What is Astoria Not for Sale?

Astoria Not For Sale is a diverse group of community members and grassroots organizations (CAAAV, Woodside on the Move, Astoria Tenant Union, and Justice for All Coalition) dedicated to stopping the ongoing gentrification and displacement of longterm working class, immigrant, communities of color in the neighborhood.

Astoria is a vibrant, booming community with a rich diverse history. It has been a place where people of all backgrounds have lived because of its affordability and accessibility. Astoria is a beautiful neighborhood and it does not need the billionaire luxury development project known as Innovation QNS to “revitalize” it.

Innovation QNS threatens to destroy the fabric that makes Astoria such a special place: its immigrant, working class communities.

Why Say No to Innovation QNS?

Innovation QNS is a $2 billion development project by Larry Silverstein, Kaufman Studios, and Bedrock Realty, which will turn Astoria into a soulless, sanitized version of midtown Manhattan. It will have a significant environmental impact, and it will not be not be affordable or accessible to the community, especially those who truly need deeply affordable housing. It will flood the area with majority high-end luxury housing and drastically impact the surrounding community of Bangladeshi, Spanish-speaking, working class, and other residents who are at most risk for displacement.

Key aspects of Innovation QNS:

  • Five towers above 20 stories – the tallest at 27 stories – and multiple others above 10 stories, adding 2800 luxury apartments that are well above market rate.
  • Most apartments will be studios and 1-bedrooms that cost more than $3000.*
  • The “affordable” lottery housing units offered are the minimum legally required 25% of units needed to comply with the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program. The qualifying incomes will be out of reach to those who are the most housing insecure.
  • Developers have not done outreach to local immigrant residents and the majority of small business owners on and in the immediate development area.
  • There is NO new public space: the open space is all privately owned. It is technically publicly accessible, but mostly enclosed among the development’s buildings.
  • This project will bring 7000+ new residents and a proposed 1300+ parking spaces. This means even more cars clogging up the neighborhood bringing more pollution and less safety to our streets.
  • It will increase traffic, pollution, and put a strain on existing public transit, like the Steinway Street M/R subway.
  • NO improvements will be made to any of the surrounding infrastructure, including the power grid and public transportation: the developers do NOT have to pay for added infrastructure.
  • This project will bring huge profits to the developers at the expense of working class neighbors. Billionaires will be getting tax breaks from this project for 30+ years!
  • Many of the “supporters” in the paid IQ ads circulating on social media have ties to the development team; some receive or will receive direct or indirect compensation/donations, space, or other benefits. Few actually live in Astoria, especially the leaders of the non-profits.

*Based on current market rate pricing for Silverstein Properties and BedRock Real Estate apartments.

Here’s what Councilmember Julie Won has to say about first Innovation QNS Town Hall:

When members of the community were finally able to speak, we did not hear calls for more luxury residences or luxury retail. We heard the need for greater affordability above the bare minimum set by Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) to ensure that future development does not further raise rents and displace the working-class. 75% of the apartments here would be market rate, with many of those set aside as “affordable,” yet still astronomically out of reach for most people in our district.

Council Member Julie Won: Innovation Queens Leaves Neighborhood Behind