Affordable Photo: James Whatley/Flickr 

A brand new Queens neighborhood will create 5,000 new apartments, at least 60 percent of which will be affordable housing. Last week’s groundbreaking on new infrastructure for Hunter’s Point South means New York City will see its largest affordable housing development since the 1970s. 

This phase of construction is the result of a $99 million commitment from Housing New York, which will ultimately lead to four mixed-use housing parcels developed by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Work has already begun on a new street network with sewers, a water main and utilities. The NYC Economic Development Corporation has also committed to roadways and a waterfront park to be completed in 2018.

Mayor Bill de Blasio explained the development.

“We’re building a new neighborhood from the ground-up, from its streets to its parks to its transit. This is going to be the biggest affordable housing project built in a generation, and it’s going to ensure that this corner of Queens — despite all the market pressures driving up rents — will remain a diverse place for working people,” he said.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz hopes that the neighborhood boosts the Queens economy and improves the quality of life for its residents.

“This is the type of smart redevelopment that is increasingly a hallmark of our borough, where we’re building not just housing but full neighborhoods for families,” she said.

Besides its residential offerings, Hunter’s Point South will also feature 100,000 square feet of retail space, as well as new community facility space.

The neighborhood will be highly accessible to the rest of New York City, thanks to its extensive transportation network. Besides convenient bus and train routes, the new citywide ferry system will link Hunter’s Point South to the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan in 2017. The service will offer five new ferry routes, supplementing the existing East River Ferry service and charging a fare of only $2.75.

The City is surpassing its initial affordable housing projections. Early this year, Mayor de Blasio announced the financing of more than 17,300 units of affordable housing in 2014, ahead of its goal of 16,000. That’s enough to house nearly 42,000 New Yorkers. The City’s active housing plan seeks to create 20,000 new units of affordable housing over the next decade. 

These improvements are arriving at a crucial time for NYC residents. According to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, 56 percent of New Yorkers are considered to be rent-burdened, meaning more than half of their income goes to rent and utilities each month. 

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