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Thread: Iron Triangle in Queens to Be Redeveloped

  1. #16

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    Is Shea really that run down or out of date that the Mets need a new stadium? I'm all for urban renewal, but this neighborhood has proved to be a vital part of Queens.

  2. #17
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Yes.

  3. #18
    The Dude Abides
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    Willets Point rehab tab put at $3B-plus

    BY FRANK LOMBARDI
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Posted Thursday, June 14th 2007, 4:00 AM

    The envisioned transformation of Willets Point from a scruffy haven for scrap yards and auto shops into a residential, retail and convention megadevelopment will cost "north of $3 billion," a city official said yesterday.

    The estimate was given by Robert Lieber, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., which is gearing up to submit the Willets Point development plan to the governmental approval procedure known as ULURP - uniform land use review process.

    "It will be a lot," Lieber said when asked about the costs during the City Council's first public hearing on the mammoth redevelopment plan announced May 1 by Mayor Bloomberg.

    That drew laughs from a dozen Council members who participated in the hearing by the Council's Economic Development and Land Use committees and scores of spectators, most of them representing Willets Point's landowners, businesses, workers and Queens civic officials, including Borough President Helen Marshall and her predecessor, Claire Shulman.

    Lieber added, "This is a big project, you know, you've got 60 acres of land to develop, with very large density of what we're going to do, but you know it's not unrealistic to think that this would be a project that is north of $3 billion ... in excess of $3 billion."

    "That's a lot of money," said Councilman Thomas White (D-Queens), who put the cost question to Lieber as chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

    Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Queens), who heads the Land Use Committee, asked Lieber who will be paying the costs, including extensive expenditures for site preparation and sewers, roads and other infrastructure.

    Lieber said the developer, or team of developers, that will bid to build the Willets Point of the future will "bear the bulk of the costs for this."

    "It's very early on in the process," Lieber added. "I don't think we've come up with a specific budget yet or figured out what the costs are - what the city is going to pay."

    He ventured a "guesstimate" the public costs might be in the $100 million-to-$200 million range.

    Lieber also fielded questions on the possible use of eminent domain if negotiated deals aren't reached with the property owners and businesses within the 62-acre tract.

    He stressed that the city's goal is to reach deals with all those involved.

    "We will do everything we can do to accommodate the needs of these businesses," he testified.

    "But as the mayor said [at his announcement] on May 1, he's not going to let one person be the holdout for the good that's associated with so many other people."

    flombardi@nydailynews.com

    © Copyright 2007 NYDailyNews.com.

  4. #19

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    Against Council’s Wishes, City Pushing Ahead on Willets Point

    byEliot Brown | April 18, 2008

    Eliot Brown
    The car-repair haven of Willets Point

    The Bloomberg administration is plowing forward on its plan to redevelop the industrial area next to Shea Stadium, as it intends to start the rezoning process on Monday despite objections from the City Council.
    “We have asked them not to certify Monday,” said Melinda Katz, chairwoman of the City Council’s land use committee. “My feeling is that there are a lot of outstanding issues.”

    The plan for the 61-acre site, Willets Point, calls for a large mixed-used community with up to 5,500 units of housing, up to 1.7 million square feet of retail, up to 700 hotel rooms, a public school, and possibly a modest convention center. The decision to jump into the seven-month approval process without the blessing of the Council suggests a rising anxiety among members of the Bloomberg administration, which has 18 months left in office and a slew of large development projects left to implement.

    The vast majority of rezonings that start the approval process make it to the conclusion with approval from the Council, and should the city ultimately see defeat on its Willets Point plan, it would surely be a high-profile rejection.

    Of course few of the major rezonings ever start with consensus, and virtually all see changes from the Council before the process is over.

    More than perhaps any other major project in the pipeline, Willets Point has a long list of groups that are seeking concessions and threatening to hold up the process. Housing advocacy groups want a large proportion of the units to be affordable; labor groups want unionized hotel provisions and other wage guarantees; the landowners want good deals if they are forced to relocate; the workers and tenant-business owners want relocation assistance; and members of the Council want eminent domain taken off the table.

    While many involved in talks report progress, none of these issues have yet been resolved, and no deals have been made with landowners, at least publicly. Thus the city seems to be of the mind that by pushing ahead, with a deadline of November before the City Council must approve or deny the plans, they can hasten a resolution of the outstanding issues.

    “The administration has taken the position that they just want to start the clock and get the progress moving,” said Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who represents the area.

    Both Mr. Monserrate and Ms. Katz have a long list of concerns with the plan as it stands right now, and neither professed confidence that they could all be resolved in the next seven months. Chief among them, in addition to the use of eminent domain, is affordable housing—the city has committed to mandate that 20 percent of the apartments be affordable, though the Council and advocates want more. Also at issue is the selection of a private developer—by rezoning the area first, the Council allows the city to select a developer of its choosing, without any oversight from the Council.

    The site has long been eyed for redevelopment, yet has proved, decade after decade, to be surprisingly resistant, warding off attempts by numerous mayors and master builder Robert Moses.

