Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Best Plan For Hunters Point South: Scrap It!

I've done alot of thinking about Hunters Point South lately. I've attended the scoping meeting, the community feedback meeting, and of course, spent countless days wondering the LIC waterfront, which I love, pondering the opportunities. I have heard plan upon plan, too many plans really for such a limited space. I have come to my conclusion as to what the EDC should do with Hunter's Point South, that is, scrap the plan, and sell it! If the city really wants to achieve it's lofty goals of creating an abundance of "affordable housing" selling would be the best plan. Here is what I would do:
1- Create a 15 acre park on the South West Point. With incredible City and East River views, this park could be one of the City's best. LIC needs parks.
2- Sell the remaining 15 waterfront acres to a developer. Build 3000 units (not 5000 as the city envisions). Require the developer to make 20% of the units available to low and middle income as condos not rentals. The remaining 2400 units would be free market, and I'd be willing to guess that the city should be able to command $600 Million for the property (or about $250 per buildable market square foot) under those terms. So the City would get 600 "affordable" units for free while netting $600 Million and a 15 acre park. The proceeds from the sale could potentially build thousands of "affordable" units in another area. The good news does not stop there.
3- Since the park would be on the South side of the Point, "Lot B" (The 15 acre privately owned parcel where the Budweiser plant now stands), would have an unobstructed city and river view, and hence would become far more valuable. In exchange for an up zone, the city could ask for 25% "affordable" housing condo units, and the high school that they want to build in the area. With 3000 units anticipated, you get another 750 affordable units and a free school, not bad.
So, in total, the city get 15 acres of much needed parkland, 1350 "affordable" condo units, a free high school, and $600 Million for thousands of additional "affordable" units throughout the city. The city will also benefit long term by a substantial increase in property values, which translates into more income via property taxes, transfer taxes, mortgage recording taxes, etc..
The residents of Hunters Point benefit by getting the much needed park and high school, lower density (2000 less units than the city wants to cram in), a more stable, balanced and desirable neighborhood, and higher property values, which again benefits the city.
Just an idea, throwing it out there, comments welcome.


  1. I agree in that buildings developed to meet free market demands, and condos instead of rentals, would be preferable. I would not like to see low income units, but if necessary they should be minimized.

  2. A fresher look on Hunters Point South - there is a transportation issue as the walk to the Vernon Jackson Subway is a bit of a stroll so the city does need to create a bus line to transport people to the Vernon area. The water taxi does not seem to be a viable option as the cost of operation is high and the ridership unpredictable.