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Queens West moves forward.

The long awaited $2.3 billion Hunter's Point project, rechristened as Queens West, is on the road to being built.

A request for proposals (RFP) for the Builders/Pavers Plan was issued last November and other site preparation type RFP's will follow shortly. By late spring, the architectural plans should be in place with developers chosen by summer.

The mixed-use Queens waterfront project is being developed as a tripartite venture by New York City, the New York State Urban Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York.

When completed, it will encompass 9.3 million square feet of residential, commercial and community buildings including an elementary school and a recreation center with a pool. A 1.25mile waterfront esplanade is designed as part of the public access features.

The residential portion will consist of approximately 6,400 apartments with 10 percent of those affordable housing. Supporting retail and 100 percent parking is also planned, comprising some 5,628 spaces.

The site is bounded in the north by the Anabelle Basin-and in the south by Newtown Creek. One tall high-rise will be constructed at a facing angle at each end of the site, and another bulkier building in the middle. The rest of the complex will be at lower, staggered heights to add variety to the skyline while water's edge buildings will be the shortest.

Rosins K. Abramson, the newly appointed president of Queens West Development Corp. (QWDC), said, "This is a project that's ready to go. All the approvals have been obtained there is no more ULURP [land review process]." The project was approved by the Board of Estimate in 1990.

Abramson, former executive director and counsel to the chairman of the New York City Department of Planning, and former president and CEO of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, will supervise the RFP process. She will negotiate acquisitions and agreements and act as liaison with landowners, project sponsors, governmental agencies and community groups.

QWDC is completing all the pre-- development work including the design guidelines, Abramson said, and is issuing infrastructure RFP's for drainage, utilities and the park. A developer's RFP will be issued this spring, as well. Design work for the Builders/Pavers will be completed at the end of April, she added.

A Drainage Plan RFP for run-off and sewage is expeaed to go out within the next month or so. The Design of Streets and Utilities Phase I RFP should be issued in March while the Waters Edge Structures, Park, and Esplanade RFP is expected to be issued in February or March.

A team of two architectural firms Gruzen Samton Steinglass/Beyer Blinder Belie - as the master planners have been working on the project since 1985. The revisions and updates of the design guidelines will be completed by May. 'So that all the pieces should be in place by May or June to start developer selection,' Abramson added.

The project has been compared to Battery Park City. The interesting difference between this site and Battery Park City, however, Abramson noted, is that two-thirds of the 70-acre site is privately owned. 'Whereas at Battery Park City the public sector had complete control, we don't have it here,' she said.

Roosevelt Is]and was also owned by the government, she added.

Condemnation is one choice for obtaining control but could become a many years-long and drawn out process, she agreed, as owners jockey in court for large payments. With shovels poised, Abramson is prepared to get the project underway in the best fashion for the city.

Another option, she said, is working with the site owners if they are 'responsible potential developer owners.' "Because if they own the site, and they meet the standards, then we can work with them,' Abramson said. 'That's an option we didn't have at Battery Park City."

Abramson calls this aspect an additional opportunity. The notion of public-private partnerships is an innovative trend, she explained, that is becoming more expected in city planning opportunities.

"Government doesn't have to do it all itself,' she said, adding that they always have the option to condemn if the site owners are not 'responsible' or not interested in developing or are counter to the plan.

The site owners include the Pepsi-Cola Company; a tennis court operator who has fought the project in court; and a consortium called MO Associates (standing for Manhattan Overlook) that is made up of a subsidiary of Dreyfus called the Trotwood Crop.; a subsidiary of the Zeckendorf Organization; and foreign investors. 'So there are substantial site owners that have been there for some time,' Abramson noted.

The MO Associates land and most of that owned by the Port Authority is slated for residential units. Abramson explained the mix will reflect the availability and makeup of both current housing incentive programs and possibly some that might come out of the Clinton administration. 'To a great extent that has to do with financing and the market,' she said, 'but it will be up to the developer.'

