HomeCommunity IssuesCounter protests held over high rise plans in Flushing

Counter protests held over high rise plans in Flushing

By Corky Lee, AsAmNews Staff Writer

Protestors on both sides of the debate took to the streets this week over a hotly contested development plan along the Flushing Waterfront District in New York.

On one side is three private Chinese developers and on the other side are progressive elected officials and a number of non-profits representing the Chinese, Korean, South Asian, Latino communities along with the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce.

The district is 29 acres, almost 3 times the size of Manhattan Chinatown, and consists of unused open acreage west of bustling downtown Flushing close to CitiField, home of the NY Mets baseball team.  The developers propose 13 high rise towers including 1,725 luxury condos with only 61 affordable residential units & 879 luxury hotel rooms.  Of course public access space for a park and commercial footage is factored into their plan.

Protestors hold up a banner of City Councilman Peter Koo who supports the development. Photo by Corky Lee

Tuesday there was 2 opposing rallies across the street from each at Queens Crossing on 39th Ave.  Chinese American City Councilman Peter Koo has sided with the developers. Koo was a no show at a rally organized by the developers. It was alleged that the developers paid their construction workers of about 125 to attend the rally. Yet, across the street, where Koo owns a local drugstore, Starside Pharmacy, the community of tenants, workers & non profits assembled about 70 to speak against the plan. 

John Choe of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce claimed the developers spent over $1.7 million in lobbying fees, political contributions  and consultant fees to local community board members. To many this sounds like soft money to further gentrification. 

“What Flushing dosen’t need is luxury developments to “become a beacon for Queens at Large,” said high school Junior Audrey Chou. “Flushing is already that beacon & these developments would dampen that light.”

Kai Lin Zhang, spokesperson for Assemblyperson Ron Kim, speaks out against the development. Photo by Corky Lee.

“Reject this development and move on as a community to continue fighting for the most vulnerable families & individuals in Flushing,” said a spokesperson for NY State Assemblyman Ron Kim.

The developers say their project will bring badly needed affordable housing to the area.

“Without approval of the district, there will be ZERO affordable housing. It is antithetical of the Council members to support affordable units and simultaneously fight against the very zoning enhancement that would allow affordable housing to be brought to the area,” they said in a statement.

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