In a master plan created in part by the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC), 12,000 affordable apartments could be built over Sunnyside Yard in Queens. If it comes to fruitrition, it would be the largest recent development of affordable housing, to the tune of an estimated $14.4 billion. The hefty price includes the deck over the rail yard on which the residential buildings will sit, as well as the streetscape and infrastructure for utilities, a new rail station for commuter trains, multiple schools and libraries, commercial space for offices, manufacturing, and retail, and 60 acres of open space and public parks.
According to the EDC, half of the housing would be designated to affordable homeownership programs and the remaining half would be rentals for low-income families earning below 50 percent of the area median income.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the plan focuses on about 80 percent of the 180-acre train yard, with a Sunnyside Station located on the western end that would serve the Long Island Rail Road but could also service NJ Transit, Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak.
YIMBY first wrote about the massive development proposal in 2017 when the EDC released a study examining the feasibility of the project, which included the idea of a regional transit hub.
Architects Practice for Architecture and Urbanism is the master planner for the master plan. The EDC has led the public planning process for the master plan, collaborating with Amtrak, which owns a substantial share of the Sunnyside Yard. To guide the planning and development process, which could take several decades, the master plan would create a nonprofit made up of officials from city, Amtrak, and MTA agencies, as well as community and elected officials.
The master plan is subject to change due to public feedback during the planning process. Preliminary timelines would put the construction of regional rail station and the deck first, followed by phases of housing development.