BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for Housing and Economic Development, and Amtrak’s chairman—Anthony Coscia—announced on Wednesday that master planning for the long-awaited Sunnyside Yard project would begin this summer.
Last year, the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) released a study indicating that the city, which owns the air rights of Sunnyside Yard, could build above the Amtrak rail yard at the site. This week, the city announced that plans for the 180-acre site would move forward in the next few months.
Plans for the site include approximately 24,000 homes, up to 19 schools, 52 acres of public parks, open space and new transportation options for an overcrowded corner of the borough.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for civic groups, public officials and residents to create a vision for their borough, one that delivers on the central challenges Queens faces like affordable housing, open space, more school seats and better public transit,” said Glen. “We are ready to listen and to work with all our partners to develop a plan that Queens can be proud of.”
The EDC has created a Sunnyside Yard Steering Committee that will include community leaders, elected officials and planning experts with expertise in transportation, arts, schools, jobs, affordability and open space. The planning process is expected to take up to two years.
The committee—which will be led by Elizabeth Lusskin, the president of the Long Island City Partnership, and Sharon Greenberger, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York—will meet quarterly and host public meetings and workshops, during which local residents can address the community’s needs.
“Sunnyside Yard is an untapped resource, situated within and across Long Island City, the geographic center of NYC,” said Lusskin. “The yard has great potential as a regional and locally significant transportation hub. This planning effort provides an opportunity to provide employment, recreational, educational and housing prospects for the next century for the people of Sunnyside, Long Island City, the borough of Queens and NYC.”
The city and Amtrak have selected New York City-based Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) as the lead consultant to develop the master plan for Sunnyside Yard.
The planning team will include HNTB—an architecture, civil engineering consulting and construction management firm—and Thornton Tomasetti, which specializes in engineering design, investigation and analysis.
Cali Williams, who has worked for the EDC for nearly a decade, has been appointed as the new director of Sunnyside Yard.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.