‘Lake Vernon’ Waterfront Plot Restarts Development Process

Friedrich? What part of Ireland are you from?

A five-acre waterfront plot at 44-02 Vernon Boulevard has chosen a developer in a sign that the long vacant site might be stirring according to the trade magazine Commercial Observer.  Occasionally referred to as ‘Lake Vernon’ by locals due to it frequently having water pooled in a pit created by reclamation efforts, abuts the northern border of the DOE Building and Waters Edge Restaurant on 44th Drive.  This primo piece of land is currently zoned to allow one million square feet of residential, which by my reckoning is way over 1,000 new units.  More significantly, the managing partner Bruce Teitelbaum, had pitched a plan in 2015 that would include a pedestrian bridge to Roosevelt Island in return for allowing even more buildable feet.

This plan was hatched prior to:

1.  Waters Edge Restaurant going defunct and the city announcing plans to develop it

2.  Plaxall announcing plans to develop their site and requesting an upzoning allowing 5,000 units

3. Amazon

Now with Amazon’s pullout we’re back to square one.  Nevertheless, all three plots above should be viewed in combination, not individually, by politicians and city planners.  Unlike the piecemeal and frankly haphazard approach to Hunters Point South, there is still an opportunity to use the economies of scale (and requisite amortization) to bring all the things Long Island City so desperately needs, such as a rec center, new high school, and the aforementioned pedestrian bridge.  Think of it as an antidote to the gated-community/shopping mall that is Hudson Yards.

Who knows, now that it’s been dangled in front of us, maybe even put in a large office building for another leading edge tech company, which would both ease the burden of more residents using the 7-train during rush hour and maybe make HP a little less of a bedtime community and a boon to local merchants.  Yet be forewarned that this will require work, not just rubberstamping, and also compromise by developers, politicians, and residents.  One plot, one plan.

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