The Anable Basin site has been a contested 28 acres of waterfront property in Long Island City. Initially, Amazon was eyeing it as a corporate campus, before the tech giant abruptly pulled out of the deal in 2019. After that fell through — four developers hoping to build on the site formed a new coalition known as YourLIC. The stakeholders embarked on a listening tour, holding workshops to meet with community members to discuss what they envision on the site. That is, until the Coronavirus pandemic hit the city and those town halls, were moved online and held virtually instead.
What You Need To Know:
- The Anable Basin site is 28 acres of waterfront in Long Island City, once eyed as a potential headquarters for Amazon.
- A group of developers formed a coalition called YourLIC last year to embark on a listening tour, to see what the community envisions the site will look like.
- Council member Jimmy Van Bramer, who fought the Amazon HQ plan, is critical of the YourLIC development plan.
- YourLIC says they hope to begin the formal Uniform Land Use Review Procedure or ULURP next year.
“You can’t really meaningfully engage any community on anything right about now because people are terrified to leave their homes. And a Zoom town hall just doesn’t really cut it,” said Jimmy Van Bramer, the Councilmember who represents the area.
Van Bramer is critical of the plan YourLIC presented to Community Board 2 in May.
It includes a public park, three new public school sites, a recreation center and a workforce development space.
There are also 1,400 units of affordable housing promised. But Van Bramer is concerned about developers cashing in on the publicly owned land that is a part of this parcel — as well as the size of the towers, which he says are projected to be 60 to 70 stories tall.
“I just think that what’s being proposed and what’s being proposed now is wrong for the community and is certainly wrong for the moment. There’s a lot of talk about vacancies in Long Island City,” said Van Bramer.
Van Bramer faced some harsh criticism from some after he fought against the Amazon HQ2 plan. He says he stands by that decision.
"I am more proud today than I was a year ago with the very strong position we took against this horrific monopoly,” said Van Bramer.
April Simpson, the tenant association president at Queensbridge, the public housing complex just a half mile from the development, says she’s on board with the plan. She says the proposal’s commercial plan will bring 26,000 jobs to the area.
“I think this would be a great opportunity because we need to see more economic growth. And that’s the most important thing. We’re living in poverty levels,” said Simpson.
A spokesperson for YourLIC said the group has paid close attention to Van Bramer’s statements and they hope to continue working constructively with him on a plan that works for everyone. YourLIC plans to begin the formal Uniform Land Use Review Procedure next year.