NYC Councilwoman Julie Won greenlights Innovation QNS rezoning, making $2B project all but certain

City Councilwoman Julie Won threw her support behind a massive rezoning plan for her western Queens district Monday, all but sealing the deal on the $2 billion project after months of negotiations over how many affordable housing units should be baked into the proposal.

The rezoning, dubbed Innovation QNS, is designed to effectively create a new neighborhood near the Astoria waterfront by allowing for the development of thousands of new apartment units, two acres of green space and various stores and restaurants.

Won, who represents the area, has for weeks maintained opposition to the project, citing an insufficient commitment by the developers to make a set number of housing units income-restricted. Won’s opposition has proven tricky for Innovation QNS supporters, including Mayor Adams, as the Council traditionally defers to local representatives on zoning matters.

But in a significant reversal, Won announced Monday afternoon she’s ready to support the rezoning.

In a statement, Won said she had the change of heart thanks to concessions reached during talks with the mayor’s team, the developers and labor unions, including a provision mandating that 1,436 of the project’s expected 3,190 apartment units will be made permanently affordable.

“As a community, we have set a new standard for building affordable housing on private land, and I commend and thank each community member and elected official for remaining steadfast,” she said.

Shortly before Won’s statement, the Innovation QNS plan passed the Council’s Land Use Committee in a unanimous vote, sending it over to the full Council, where it is expected to come up for a vote Tuesday.

With Won onboard, the plan is likely to breeze through the full Council, as it also has the support of Speaker Adams. The mayor is then expected to sign the plan.

“This project will make a meaningful contribution towards improving lives and addressing homelessness,” said Speaker Adams after the Land Use Committee vote.

A rep for 32BJ, the city building workers’ union whose members would be employed at the new Innovation QNS apartment towers, said it became clear this past Friday that the Council would greenlight the plan with or without Won’s support.

“It was a done deal,” said the rep, whose union has been a key stakeholder in negotiations.

In adding her support, Won moved the goalposts slightly.

Last month, she said she would not back any rezoning proposal that did not make at least 55% of the new apartment units affordable. Under the framework adopted Monday, 45% of the new units will be affordable.

However, the new blueprint also increases the total number of new units as compared to the initial proposal, from 2,843 to 3,190.

Of the affordable units, 825 will be reserved for “extremely or very low income” New Yorkers — those earning less than $46,700 for an individual or less than $60,050 for a family of three. A subset of 293 will be set aside for people exiting the homeless shelter system.

Won also touted the fact that as part of the deal, the developers — Silverstein Properties, BedRock and Kaufman Astoria Studios — have to launch a $2 million fund providing free legal advocacy services for low-income tenants in the surrounding area to help protect against housing displacement.

“We will always prioritize community needs over profit,” she said.

The Innovation QNS development comes as Mayor Adams’ administration is scrambling to address the city’s deepening affordable housing crisis, driven by skyrocketing rents and low development outputs.

In a statement, the mayor hailed Monday’s Innovation QNS vote, but also said the city needs “a better system” for affordable housing production.

“My administration is moving forward plans for a citywide zoning text amendment that would help the city truly meet New Yorkers’ housing needs and create new housing across the entire city,” he said. “We invite all New Yorkers to join us.”