October 21, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The showdown over whether to approve or disprove Alma Realty’s proposal to develop the Queens waterfront made its way to the City Council on Monday. During the hearing many council members expressed concern that the proposal doesn’t include enough affordable units for low- to moderate-income folk.
Alma Realty is proposing to build a massive mixed-use development on the waterfront known as Astoria Cove. The proposal includes 20 percent affordable housing—about 345 units out of 1,700—with the possibility that 30 percent might be reserved for affordable housing.
The building trades rallied outside City Hall on Thursday to call on the City Council to vote no on the project because they say the company doesn’t want to hire union labor.
Gary LaBarbera, president of the NYC Building and Construction Trades Council, said in an interview that the building trades would continue to protest without an agreement that includes union labor.
“It’s not too late for them. All they need to do is sit down with the building trades and 32BJ and come to terms on an agreement that makes sense. Build this project union, create jobs and be a good corporate citizen. But if they continue to resist, we’ll continue to urge the City Council to vote no, a red light on this project.”
In the accompanying video, we interviewed John Mavroudis, a project manager with Alma Realty, to get his reaction to Monday’s testimony.
“We were happy to be able to present and show them our proposal, hear their comments and questions and try to respond as best we could. More importantly, hear what the public had to say in terms of who had any concerns or comments related to this development,” said Mavroudis.
Considering the opposition to the project without revisions, we then asked Mavroudis what has to happen for the project to proceed.
“I think we just have to find the perfect formula.”