What an embrace of Long Island City! The city announced that it will buy waterfront property in Long Island City to build up to 5,000 units of affordable housing for families. The city is paying the Port Authority a total of $146 million for the 24 acres - $100 million for the property and $46 million for "remaining obligations" to the site. From the press relase:

Mayor Bloomberg: "Middle-income families are facing housing affordability challenges as a result of New York's success, and we have to make strategic, long-term investments to ensure that New Yorkers of all incomes can work and live in our City. This development will build on New York's grand tradition of major middle-income communities, but updated for the 21st century. We will work quickly to turn this into homes for thousands of teachers, police officers, firefighters, nurses and other moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers. I want to thank the Port Authority for its continued collaboration and support."

...The City plans to develop a new site plan for the undeveloped southern portion of Queens West to allow for construction of a middle-income, mixed-use community including up to 5,000 residential units targeted to families earning between $60,000 and $145,000 for a family of four. The plan will also generate vibrant retail amenities, while maintaining the existing commitments to public open space and waterfront access.

The city will also look to purchase abjacent privately owned land to develop another 1,500 units. Newsday notes Queens West is right near Silvercup Studios and finds support from the locals:

Joseph Conley, the chairman of Community Board 2, said local leaders asked the mayor several years ago to step in before the area became a "luxury ghetto" with exclusive apartments where average people were priced out.

"We have the million-dollar views of Manhattan on the Queens side but, unfortunately, it was going to cost you a million dollars to move into Queens West," Conley said.

The Post calls it Stuy Town East, and in fact, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said the new plan would be "a great middle-income community in the spirit of Stuyvesant Town and others." And since this area was where the city proposed much of the Olympic Village in its 2012 Olympic bid, the concept of a 2016 bid was raised and quickly shot down, with Bloomberg saying, "I think it's safe to say the city does not have the resources or the combination of things you would need to pursue a bid for 2016." Yeah, leave that to Chicago.

The city will look for developers next year and construction may begin in 2008. We imagine subway service to the area will get better by then.

Rendering of Morphosis's plan for a 2012 Olympic Village in Long Island City