Author Topic: The development threat facing Jackson Heights is greater than we thought  (Read 9098 times)

Offline lmaniace

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We will tell you how you can help tame this threat, but first the details.

It's no secret that high-rises well above the six-stories that's been the max in Jackson Heights will be rising here. At least five buildings that would break though that ceiling are proposed, approved or under construction - including two 13-story buildings - a photo of one we've attached here. The Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) the Queensboro Houses Association and others included at least one elected official are pushing city government act on our seven-year-old application to expand the existing landmark district before it is too late.

First, let's get one thing out of the way.  We are not trying to freeze all development or prevent new housing from being built. We will explain later,  but back to the threat.

We've already seen massive development in Long Island City and part of Astoria, as well as Flushing and other parts of Queens, now it appears to be JH's turn. Several months ago a developer bought two, two-story brick buildings on 89th Street off 37th Avenue and filed plans to put up a nine-story building there. This should SCARE you if like JH's planned mix of smaller buildings with apartment buildings because this is the first time developers bought multi-family buildings in Jackson Heights in order to tear them down to put up much bigger structures.

Think about this: these will not contain so-called affordable apartments (even those not affordable for most local renters,) but they will burden our local infrastructure: our already crowded transit system, parks, schools and streets.

As we said above landmarking does not halt development, witness the six-story building that went up on 37th Avenue near 84th Street a few years back or "Kelly's Manor," a five-story building to replace a one-story structure already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

What land DOES do is it requires new buildings to fit in with the character of our neighborhood. The fact is
the buildings and their gardens outside the historic district are of the same high quality of the buildings designated as an historic district in 1993. 

How you can help:
Remember, complaining about how bad this is on this or other site won't help.
Instead, contact Landmarks Preservation Commission Executive Director, Sarah Carroll.
1. Place "Expand the Jackson Heights Historic District" in subject line or atop your letter.
2. Tell her know why the landmark extension is important to you. USE YOUR OWN WORDS, but you may want to cover some of these ideas:
* The buildings in the proposed district extension are just as worthy as those within the existing district.
* Jackson Heights' architecture and building gardens create a distinctive and beautiful community appreciated by NYC’s most diverse population.
You can email her at: scarroll@lpc.nyc.gov

and please copy us at expandJHdistrict@gmail.com

Or write her at:
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Executive Director Sarah Carroll.
The Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor North
New York, NY 10007


Offline NYC Peromyscus

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We will tell you how you can help tame this threat, but first the details.

First, let's get one thing out of the way.  We are not trying to freeze all development or prevent new housing from being built. We will explain later,  but back to the threat.


Really? Looking forward to that explanation, because this seems like NIMBYism at its finest.

Offline JK resident

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How can a person write a letter to support this proposal if I have no idea what this new proposed landmark district looks like? You show a building under construction on 72nd Street that also shows some siding clad wood houses. Are these the homes that you view as landmark worthy? The ominous word “threat” seems to imply some scare tactics from the 1950’s red scare.

Offline Lilybell

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The Mayor and DM Glen LOVE what they call "vertical housing".  In their vision, it's one of the few viable options that would enable a larger amount of moderate/low income housing.

I'm not saying I agree or disagree, so don't yell at me.

Offline abcdefghijk

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New York is a vertical city.  Since the 1920's.

We are part of New York.


Offline Alfster

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New York is a vertical city.  Since the 1920's.

We are part of New York.

Exactly.  NYC (as most true cities) are vertical cities.  If people clamor for more "affordable housing" or just housing in general, space must be made for them.  So, various building codes must be changed and lower density housing would necessarily need to be removed to make room for higher density housing.  It's a natural progression of the overall growth of NYC over time. 

Offline jeanette

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Where's the evidence that building more housing creates affordable rents? Not theory, not MBA bs, but real world evidence. Is housing getting less expensive in LIC?

Offline Alfster

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Where's the evidence that building more housing creates affordable rents? Not theory, not MBA bs, but real world evidence. Is housing getting less expensive in LIC?

