The City Council voted Tuesday to approve Innovation QNS, a $2 billion development that will bring 3,200 apartments to Astoria, Queens, after months of contentious debate over the project’s share of affordable units.
Councilwoman Julie Won, who represents the area, received both praise and pushback from elected officials in her borough for pressing the developers in recent months to double the affordable units. The project is now set to have 45% of its total apartments be below market rate, including 825 units reserved for families considered “extremely” or “very low” income.
“The negotiations -- I always knew that it was going to be a compromise,” Won said in voting for the project Tuesday at the Council’s November stated meeting. “I just want to thank everyone for holding the line with me. We know that we’re doing the best that we can in the circumstances we’re in, during an affordable housing crisis.”
The development passed the Council by a 46-1 vote. Councilman Charles Barron was the only member to vote against it.
The development will cover a five-block area, making it the largest new housing project brought before the Council this year. It includes the creation of a new school in Long Island City, as well as funding for repairs to the nearby Woodside Houses, a NYCHA development.
Queens elected officials, including Borough President Donovan Richards and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, repeatedly weighed in on the project during the negotiation project. Richards called for Won to approve an earlier version of the plan, citing the need for more apartments in the area, while Ocasio-Cortez criticized the development for having a significant number of luxury units.
The city is facing a significant housing crisis, with rents hitting all-time highs and construction of new homes not keeping pace with the city’s own estimated needs.