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Astoria Cove Developer: Without 421-a, We Can’t Move Ahead


The developer has acknowledged it: the 1,700-unit Astoria Cove development, on the banks of the East River in Queens, doesn't make sense to build without the 421-a tax abatement.

John Mavroudis of Alma Realty, the project’s lead developer, tells DNAinfo the project is as good as sunk without the subsidy. In all, 27% of the units at the development were to be deemed affordable—a number arrived at through wrangling between the city and developers. Originally, the plan was for just 20% affordable units, but it appears the hour has passed to renegotiate the project's affordability math.

The 27% number was based on an older version of the law, which was replaced last summer. The most recent version—which has since expired, with no sign of a viable replacement in sight—wouldn’t even have allowed the project as conceived to go forward, as Politico reported about a year ago.

"Projects like this were conceived with the 421-a in mind," Mavroudis told DNAinfo. "We rely on its reauthorization in order to move ahead."

Astoria Cove will join the neighboring Hallets Point project as a casualty of the subsidy’s expiration—at least until a new version can be worked out.

Touting his mandatory inclusionary housing policy in his most recent State of the City address, mayor Bill de Blasio mentioned Astoria Cove as an example of the kind of mixed-income community the policy would help reproduce throughout the five boroughs. [DNA]