Long Island City, Queens
FXFOWLE, SHoP Architects, Ismael Leyva Architects

Status: Under Construction

Hunters Point South
Image courtesy NYC Economic Development Corporation

Similar to many postindustrial districts, Hunters Point is undergoing a remarkable transformation. In the past decade, warehouses and factories in this Long Island City neighborhood have given way to glass towers and waterfront promenades. Now, construction has begun on a multiphase affordable housing complex that eventually will provide thousands of units for low- to middle-income tenants.

The 30-acre development, Hunters Point South, is a key component of Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan, an $8.4 billion initiative to build 165,000 affordable housing units by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. The Hunters Point development, in terms of units, will be the largest affordable housing complex built in the five boroughs since the early 1970s, when Co-Op City (Bronx) and Starrett City (Brooklyn) were completed.

Hunters Point South will sit across the river from the United Nations headquarters. Over the years, ambitious plans for the high-profile Queens real estate emerged and fizzled. Most notably, it was the cornerstone of New York's failed bid to host the 2012 Olympics (a competition-winning design by Morphosis would have transformed the area into a sustainable, futuristic Olympic Village).

Michael Bloomberg
The future we envisioned for New York has greener neighborhoods with more recreational opportunities for young and old alike....The future we envisioned for New York has enough space for generations of families and companies to grow....We are doing what New Yorkers have always done best: envisioning the city of tomorrow and creating the conditions for it to come to life.
Michael Bloomberg
Mayor of New York City

In 2006, amid local fears that private developers would invade and build luxury condos, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the city would build affordable housing on the site. In 2009, the city bought the property for $100 million from the Empire State Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. FXFOWLE was tapped to design the master plan.

In March, construction finally began on phase one. In addition to five acres of parkland and a public school, the 800,000-square-foot project includes two high-rise buildings by SHoP Architects and Ismael Leyva Architects. The towers will contain 20,000 square feet of retail space and 900 residential units (685 of them are labeled affordable). Related Companies, the nonprofit Phipps Houses Group, and Monadnock Construction are developing the $360 million first phase; completion is slated for 2014. The city has yet to issue RFPs for future phases.

The complex will be near a prominent amenity: a public library designed by Steven Holl (see page 123). Expected to open in two years, the library will serve as yet another signal that Hunters Point has entered a new era.