The future of Queens: Redeveloping the Sunnyside Yards
The Construction Boom continues in New York City and the Sunnyside Yards are the latest major redevelopment project to clear its first hurdle. Earlier this year, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) gave the go-ahead after completing a feasibility study on the impact the project would have to the immediate surrounding neighborhoods. Based on the feasibility study, the NYCEDC proposed three redevelopment strategies including a residential-only development, a live/work/play option, and a mixed-use “destination” development with a heavier emphasis on commercial development.
According to the study, some 80-85% of the railyard is prime for decking and construction that’s needed to build the new “neighborhood” while the remaining 15-20% of the 180-acre Sunnyside Yards would be allocated for parks, roads, and/or open spaces. One of the biggest benefits of the redevelopment of the Sunnyside Yards would be the addition of up to 24,000 housing units – a much needed commodity in all five boroughs.
There’s still a long way to go before the project breaks ground. For starters, the project’s price tag is a staggering $19-billion, making this one of the most expensive projects taken on by the City. As with many large scale, redevelopment projects it’s almost expected that as the project progresses the final price may exceed even this figure. There’s also a current project set for 2018 by current owners of the railyard, Amtrak, to begin construction of a High-Speed Rail Facility along the Main Line of the yard. Although both parties have agreed to the City building above the facility, it does bring to question how this would affect the Sunnyside Yards project timetable. Lastly, the project must win over local elected-officials who have long advocated for much needed investment in existing public transportation infrastructure and expansion as well as getting approval of the surrounding communities.
Still, the first step is the hardest and there’s no doubt that a project of this magnitude would impact the City but completely change the immediate surrounding area. There are some great aspects of the project including 30% of all residential units being allotted to low-income housing as well as the addition of anywhere from 13-19 new schools. We’re keeping a close eye on the project and will be here to follow up with any significant updates.