Major changes could be coming to Astoria, Queens, as plans were revealed today for Innovation QNS, a five-block, $2 billion mixed-use project next to the Kaufman Arts District. If approved, the development could bring up to 2,700 units of housing to the neighborhood.
The project is being developed through a partnership between Kaufman Astoria Studios, a major entertainment player in the neighborhood that’s created classic film and TV since 1921, and developers Silverstein Properties and BedRock Real Estate Partners. New York firm ODA is handling the master planning and design aspects.
The proposed Innovation QNS site encompasses five blocks bordered by 35th and 36 th Avenues and Northern Boulevard. From the renderings, it appears that the project will convert an unused, formerly industrial portion of the neighborhood into a mixed-use district with boxy, subdued stone-clad towers and integrate awning-covered outdoor gathering spaces.
Aside from the aforementioned mixed-income housing, 700 units of which have been earmarked as permanently affordable, Innovation QNS would carve out 200,000 square feet for retail and 250,000 square feet of office space for creative industries, startups, and small businesses. That also includes two acres of new open space united by walkable paths, spaces for a farmers’ market, and a multiplex theater, senior housing, health and wellness facilities, and a full grocery store dubbed the “World Market.”
“Today, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reactivate five largely dormant blocks as a truly sustainable community,” ODA founder Eran Chen said in a statement, “built in such a way that it will have a positive impact on the lives of people for years to come. It’s this perspective on the future of urban living–to put people first–that drives us.”
The designs revealed today are the culmination of over two years of dialogue between the developers, ODA, and local stakeholders on how to improve the neighborhood. Those conversations will continue, as the team is hoping to put their Innovation QNS proposal before the New York City Department of City Planning in 2021. If all goes as planned, the developers hope to begin construction by 2023, with the first phases opening in 2025. No local residents will be displaced as the proposed site doesn’t currently hold any housing, though all businesses operating there (including the popular Regal UA Kaufman Astoria & RPX movie theater) will be relocated.