Innovation QNS, the $2 billion megadevelopment in Astoria, cleared its final approval on Tuesday with a 46-1 City Council vote rubber stamping the project’s rezoning applications. The site will now include more than 3,000 units, with nearly half — 1,436 to be exact — marked as affordable, making Innovation the largest private affordable-housing project in the borough’s history.
But getting here from what was initially proposed as an overwhelmingly market-rate luxury project, with renderings featuring designer stores and only 25 percent affordability, was not easy. Innovation became a lightning rod over the course of a two-year battle as dueling parties staked their positions on the best way out of the housing crisis: Does even market-rate, luxury development ease the pressure? Or should communities use the crisis to hold the line on true affordability, pushing developers to give up some of their billion-dollar bottom lines?
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