New Proposal Could Bring 12,000 Affordable Apartments to Sunnyside Yard in Queens

Rendering of Master Plan for Sunnyside Yard. Courtesy of Practice for Architecture and UrbanismRendering of Master Plan for Sunnyside Yard. Courtesy of Practice for Architecture and Urbanism

In a master plan created in part by the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), 12,000 affordable apartments could be built over Sunnyside Yard in Queens. If it comes to fruitrition, it would be the largest recent development of affordable housing, to the tune of an estimated $14.4 billion. The hefty price includes the deck over the rail yard on which the residential buildings will sit, as well as the streetscape and infrastructure for utilities, a new rail station for commuter trains, multiple schools and libraries, commercial space for offices, manufacturing, and retail, and 60 acres of open space and public parks.

According to the EDC, half of the housing would be designated to affordable homeownership programs and the remaining half would be rentals for low-income families earning below 50 percent of the area median income.

Sunnyside Yards. image via EDC

Sunnyside Yards. Image via EDC

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the plan focuses on about 80 percent of the 180-acre train yard, with a Sunnyside Station located on the western end that would serve the Long Island Rail Road but could also service NJ Transit, Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak.

YIMBY first wrote about the massive development proposal in 2017 when the EDC released a study examining the feasibility of the project, which included the idea of a regional transit hub.

Architects Practice for Architecture and Urbanism is the master planner for the master plan. The EDC has led the public planning process for the master plan, collaborating with Amtrak, which owns a substantial share of the Sunnyside Yard. To guide the planning and development process, which could take several decades, the master plan would create a nonprofit made up of officials from city, Amtrak, and MTA agencies, as well as community and elected officials.

The master plan is subject to change due to public feedback during the planning process. Preliminary timelines would put the construction of regional rail station and the deck first, followed by phases of housing development.

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TFC Horizon
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17 Comments on "New Proposal Could Bring 12,000 Affordable Apartments to Sunnyside Yard in Queens"

  1. David in Bushwick | March 4, 2020 at 9:30 am | Reply

    If this actually happens, the entire project must be carbon neutral with passive construction and acres of rooftop solar panels.
    It’s time to prove NYC is serious about the climate crisis.

  2. Is the project only going to be 12,000 affordable units? That’s a serious downsizing from the previous estimates of 24,000 apartments. If it is just the 12,000 affordable units, or if there will be 12,000 additional market-rate units, I am so looking forward to this project coming to fruition.

    • Not sure. Theu sure make it sound like 12000 which is ridiculously low. SY should see a minimum of 30000 to 50000 units if this city is serious about housing and taking advantage of such an enormous investment and incredible site.

  3. charles campbell | March 4, 2020 at 11:13 am | Reply

    this would come out to be over 1 million dollars per unit average

  4. Alexander Heim | March 4, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Reply

    Would it be so crazy to have some market-rate units to help finance the project? Some market-rate commercial use would be nice as well.

  5. Hopefully, by the time this
    MEGA project is finished, it will be elevated enough to allow for the increased sea level?

  6. The projects 2.0

    • Exactly. With a extra hefty helping of mega-grifting for the connected. This has “disastrous farce” written all over it.

  7. Just how much is MTA asking for the use of their property. It is collateral for their bonds and the bond counsel will insist on payment first.

    The last time the mayor talked of this the guv said no.

  8. There goes the neighborhood.

  9. This needs to mixed income. Creating an exclusively low income and affordable Projects is a recipe for decades of projects. Love the density but there needs to be a component of market rate, even if only 20%.

    • The proposal is mixed income. Affordable housing does not mean low income, though half would be rentals for low-income families earning below 50 percent of the area median income.

      When all is said and done this will be a mostly mixed income project and many more units.

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