Last Wednesday, representatives from The Durst Organization showcased the 22-story and 19-story luxury towers at 10 Halletts Point, located near the Astoria Houses.
The development features 404 residential units ranging from studios, starting at $2,150 per month, to two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments that start at $4,050.
Eighty-one apartments, or about 20 percent of the units, are affordable, and restricted to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI).
“You’re looking at rents in the $700 to $900 a month range,” said Jordan Barowitz, vice president of public affairs for The Durst Organization.
The project has 25,000 square feet of amenities, including two outdoor terraces and sun lounge with barbecue grills, fitness center and yoga studio, resident lounge, party room and children’s playroom.
It also has an on-site supermarket, Brooklyn Harvest Market, that will open in May. The area is considered a food desert, which residents in the neaby public housing wanted to addres.
As part of the project, the developer will expand the esplanade and connect it with the rest of the waterfront, all the way to Whitey Ford Field. It will be used for active and passive recreation purposes.
“We really listened to what the community wanted for this project, which was open space and activity,” Barowitz said. “Our hope is to really make this a much more vital and bustling community for people who are moving here, as well as the people who have lived here for a long time.”
Perhaps the biggest draw for the luxury building is the sweeping views of the East River, the Manhattan skyline and even Gracie Mansion across the river.
“Our vantage point is unique,” said Lucas Durst, a financial associate with and family member of the real estate organization. “We’re on an edge, which is a place my family is comfortable.”
What makes the project exciting for Barowitz is that it’s “opening up” a new part of Queens.
“This is not a place where a lot of New Yorkers have been,” he said.
The $1.5 billion project broke ground in January 2016. The 2.4 million-square-foot mixed-use community, built out over several years, will eventually include seven buildings and 2,160 apartments, 515 of which will be affordable.
The building at 10 Halletts Point was built under the former 421a tax abatement program, right before it expired. Under the old 421a, the project was only required to set aside 20 percent of units for affordable housing, Barowitz said.
During the lapse of the program, and subsequent negotiations between the Real Estate Board and buildings union, the second phase of the Halletts Point project was delayed for nine months.
Under the rules of the new 421a tax abatement program, the rest of the development will contain 25 percent affordable housing.
In the next phase of the project, the Durst Organization will build two 100 percent affordable buildings on the Astoria Houses campus, but even that was beset with delays, funding issues and controversy.
Last February, the de Blasio administration stalled $43.5 million in bond financing for the building, which triggered a City Council investigation. According to multiple reports, that decision may have been made over a public feud between the mayor and leaders of The Durst Organization.
“We’re hoping for a resolution,” Barowitz said last week. “We’re hopeful that the next phase will start later this year.
“Then every couple of years, we’ll start another building,” he added. “In about five or six years, the project should be completed.”
Despite the delays, The Durst Organization expressed confidence their project will be successful. As of last week, floors three through six of 10 Halletts Point were already occupied. Durst officials predicted that the building will have up to 35 residents living there by March.
They hope the entire first building will be filled by the end of the year.
In addition to the amenities and views, Barowitz and their architecture and engineering team highlighted the sustainability and energy efficiency aspects of the project.
Daniel Heuberger, principal at Dattner Architects, said the entire building is elevated about five feet above street level. The resiliency regulation was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which impacted the Halletts peninsula.
“Every entrance into this building is either elevated or has a flood barrier of some kind,” he said. “God forbid there’s a storm, while it would definitely be an unpleasant event, the building would continue and survive. The water would recede, and there wouldn’t be damage.”
An on-site water treatment and reuse plant will reduce indoor portable water use by 55 percent. Energy-efficient building systems, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances and programmable thermostats will also reduce energy use by 27 percent.
As for transportation, a shuttle bus will take residents to the Astoria Boulevard and 30th Avenue N/W train stations about a mile away.
The Astoria Ferry landing is also a five-minute walk away.
“We think that the combination of the location, the views and proximity to Astoria, which is a really rich, diverse, vital and energetic community,” Barowitz said, “will make this a really attractive place to live.”