Public waterfront space to be part of massive Long Island City Innovation Center project

Posted On Wed, September 12, 2018 By

Posted On Wed, September 12, 2018 By In affordable housing, Landscape Architecture, Long Island City, New Developments, Policy, Urban Design

Image: TF Cornerstone

Developer TF Cornerstone has released new details about public open space slated to be part of the proposed project spanning over 1.5 million square feet at 44th Drive on city-owned land along the Long Island City waterfront, LICpost reports. Known as the Long Island City Innovation Center, the proposed massive city-led development, which will need zoning changes in order to move forward, includes office, retail, and manufacturing space and two high-rise residential towers with over 1,000 units, 25 percent of which would be affordable. The latest news concerns the acre of publicly accessible open space that is also part of the controversial development. According to TF Cornerstone, this open space will become a waterfront park with a focus on resiliency and sustainability.

TF cornerstone, 44th Drive, Anable Basin, LIC, Long Island City
Image: TF Cornerstone

The project’s waterfront side is known as Anable Cove, which spans about 400 feet just shy of the area known locally as “Lake Vernon.” The development team–which also includes Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects and Handel Architects–is proposing to restore the cove as part of the project, and says it would emphasize preserving the habitat of the marine life that thrives in the shallow waters of this cove.

Jake Elghanayan, principal at TF Cornerstone, said in a statement: “For the past several months, we have been working closely with waterfront and habitat restoration experts to revitalize and enhance the natural marine habitat that has existed here for generations.”

Plans to that end include removing an old platform to provide a larger marine habitat space. The platform would be replaced with rocks that protect the shoreline from erosion. Also in the plans are plantings along the shoreline and clearing the river bottom of decades-old debris.

The development team says their efforts would protect the local marine life like fish, crabs, and lobster. Direct public access to the water is also in the plans, including stairs leading down to the water’s edge. Bioswales and other self-draining elements will be installed to protect against flooding.

The announcement coincides with the developers’ preparations to begin the project’s public review process that kicks off with a public scoping meeting next week. The project has been the subject of controversy in the local community since it was first announced in July of 2017. Civic groups and local politicians have objected to the proposed development’s size and say it’s an inappropriate use of public land.

Plans for the waterfront development also include space for retail and community facilities, workspaces for artists and workforce development and training space and a 600-seat school. The land currently holds a parking lot and a shuttered restaurant.

[Via LICpost]

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