This public building on Vernon Blvd. was going to be given to Amazon as part of their HQ2 deal with former Governor Cuomo. When Amazon decided to leave the deal (thanks, in part, to a strong community push against the proposal) local activists and community members realize we needed to come up with an alternative proposal before the city decided to give it to another private entity. It is just a few blocks away from Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing project in the country, which has already been impacted by the fastest-growing neighborhood development in America: Long Island City.
We spent 2021 working with Bagchee Architects on a feasibility study to see if this building could become what we envisioned: a community hub to bring back much-needed deeply, truly affordable manufacturing spaces, artists studios, a rooftop garden, a commissary commercial kitchen for street food vendors, a food co-op, music studios for the local community, a community tool lending library, and more.
We consulted many, many local community groups, took all that feedback, and poured it into this report, which you can read below. This is development done the right way: led by the people that will actually be impacted the most, a bottom-up instead of top-down vision.
In 2019, we also worked with a Rutgers Studio Class to explore the economic feasibility of the building in terms of funding sources and such. This is just a preliminary study, but will shed some insight into the financials.