And Then There Were Three: Fishing for a Finalist at Hunters Point South

hunters point south1 And Then There Were Three: Fishing for a Finalist at Hunters Point SouthWill Hunter’s Point South be a new paradigm for public housing or just another blase bunch of apartment buildings?

That became a bit clearer with a report in The Journal that narrows the field for one of the largest affordable housing projects in a generation. The city has shortlisted three teams to develop the first two of six sites at Hunter’s Point South, a spit of land on the East River and sludgy Newtown Creek. About two months ago, seven of the city’s top developers were vying for the project, which boasts 5,000 apartment units, an unprecedented 60 percent of which will be set aside for affordable housing.

Some of the teams that did not make the cut? AvalonBay, the Virginia-based developer of bland projects in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, much of the sort that dominate QueensWest just north of Hunters Point South. The impressive and increasingly ambitious Durst Organization and Jonathan Rose Companies partnership also did not make the cut, as well as the Richman Group.

The three developers in the hunt are more middle-of-the-road. Douglaston Development is one of the city’s largest; among its notable projects is Williamsburg’s Edge and the Renaissance Plaza in Harlem. TFC Cornerstone has a familiarity with the area, having built one of QueensWest’s towers, the take-it-or-leave-it View Long Island City.

Most interesting may be the Related Companies’ bid with Phipps Houses and Monadnock Construction. The prominent developer is already at work on another megaproject, Hudson Yards, albeit slowly. That, as well as the Time Warner Center, have proven to be among some of the city’s interesting developments to have taken shape of late, so seeing what they do here will be interesting, especially given whom they have hired for the job.

According to The Journal, it is super-hot New York firm SHoP, which is designing the Barclays Center at Bruce Ratner’s Atlantic Yards site and had been hard at work on a big project at the South Street Seaport. Working with them will be the less than thrilling Ishmael Leyva, who has designed dozens of the city’s unremarkable apartment towers. An odd couple to say the least.

Whatever the outcome, the clear winner will be the middle-income New Yorkers finding their way into one of those 3,000 affordable apartments when the entire development is built.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo