Heard Around Town

No Gucci, yes homeless housing, in pending Innovation QNS deal

The Astoria development seems likely to happen with City Council Member Julie Won’s support.

A rendering of the Innovation QNS project.

A rendering of the Innovation QNS project. Courtesy: Innovation QNS

When she says mixed income, she means it. New York City Council Member Julie Won touted a tentative deal Thursday after a subcommittee voted to approve the Innovation QNS development in her Astoria, Queens, district. Won said she’s proud that it won’t just be a mall for the wealthy. “They have this vision of this beautiful luxury tower for folks and the rendering shows Chanel and Gucci,” she said of the development team. “Oh really? Let me make this mixed-use beautiful arts district be the safe haven for these homeless folks. So that’s what we’re doing.” Won pointed to an apparently since-changed promotional image of the project, featuring what looks like stores for the high-end brands. The Innovation QNS team didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but Gucci or not, the renderings do look like an outdoor mall. Won said the deal isn’t done until she has formal commitments in writing, because “You just never know with these people,” but her support for the project seems imminent. “Everything I asked for, they gave to me,” Won said. “I just need it finalized on paper.”

That includes a deal requiring the landlord to accept something like 157 CityFHEPS vouchers, providing units for formerly homeless and extremely low income New Yorkers. 

Won’s approval would mean New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams avoids pressure from project boosters like 32BJ SEIU, Laborers’ Local 79, District Council 9, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and even Mayor Eric Adams to rally her members to buck the tradition of member deference at the full council vote, likely scheduled for next month.