Chetrit Group says it wants to redevelop an eight-acre complex in Maspeth
by Joe Anuta, Crains New York
The owner of an eight-acre industrial complex straddling train tracks in Maspeth, Queens, wants to propose a mixed-use project on the site.
The oddly-shaped property at 57-46 56th St. is currently home to a series of buildings used by various warehouse and industrial companies, and is bisected by a set of tracks used by the Long Island Railroad. The parcel is owned by Manhattan development firm the Chetrit Group, which said Wednesday that its plans are still in the early stages, but that it would like to propose something that fits in with the low-rise housing that flanks the property.
Winning approval for a rezoning could prove difficult, as the parcel lies within one of the city's Industrial Business Zones, which the de Blasio administration pledged to protect from residential development, in keeping with a 2015 commitment. But the Chetrit Group said that the site both lies at the edge of the district, and is across the street from existing housing, which would help make the case for redevelopment.
The site has been mentioned this year by City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley in connection with her critique of City Hall’s homeless policy.
In August, she sent a letter to the mayor encouraging him to proactively search for more opportunities to develop permanent, low-income housing, rather than rely on converting hotels to homeless shelters, which has led to vehement protests and lawsuits in her district.
"We need affordable housing, not another shelter-hotel," she wrote in the letter to the mayor. "In recent months, two real estate developers who are eager to build residential housing units in Maspeth and Woodside have approached me, looking to start a conversation about a zoning change."
The Chetrit Group sat down with the councilwoman in 2013 and 2015 to talk about its willingness to go through with a rezoning, though she said that no concrete proposals were discussed at either meeting. She added that the local community board had previously voted to rezone another property in the IBZ, allowing residential units to be built on top of manufacturing facilities.
"My point in sending a letter to the mayor was that we are a community that would be open to discussion [for affordable housing]," Crowley said. "And there are potential sites, because I know of these two."