Almost two years ago, the mayor unveiled grand plans to build affordable housing above a railyard in Queens. Community leaders are still waiting to see the fine print. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Nearly two years ago, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a grand vision for an affordable housing development.
"It's an opportunity to keep our city affordable for thousands of New Yorkers, particularly in the borough of Queens. I am referring to Sunnyside Yards," de Blasio said in February 2015.
Planners wanted New Yorkers to picture thousands of units of affordable housing above a 200-acre railyard in Sunnyside, Queens.
But since the proposal was first unveiled, we've haven't heard much. So has it gone off track?
"There is a lot of back and forth happening right now, both within the administration and with some of the engineers we are consulting with about different development scenarios, exactly what is feasible," said Wiley Norvell, communications adviser to de Blasio.
According to the project's timeline, the city was supposed to unveil a feasibility study in the summer of 2016. The administration says that study, which cost about $2.5 million, is not complete. It's coming, they promise, within a few months.
The local councilman, Jimmy Van Bramer, questions whether the whole project has just derailed.
"When you make a big important speech and you are the mayor, people listen and they hear it," Van Bramer said. "We've gone through this study phase, and now, I think people are getting a little agitated about where is it, what's happening here, why aren't we hearing back."
There's no question it's complicated. An array of stakeholders have rights to the property, including the city, Amtrak and the MTA. The railyards use has to remain, which means the city would have to build over it. Which would be expensive.
Already, some of the community is not on board.
"My neighbors in Sunnyside Gardens and Sunnyside, Woodside and Astoria are not eager to embrace that idea," said Lisa Deller of Community Board 2 in Queens.
"We want to make sure that before we go to the community, before we go to local officials, we understand all the challenges that we could possibly face so we can have a really intelligent back and forth with all of our community leaders about what the future of Sunnyside Yards could be," Norvell said.
The mayor's office says this project is for a generation. So even if a shovel gets into the ground, it won't be during de Blasio's tenure.