We’re all familiar with the stereotypical New Yorker. Always in a hurry. Self-absorbed. Capitalistic in the Gordon Gekko “Greed is good” vein. Although most of us are based in Boston, we at coUrbanize can empathize that a stereotype can be a far cry from reality (well, minus the Dunkin Donuts part). The developers we work with in the NYC metro area demonstrate a very different kind of behavior. They pay attention to the needs and wants of community members in places where proposed projects are located. And they genuinely care about the future of these communities.
We’re doing more work in the New York metro area than ever before, from ground-up mixed-use and new mixed-income housing projects to affordable housing revitalizations. For this post, we’ll be spotlighting three projects, each with an affordable housing component, addressing a top need for urban dwellers, and significant benefits to local communities, such as public green space. (According to a recent survey we conducted, these two things are some of the most desired attributes of real estate developments.)
Pratt Landing in New Rochelle, which calls for more than three acres of public open space, encompassing a half-mile-long waterfront esplanade. Innovation QNS in Astoria, Queens offers nearly two acres of open space. And Mariner’s Landing in Edgewater, New Jersey includes 25,000 square feet of exterior, passive green space. All three projects also provide extensive walking paths and streetscape improvements for all, not just those residents who will eventually live there.
The developers of these sites aren’t just analyzing opinions from national surveys, however. Each is actively soliciting specific community feedback through the coUrbanize platform and incorporating this feedback into their project plans. The choice to do meaningful community engagement often starts in advance of a decision to use coUrbanize. In the case of Innovation QNS, discussions with the Astoria community predated the use of the coUrbanize tool by more than two years. Our goal: to enable real estate teams to reach even more members of the community and to adjust plans based on these interactions.
The approach of the Innovation QNS development team, Twining Properties (developer of Pratt Landing), and LCOR (owner of Mariner’s Landing), reflects a larger trend that we’re observing across the U.S.: thoughtfulness and empathy on the part of developers, who recognize the hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to many communities – hardships in the form of economic instability, health challenges, and family separations. These developers also realize that pre-pandemic priorities may no longer be today’s priorities and are making sure that community feedback is up to date as we emerge from the crisis.
Thoughtfulness? Empathy? Our clients in New York and New Jersey are a far cry from Gordon Gekko. They want to make sure that the Big Apple is ripe and give everyone a bite.