Back in December, YIMBY covered the first permits for a new mixed-use development coming to 37-10 Crescent Street, in Long Island City. Ranger Properties is developing, and Fogarty Finger is the architect. The building will contain a contractors’ office on the first floor, topped by 55 rental apartments. The up-and-coming surroundings offer a hodge-podge of urbanism, and YIMBY got in touch with Fogarty Finger’s John Zimmer, who described the building:
The primary mass of the building is six‐stories tall and a little over a 150 feet long, and is clad in a lightweight cement board rain screen. Exposed fasteners, a dynamic rhythm of window openings, and dashes of color form a counterpoint to the crisp rigor of the skin.
As an added bonus, YIMBY specifically confirmed the building will have no PTACs – rare and welcome from a rental building, where developers usually cheap out and go with through-wall air conditioning units.
With respect to the transition from leafy to gritty, some of Long Island City’s zoning remains somewhat outdated. And in the case of 37-10 Crescent Street, the building lies within multiple zoning districts, and the overlap results in a mess, as each “district has distinct requirements for bulk, street walls, residential density, and parking. The Zoning Resolution requires some of the requirements to be resolved proportionally across the entire lot, while others need to be resolved in favor of one district or the other.”
Despite that, when asked what the worst problem Fogarty Finger encountered with the project’s zoning was, the answer was something that effects the vast majority of new residential development in the outer boroughs: outdated and anti-urban parking minimums. Zimmer noted that Fogarty Finger “has projects that are just a few blocks apart, and yet one of them has a huge parking requirement while the other has none. In truth, most people moving into the neighborhood don’t own cars and don’t need the parking, so the requirement should be reduced or eliminated throughout.”
Long Island City is home to one of the two parking minimum-free zones outside of Manhattan (the other being Downtown Brooklyn), yet the discrepancy between development inside and outside the zone means that anything outside is automatically more expensive to build. While creating more “affordable” housing that’s awarded on an unfair and ineffective lottery basis is still better than creating none at all, parking minimums should be removed across the board, as they are an undeniable factor in inflated housing costs, and push up the price of all market-rate development, which comprises the vast bulk of new construction in New York City.
37-10 Crescent Street is tentatively set to open by the end of 2016.
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