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NEW YORK CITY—With development parcels becoming scarce along the East River waterfront in Northwestern Queens, Astoria—the area known for Greek culture, ethnic cuisine and family-owned low-rises and rowhouses— may be going vertical, and soon. Given a steady uptick in renters as well as buyers in the neighborhood, investor and developer appetite is increasing steadily toward the area's eastern end near the Triboro Bridge.

The trend comes two years after the City Council approved a rezoning plan for a 238-block swath stretching from the East River roughly from 36th to 20th Avenue and as far east as the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and LaGuardia Airport. It aims to preserve the existing scale and character of the area, while paving the way for a “modest increase” in residential and commercial density.

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