Anable Basin project sunk

The city has pulled out of talks for a massive revitalization of the Anable Basin section of Long Island City.

Amazon is not coming to Long Island City and now neither is a mixed-use, 28-acre development with commercial space, affordable housing, parks, improvements to drainage, sewers and sustainability and up to three schools proposed by four major developers and landowners in the Anable Basin area.

City Hall announced Thursday that it is pulling out of talks with Your LIC, a consortium of developers that, along with the city, owns or controls the 28 acres.

The group was assembled by the city last year after Amazon withdrew plans for a second corporate headquarters complex in February 2019 under heated opposition from area politicians and community groups.

But the city reportedly wanted the developers to build up infrastructure outside of the project area at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

In an email to the Chronicle on Friday, Plaxall Managing Director Paula Kirby, said the company will continue looking out for its neighbors.

"Our family has been part of this community for 75 years and continues to believe in a vision for our Anable Basin property that builds on LIC's history as a center of innovation, provides workforce and job opportunities, mixed-income housing, and a public waterfront at the Basin," Kirby said. "Our family remains committed to that vision. And we will continue to work hand in hand with the community toward creating a better future for LIC residents, Queens and New York City." 

A spokesperson for Riverlinc, the name of one company in the consortium, was far more direct.

“We are incredibly proud of our work on Your LIC, which had the most robust community outreach process of any project in New York City," the spokesperson said in an email to the Chronicle. "As a result, we developed a proposal that would have brought high-quality permanent jobs, union representation, affordable housing, a seven-acre public park, resilient infrastructure improvements and an ambitious green energy strategy, three new public schools, and more to the Long Island City waterfront. We believe now more than ever that building new commercial developments, especially outside of Manhattan, is critical to New York City’s future.

"It’s incredibly disappointing that when presented with the opportunity to bring 26,000 jobs to Queens that the City failed to do so – again.”

 Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, was livid discussing the developments Friday.

“I find the news coming out of City Hall to be incredulous,” Grech said. “The idea that despite the fact that the city and state are both broke, they are not wiling to sit down and consider a well-thought-out economic development plan is beyond the pale.

“The age of Dr. No has to stop,” Grech continued. “And we should be grateful that there are developers that are still interested in investing in the City of New York. Our elected leaders need to have ideas that lead to jobs, economic development and opportunities for New Yorkers.”

On the other side was Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who said on Twitter that he got the news from the Mayor’s Office on Thursday.

“And important news it is!” he posted. I came out against YourLIC while other electeds came out in support —as it was! This doesn’t end the fight, though, it merely changes it a bit. Leaves the fate of public lands for later.

Van Bramer retweeted a response from the Mayor’s Office in a Politico article saying that the city remains “committed to Long Island City’s future as a thriving mixed use community. That means supporting proposals that account for the development’s critical infrastructure needs and impacts, like open space, transportation and water and sewer. ... we are disappointed that the proposed project does not deliver on those requirements.”

UPDATE

This story has been edited to include comments from Riverlinc and Plaxall Managing Director Paula Kirby.

CORRECTION

This story originally misidentified the meaning of Riverlinc. It is the consortium that controls the northernmost parcel in the development area. We regret the error.

(1) comment

Linnster

I absolutely cannot fathom why the City would make it so difficult for this consortium to build in LIC. Amazon is providing 26,000 jobs, there will be schools, transportation, affordable housing and commercial space, not to mention that at some point, they will be paying taxes. Clearly, de Blasio and his cohorts need to be overruled on this project and then voted out of office.

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