Of course, not, but much of LIC is or is transforming into luxury housing.  There are still many areas in Queens and elsewhere that have illegal SRO or converted cellars/basements.  There is a great amount of demand for housing, but what is considered "affordable housing" is still beyond the reach of some.  If more housing isn't created it's likely that the housing market will continue to only provide ever increasing rents and home prices.

Offline NYC Peromyscus

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Where's the evidence that building more housing creates affordable rents? Not theory, not MBA bs, but real world evidence. Is housing getting less expensive in LIC?

Manhattan, Brooklyn, and NW Queens have started to see the effect of more housing coming online:

https://therealdeal.com/2018/05/10/brooklyn-queens-see-another-record-breaking-month-for-concessions/

From the blog post: "For the 11th time in the past 12 months, the net effective median rent in Brooklyn dropped, seeing a 2.9 percent year-over-year decrease to $2,686. In Queens, the net effective median rent fell 11.7 percent year over year to $2,646, marking the eighth decline in the past nine months.
The year-over-year size of concessions went up in both boroughs as well. It increased to 1.8 months from 1.4 months in Brooklyn, and rose to 1.6 months from 1.1 months in Queens."

The article attributes these drops primarily to all of the new developments (esp the concessions).

We've been in a period of incredible increases for a number of years because inventory (especially for starter-level homes) has been very low. Thus competition has driven up sale prices and rents.  Might finally start coming back to earth as more inventory becomes available and changes to tax code alters incentives for homeowners.

Offline hum@njukebox1

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Wouldn't it be nice if whatever develops......was nice.  Perhaps a contemporary take on the JH historic district.  I'm surprised at the response thus far to the original post.  I would have thought there would be a great deal of support for expanding the historic district west to the BQE....and east to Junction Blvd.  This area holds a great deal of historic charm.  That said, I don't seem to mind the building being built on 72nd as that area could use some improvement.  What I fear most is just a mish-mash of high rises being built here and there with little to no thought regarding the aesthetic charm of the existing neighborhood. 

Offline Alfster

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Wouldn't it be nice if whatever develops......was nice.  Perhaps a contemporary take on the JH historic district.  I'm surprised at the response thus far to the original post.  I would have thought there would be a great deal of support for expanding the historic district west to the BQE....and east to Junction Blvd.  This area holds a great deal of historic charm.  That said, I don't seem to mind the building being built on 72nd as that area could use some improvement.  What I fear most is just a mish-mash of high rises being built here and there with little to no thought regarding the aesthetic charm of the existing neighborhood.

I do agree that it would be nice to have a bit more urban planning so that any new construction could perhaps save some historical or architectural elements that exists now.  That would take a lot of agreement between developers.  I certainly don't want to see a "mish-mash of high rises" either, especially if little regard is given to how this high density construction will affect existing infrastructure and transportation options (among other issues).  At the same time, the only way to build additional housing for the masses is to increase density. 

Offline lmaniace

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Wow. Glad there is so much interest in this issue.

It can get a little complicated. What landmarking does and DOES NOT do is often misunderstood. As we said in our initial post - landmarking does NOT freeze development in a historic district. In the third paragraph above I promised a further explanation, which I provided in paragraphs six and seven (copied below.)

As we said above landmarking does not halt development, witness the six-story building that went up on 37th Avenue near 84th Street a few years back or "Kelly's Manor," a five-story building to replace a one-story structure already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

What land(marking) DOES do is it requires new buildings to fit in with the character of our neighborhood. The fact is the buildings and their gardens outside the historic district are of the same high quality of the buildings designated as an historic district in 1993. 


A couple of other points. Yes large parts of Manhattan and some other scattered parts of NYC are vertical, but clearly that's not the entire case. Large parts of Brooklyn and some significant parts of Manhattan are of equal or lower density than Jackson Heights and some of these are protected by historic districts --- exactly the designation we are seeking. Much of Jackson Height from 69th Street to 91st Street was placed on the National Historic Register, while only the core area actually received officials NYC historic designation then.

