Designed by ODA, Innovation QNS is a neighborhood-focused initiative, in Western Queens, that generates two acres of open space, community health & wellness facilities, hundreds of affordable apartments, and thousands of jobs. Located on a site currently occupied by large surface parking lots, underutilized buildings, and vacant spaces, the imagined master plan will help jumpstart Astoria’s economy and revitalize Steinway Street in New York.
Building on Astoria’s rich cultural fabric including its existing cultural assets like the Museum of Moving Image and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Innovation QNS will “create both near- and long-term economic opportunity in Astoria, Queens by channeling $2 billion in private investment toward the creation of a vibrant, walkable, mixed-use creative district in a largely dormant corner of the community”. Planned from the ground up with the public realm as the key priority, the mixed-use district will address many of the needs of the community such as open space, enhanced streetscapes, arts and culture programming, and lifetime learning opportunities, mixed-income housing, and commercial space for innovation companies.
The product of a partnership comprising Kaufman Astoria Studios, one of the area’s largest job generators; Silverstein Properties, known for rebuilding lower Manhattan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks; BedRock Real Estate Partners, and ODA New York for the design of the master plan, the neighborhood-focused initiative is scheduled to jump-start construction in 2023, with an initial activation in 2025.
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Today, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reactivate five largely dormant city blocks as a truly sustainable community, built in such a way that it will have a positive impact on the lives of people for years to come […] It’s this perspective on the future of urban living – to put people first – that drives us. -- Eran Chen, founding principal of ODA.
Located at the intersection of Steinway Street and 35th Avenue, centered on five blocks, the project will include:
- 2.7 million square feet over five blocks and allocating over 25 percent of the land area as publicly accessible open space
- 2,700 units of mixed-income housing, including 700 permanently affordable units and dedicated housing for seniors
- 250,000 square feet of space for innovation companies
- 200,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail
Moreover, the initiative, a major driver of economic opportunity in Western Queens is expected to:
- Create more than 5,400 on-site jobs – including some 3,700 during construction and more than 1,700 permanent jobs;
- Support businesses in the community by generating $50 million in new local spending annually;
- Make a portion of its space available to startups, artists/makers and community-based nonprofit organizations at below-market rents;
- Offer educational programming for Astoria residents of all ages, including job training, STEM education, and lifetime learning programs; and
- Contribute to critical investments in public infrastructure through $119 million in new tax revenue during construction and $18 million in new tax revenue annually during its operation.
This is a time when people desperately need jobs, and this project will serve as an enormously important stimulus for Astoria and New York City. Astoria embodies the audacity and determination that has defined our city time and again. We will meet this moment with resolve, ambition and ingenuity, and emerge stronger than ever – just as we have always done. -- Larry Silverstein, chairman and founder of Silverstein Properties.
Generating an ongoing dialogue with the area stakeholders, bringing together Astoria's residents, civic leaders, cultural institutions, small businesses, and non-profits in order to identify the community's most urgent needs, Innovation QNS will help shape, build and activate the district. In fact, the initiative aims to maximize the participation of neighborhood residents and locally owned businesses in decision making. Finally, “Innovation QNS will continue to engage the community to refine the plan, hosting a series of interactive workshops to solicit input on various components of the plan including the programming of the open space”.