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Durst Pumps Brakes At Halletts Point Amid Showdown With City Hall

Rendering of Halletts Point, the $1.5B megaproject in Queens the Durst Organization plans to build
Rendering of Halletts Point, the $1.5B megaproject in Queens that The Durst Organization plans to build.

The Durst Organization is halting plans to build thousands of apartments at its Halletts Point megaproject in Queens after talks with City Hall over financing reached a standstill.

Durst will no longer negotiate with the administration over $21.6M in funds from the city, the company told Politico. That funding was arranged in 2015 as part of a tax break with the state.

In the intervening years, the city's rules governing inclusionary zoning have changed, requiring Durst to designate 5% more of the project's units as affordable. The developer contended that would make the project unfeasible, while Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration saying it won’t provide the funding without the extra units.

“We are postponing the project until the next administration in the hope they will share the enthusiasm that the local community and we have for the development,” Durst spokesperson Jordan Barowitz told Politico. “A project as large and complex as Halletts Point requires a partnership between the developer and the city.”

A mayoral spokesperson told Politico that it wouldn't “cut special deals” to allow greater profits for developers and less affordable housing. The mayor’s office implied Durst was exaggerating the strain the extra affordable units would be on Durst's margins. The $1.5B project is ultimately set to feature seven buildings and more than 2,000 units. The first building, 10 Halletts Point, opened last year.

The latest hitch is just the latest in an ongoing feud between the developer and the city. In 2017, the de Blasio administration pulled subsidies for the project, which slowed the project's construction and slowed repairs needed at a nearby public housing development. Douglas Durst, the head of the family business, also entered into a public spat with de Blasio over campaign donations.

“It’s the nature of my family’s business, and, candidly, probably the nature a bit of my family,” Helena Rose Durst said of her family's public relationship with politicians in a 2018 interview with Bisnow. “I think it’s in our nature to want to have politicians to be able to live up to what we think is good ordinance.”