Playgrounds are planned for all different age groups and uses including soccer and basketball. The playgrounds, open spaces and passive parks comprise about seven acres. The Gateway are waterfront will also boast piers with ferry service.

The New York State government issued an RFP for comprehensive ferry service last fall and Hunter's Point is one of the stops to be included. Abramson said the pier is a seven-minute ferry .ride to midtown Manhattan.

MO Associates has been acquiring land in the Gateway residential area for some time. That section runs from 47th road south to 50th Avenue, and while it lies in the north central site, is slated to be developed first.

Consisting of four buildings comprising 1.6 million square feet on lots 8 to 11, this section will contain approximately 1,400 to 1,600 units, depending on their size. Supporting retail will include a supermarket, day care, a community center and swimming 0001. The highest tower would rise to 390 feet, two others to 300 feet and the others at 130 feet and 180 feet. The piers will extend from this area which is otherwise set back a bit from the natural waterfront line of the entire site.

Phase II is the northernmost area and is owned by Pepsi-Cola Bottling and will be primarily residential. The 2.8 million square feet is expected to contain about 2,700 units, 10,000 square feet of supporting retail and a 75,000 square foot elementary school. One tall residential building would rise to 390 feet with the other six buildings ranging in height from 170 feet to 250 feet.

All water's edge buildings would be limited to six to eight stories. These parcels 1 through 7 would also contain a large active recreational park between parcels 7 and 4 as well as a large, passive use park off the East River.

The southernmost 20 acres is owned by the Port Authority and a former Daily News plant is still standing there. It will be part of the third phase to be developed. This residential complex is set up along a circular roadway and is for the most part surrounded by water.

Here, the' site plan architects have envisioned two large 270-foot curving buildings adjoining a more inland slender high-rise of 390 feet to complete the sun-dial pattern. A bulky, twin-towered 270 foot building lies just to the north on parcel 17 and abuts the commercial core.

"It really is the best of both worlds." Abramson observed. 'The best of New York's urban design features together

with the quality of life that people are used to in the outer boroughs.'

The commercial seCtion will be constructed during Phase III and might not be finished until the next century. It abuts Borden Avenue and runs from 50th Ave. in the north to 54th Avenue to the south and is located near current industrial and commercial areas.

Fred Botur has been operating a tennis facility on a portion of that property for 15 years and Abramson said he has site control of most of the commercial core. A lagstit he brought to stop the projeCt on environmental grounds was won by the city in 1991.

This business seCtion is slated to include a 350-room hotel and two office buildings, one of which will rise to 390 feet. The other two buildings would be approximately 190 feet tall. Restaurants are expeCted to occupy the water's edge retail portions while banks and other lunchtime-type stores would take the land side.

Queens borough president Claire Shulman has been very interested in obtaining more hospital resources for the Western part of Queens. QWDC cannot include that facility, however, until there is a need proven by the city.

New York Hospital and Mt. Sinai are currently conducting a survey to determine the medical needs in Queens. 'There is no sophisticated care in the borough,' explained Dan Andrews, a spokesman for Shulman.

About 60 percent of the residents leave the borough for specialized care, he said, particularly for cardiac problems. While there are 17 hospitals in Queens, he added, Astoria Hospital is the only one in the western part of the borough. Astoria Hospital has 200-plus beds, but he noted, cannot provide the sophisticated care. 'If you have a heart attack at the Queens side of the bridge, you better turn around and go back to Manhattan,' he added.

Queens West offers a good site for such service. he said.

A biotech research facility, teaching hospital, and living quarters would be included in such a medical complex as proposed to the Queens West Board last month. It is unclear if low-level radioactive waste as normally found in hospital and research use would require reopening the ULURP process.

Abramson said QWDC cannot review the medical center proposal for inclusion until there is a need found by the city.
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Title Annotation:waterfront development project being implemented by city of New York, New York; Port Authority of New York in Queens, New York, New York and New York State Urban Development Corp.
Author:Weiss, Lois
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Jan 27, 1993
Previous Article:Nuisance proceeding held non-discriminatory.
Next Article:Condo for non-profits to announce buyers.

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