Also, I will get a map showing the proposed district up on this site in the next day or two.
know.

I haven't answered everyone's question, but we are just beginning the campaign. Many of you know the Jackson Heights Beautification Group. We were established in the late 1980s when JH was in some deep trouble and the organization deserves some credit for helping turn the neighborhood around. We are a civic, environmental, arts and educational organization made up of all volunteers, which is why I need to get back to work and cannot answer more questions now.

In closing I want to get across this point: Communities are more than just the buildings and people who live there. They are a kind of ecosystem, made up of rich relationships developed over time between the built and among the environment the people who live there. As we learned from massive redevelopment and urban renewal in the 1950, '60s and '70s, you can't just sweep away neighborhoods, rebuild and then expect healthy communities (read Jane Jacobs.) Especially not neighborhoods that serve a broad mix of ethnicities and economic levels that is Jackson Heights. But without protection (which is merited by our architecture) much of Jackson Heights will be lost

Finally, and this is not meant as a put down of the Brooklyn neighborhood, but we don't need a Williamsburg in Queens. Jackson Heights is a pretty special place as it is. Thank you for reading to the end.

Offline Alfster

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We will tell you how you can help tame this threat, but first the details.

It's no secret that high-rises well above the six-stories that's been the max in Jackson Heights will be rising here. At least five buildings that would break though that ceiling are proposed, approved or under construction - including two 13-story buildings - a photo of one we've attached here. The Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) the Queensboro Houses Association and others included at least one elected official are pushing city government act on our seven-year-old application to expand the existing landmark district before it is too late.

First, let's get one thing out of the way.  We are not trying to freeze all development or prevent new housing from being built. We will explain later,  but back to the threat.

We've already seen massive development in Long Island City and part of Astoria, as well as Flushing and other parts of Queens, now it appears to be JH's turn. Several months ago a developer bought two, two-story brick buildings on 89th Street off 37th Avenue and filed plans to put up a nine-story building there. This should SCARE you if like JH's planned mix of smaller buildings with apartment buildings because this is the first time developers bought multi-family buildings in Jackson Heights in order to tear them down to put up much bigger structures.

Think about this: these will not contain so-called affordable apartments (even those not affordable for most local renters,) but they will burden our local infrastructure: our already crowded transit system, parks, schools and streets.

As we said above landmarking does not halt development, witness the six-story building that went up on 37th Avenue near 84th Street a few years back or "Kelly's Manor," a five-story building to replace a one-story structure already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

What land DOES do is it requires new buildings to fit in with the character of our neighborhood. The fact is
the buildings and their gardens outside the historic district are of the same high quality of the buildings designated as an historic district in 1993. 

How you can help:
Remember, complaining about how bad this is on this or other site won't help.
Instead, contact Landmarks Preservation Commission Executive Director, Sarah Carroll.
1. Place "Expand the Jackson Heights Historic District" in subject line or atop your letter.
2. Tell her know why the landmark extension is important to you. USE YOUR OWN WORDS, but you may want to cover some of these ideas:
* The buildings in the proposed district extension are just as worthy as those within the existing district.
* Jackson Heights' architecture and building gardens create a distinctive and beautiful community appreciated by NYC’s most diverse population.
You can email her at: scarroll@lpc.nyc.gov

and please copy us at expandJHdistrict@gmail.com

Or write her at:
NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission Executive Director Sarah Carroll.
The Municipal Building
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor North
New York, NY 10007

Hmm, for the owner of the home in the foreground it appears to me that they would be pleasantly surprised in the form of an increased valuation of his or her home.  #winning?

Offline dssjh

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out of curiosity, why do you think this would result in an increased valuation?

Offline Lilybell

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Quote
New York is a vertical city.  Since the 1920's.

I'm not sure I understand your point. I am well aware NY has tall buildings, but that's not what I meant by vertical housing. I'm talking about the plans to change zoning in areas restricted to 6 stories in order to build very tall apartment towers. I don't think people realize how many areas the city wants to rezone.

Jackson Heights Life