Thursday, October 10, 2013
From the Associated Press:
A $3 billion plan to turn a blighted 23-acre "valley of ashes" next to the New York Mets' stadium into retail, hotel and residential space won city council approval Wednesday.
The New York City Council vote was the final step in a land use review process for the project in Queens' Willets Point neighborhood and allows the Queens Development Group to move forward. The group is a joint venture between Sterling Equities Inc. and Related Companies.
The neglected, polluted neighborhood has to undergo environmental testing and cleanup before work can begin. New construction would start following the demolition of existing structures.
Redeveloping the area, currently home to auto repair shops and junkyards, has been a longtime priority for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called the council vote a "critical milestone in the history of Willets Point, which for generations has been known as a contaminated 'valley of ashes.'" "In the process, this historic redevelopment will remediate 100 years of environmental degradation, link this district to modern infrastructure, establish a new commercial destination, create 7,100 permanent jobs and 12,000 construction jobs, and generate billions in economic activity," he said.
But not everyone is enthralled by the idea. At a public hearing before the City Planning Commission in July, opponents warned that local businesses would be pushed out in favor of large developers. The city has said it will put $15.5 million toward supporting Willets Point businesses, for expenses such as relocation and moving costs.
Under the plan, a parking lot next to the stadium would be converted into a mall with 200 stores, a movie theater, restaurants, entertainment venues and a 2,500-space parking garage.
The project would also include the creation of 2,500 housing units, a portion of which would be affordable housing, as well as several acres of open space and a hotel. The developer also agreed to provide more than $15 million in funding for improvements and upkeep at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
Thursday, May 03, 2012
Wilpon's Sterling Equities and Related Co. are in exclusive negotiations to rebuild Willets Point near Citi Field
According to Bloomberg News, Related Cos. and Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities Inc. are in exclusive negotiations for the rights to develop Willets Point, a neighborhood of automotive shops and junkyards near the New York Mets’ ballpark, said a person with knowledge of the talks.
The city of New York is close to reaching a deal with Related and Sterling Equities to build a mall on the site, the New York Observer reported earlier today on its website.
Wilpon and his Sterling partners became sole owners of the Mets baseball team in 2002. In March, Wilpon and Mets President Saul B. Katz, who had invested with convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff, reached a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the liquidator of Madoff’s firm. Related is run by Stephen M. Ross, owner of the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins and developer of Time Warner Center in midtown Manhattan.
New York City last year issued a request for proposals from builders interested in constructing retail, entertainment, housing and other types of development on the 61-acre (25- hectare) site, which is in Queens across 126th Street from Citi Field, where the Mets have played since it opened in 2009.