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This massive $2 billion cultural hub could be coming to Astoria

It would include a multiplex cinema, a grocery store and over 2,000 apartments.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

A corner of Astoria that is currently home to parking lots and industrial buildings could soon become home to a $2 billion arts and cultural hub with new shops, restaurants and thousands of new apartments.

Real estate developer Larry Silverstein, BedRock Real Estate Partners, ODA Architecture and Kaufman Astoria Studios are working together to redevelop five blocks around Kaufman Studios and the Museum of the Moving Image, from 37th to 43rd streets, between 35th and 36th avenues.

If the City Council and the Department of City Planning approve the plans to rezone that area from manufacturing, construction could begin in 2023, according to Patch.

The new area is dubbed "Innovation QNS" and would include 2 acres of open space, an arts and cultural hub, "enhanced" streetscapes and a potential elementary school; 200,000 square feet of shopping, restaurants and entertainment; health and wellness businesses; 2,700 mixed-income apartments, including about 700 permanently affordable and senior apartments; and 250,000 square feet of space for small businesses, startups and nonprofits in the creative industries.

Innovative QNS Astoria
Photograph: ODA Architecture

Plans also include room for a state-of-the-art multiplex cinema and a new full-service grocery store.

The team behind the project say that Innovation QNS would not only provide more housing, it would rejuvenate a part of Astoria that has seen better days and bring in thousands of jobs.

About 5,400 on-site jobs would be created, including roughly 3,700 during construction and more
than 1,700 permanent jobs, the group says. Innovation QNS would also generate $50 million in new local spending a year and offer up below-market space for startups, artists and makers, and nonprofit organizations.

They also say that it'll offer up education programming, including job training, STEM education and lifetime learning programs, and contribute $119 million in taxes during construction and $18 million in new tax revenue annually during its operation.

Innovation QNS Astoria
Photography: ODA Architecture

 If all goes to plan, Innovation QNS could be up and running by 2025.

"I’m very excited by the opportunity to work with such great partners and local stakeholders to reactivate this part of Astoria as a district that will improve the quality of life – not just for the people who will live, learn, shop and visit there, but for everyone who currently lives in the immediate surroundings," said Larry Silverstein, the chairman and founder of Silverstein Properties.

"This is a time when people desperately need jobs, and this project will serve as an enormously important stimulus for Astoria and New York City," he continued. "Astoria embodies the audacity and determination that has defined our city time and again. We will meet this moment with resolve, ambition and ingenuity, and emerge stronger than ever – just as we have always done."

Innovation QNS Astoria
Photograph: ODA Architecture

Tom Grech, the president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, said that the project will contribute "meaningfully" to the borough's recovery.

"Through the substantial private investment in Astoria it is proposing, this uniquely experienced team will benefit the residents of Queens County," he said. "To ensure our communities emerge from this crisis stronger than before, I would encourage all to support this effort to revitalize a key economic corridor in Western Queens along Steinway Street." 

Innovation QNS Astoria
Photography: ODA Architecture

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