City Council approves Special Flushing Waterfront District proposal

Rendering by Hill West Architects

The City Council on Thursday, Dec. 10, voted to approve the Special Flushing Waterfront District’s (SFWD) proposal with a final tally of 39 members in favor and five against, with one abstention. 

The council’s vote for the SFWD proposal follows approvals earlier this week by the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises and its Committee on Land Use reaching an agreement with labor unions to ensure good jobs, community benefits and more for the Special Flushing Waterfront District..

Councilman Peter Koo, whose district includes Flushing, said the SFWD proposal will help to revitalize the downtown Flushing economy, as the city begins to recover from COVID-19.  

“We have all struggled in this pandemic, and we simply cannot afford to continue our demands for the perfect win over the good,” Koo said. “This is a good compromise that addresses many of the issues we heard at many public hearings, provide good union paying jobs, affordable housing and community benefits.”

The three developers behind the Special Flushing Waterfront Development include F&T Group, United Construction & Development Group, and Young Nian Group, known collectively as FWRA, LLC. 

The SFWD proposal seeks to revitalize 29 acres of inactive and underutilized land that the developers say will provide substantial public benefits such as a privately funded and maintained road network and a 160,000-square-foot waterfront promenade along Flushing Creek that will both be publicly accessible. The plan also includes 1,725 residential units, including affordable housing, 879 hotel keys, office and community facility, retail space and parking spaces to help alleviate traffic along College Point Boulevard. 

The developers said the council’s vote in favor of the project provides a better future for Flushing when needed most. 

“After decades of false starts and stops to activate the waterfront, we could not be more honored to be part of the solution. Today and together, we move Flushing forward,” the team said in a statement. 

The developers expressed gratitude to Councilmembers Peter Koo, Francisco Moya, Rafael Salamanca, Speaker Corey Johnson, and the Department of City Planning for their support leading up to the final vote. 

“Council Member Koo has been an incredible advocate for the future of Flushing and the immigrant communities he serves. With his support, Queens and New York City will move forward with this next exciting chapter,” the team said.  

Former Queens Borough President, the late Claire Shulman, received recognition from the group for her “support, vision, and wavering passion” for the progression of Queens by driving the project forward. 

“Bringing this project to fruition is a testament to her work and legacy,” the team said. 

This story first appeared on QNS.com