A Tech Hub for “NW Ravenswood” ?

At Queens Community Board 1 Zoning Committee meeting in April, a representative of the Department of City Planning (DCP) announced their preliminary plans to apply “a coordination strategy” in rezoning the area they are calling “NW Ravenswood”.

This is the area across the street – to the west – of Ravenswood Houses.The area extends East to West from 12th St to Vernon Blvd, and North to South from Broadway to 37th Ave.

The area is partially zoned for manufacturing (if in color, manufacturing is purple).

DCP sees this area as “perfect for a light industry and residential hub”, meaning tech start-ups and mixed income housing which would include “affordable” housing.

They recognize the lower median income of the area ($28,800) and are HOPING to encourage developers to include units for households earning $36,000.

Our Concerns:

  • Are these jobs for our community members? How is DCP ensuring this, if at all?
  • Can they ensure the lower local median income will be recognized by developers?
  • How many units will be created for lower income households?
  • What about households earning less than $36,000?
  • Could the land better support the needs of the existing community?

Additionally, this area falls in an OPPORTUNITY ZONE, which is a component of Trump’s tax cuts that offers tax incentives to already-wealthy investors and developers. At least one study suggests opportunity zones will worsen gentrification, calling the outcome: “gentrification on steroids” (Kinder Institute for Urban Research, 2019).

Moreover, the rezoning of NW Ravenswood was first proposed the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association (OANA), a recently-established pro-business, pro-development non-profit that is specifically interested in Astoria’s waterfront.

Taken together, this leaves us asking:

WHOSE NEEDS WILL BE MET BY THESE PLANS?

JFAC will be meeting with DCP later this summer to discuss these plans, and share our community’s needs and visions for this area. Contact us if you want to be involved.

We have also put together a printable one-pager that can be shared and distributed.

Download (PDF, 101KB)

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