on thoughtful research and design that will enhance the community with new housing – a good portion of it affordable – waterfront access and space for small businesses to expand,” he said. “These components are essential in furthering the balanced growth of the borough.”
However, some neighbors expressed skepticism about the project at the public hearing at CUNY Law School. Lisa Deller, chair of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, said while Plaxall has been contributed to Long Island City for decades, it’s important to be fair in the land use process.
“While the family has been good neighbors, it’s critical that good neighbors don’t get a free pass when it comes to zoning,” Deller said.