    In a statement, a city spokesman expressed confidence that the issues would be worked out in the coming months. "We look forward to working with its members and local elected officials on finalizing the best possible plan to make it happen during the upcoming public review process," said the spokesman, Andrew Brent.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Observer.

  5. #20

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    A Possible Exit Strategy at Willets Point? City Studies Two-Phase Plan

    by Eliot Brown | April 24, 2008

    NYCEDC
    The first phase would be on the western portion of the site

    An alternative studied in the Willets Point environmental review suggests a possible compromise strategy for the Bloomberg administration in its contested effort to redevelop the 61-acre industrial area by Shea Stadium.

    The proposed redevelopment has turned into a big political quagmire, with elected officials on the City Council jumping at the chance to bash the city about its proposal. While a group of current and former elected officials met at City Hall today to hail the plan, the project clearly will take some convincing in the Council.

    The alternative plan, studied in the draft environmental impact statement, calls for acquiring the land and building the project, in two phases. The plan includes acquiring the land on the western portions of the site first, where most of the smaller automotive-related businesses are based, while the owner-occupied businesses on the eastern portion would have more time before they sell their land. The plan would be the same in size, though the first half would be done by 2013, according to the plan studied, while the second half would be done by 2017.

    From the EIS [PDF]:
    This would allow the City additional time to find suitable relocation sites for the District’s larger businesses which are concentrated in the eastern portion of the District and which have more specific relocation needs than the District’s smaller businesses. It would also spread the cost of property acquisition and infrastructure improvements over time.

    For now, the city is intent upon proceeding with the initiative as planned, though it can’t go anywhere without support from Council, where some members seem to be reveling in the spotlight as they criticize.

    http://origin.observer.com/2008/poss...two-phase-plan

    © 2008 Observer Media Group,

  6. #21
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    There's a new blog created in support of the redevelopment plans: http://developwilletspoint.blogspot.com/

  7. #22

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    City Wants $389 M. for Willets Point

    by Eliot Brown | May 2, 2008

    Eliot Brown
    Willets Point

    The mayor’s executive budget released yesterday called for $389.7 million in city funding for the proposed Willets Point redevelopment, an amount that would be one of the largest direct city contributions for an economic development project during the Bloomberg administration.

    [Summary of the executive budget here as a PDF].

    The money would be used for acquisition and infrastructure work, according to a city summary of the mayor’s budget plan, with the capital budget calling for the money to be spread over a 12-year period, with the bulk of it at the start.

    The city’s plan to redevelop Willets Point, a 61-acre industrial area next to Shea Stadium, has been criticized by numerous members of the City Council, including almost every member from Queens. The Council’s approval is needed for the city to proceed on its plan, and thus it seems unlikely to move ahead until the city addresses some of the Council’s criticisms, which include concerns over the use of eminent domain and treatment of existing landowners and workers.

    As means of comparison, the city previously pledged $350 million for the expansion of the publicly owned Javits Center and $200 million for Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards development.


    http://origin.observer.com/2008/city...-willets-point

    © 2008 Observer Media Group,

  8. #23

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    From: NY Daily News

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...y_slams_w.html

    Eminent domain bid seen as study slams Willets Pt.

    BY JOHN LAUINGER
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
    Wednesday, June 11th 2008, 11:26 PM


    Artist rendering of Iron Triangle in Queens project.



    Riddled with crime and defiled by pollution, Willets Point is a "burden on the health of the city's residents and economy," says a new report that could remake the future of the so-called Iron Triangle in Queens. The study of the gritty industrial zone - a draft copy of which was obtained by the Daily News - signals the city is preparing to use eminent domain to transform Willets Point into a glitzy mega development, experts said. Such reports, commonly known as "blight studies," are typically the first step in condemnation proceedings, said Tom Angotti, a professor in urban affairs and planning at Hunter College.

    "To establish an urban renewal area and take property through eminent domain there has to be a public purpose - and the public purpose is to eliminate blight," Angotti said. The 790-page report, which was done by an outside consultant, paints an unflattering picture of Willets Point. It documents how area businesses have been linked to crimes such as car theft, resale of stolen parts, insurance fraud and dumping of toxic chemicals into the soil and nearby Flushing River.

    "The illegal activities and harmful environmental practices in the district have created a condition that is threatening to the environment and to the neighboring communities," the report notes. Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber said the administration's Willets Point redevelopment plan, which has yet to come before the City Council for a vote, would have an "enormous" impact on the local and citywide economies. But Mark Gerrard, an attorney suing the city on behalf of several Willets Point businesses, argued the city is attempting to profit from a problem it caused by "its refusal over decades to provide the community with the basic services."

  9. #24

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    November 13, 2008

    Willets Point Project Foes Reach Deal With the City

    By FERNANDA SANTOS

    Two of the leading opponents of the Willets Point redevelopment project in Queens came out in favor of the plan on Wednesday, after they reached a critical deal with the city over the number of homes for low-income families that will be built at the site.

    The agreement calls for more than 800 homes for families earning less than $38,400 a year and essentially paves the way for the project’s approval by the City Council on Thursday. The agreement is a major political victory for one of the opponents, Councilman Hiram Monserrate, and for the Bloomberg administration, which spent considerable time and money in recent weeks to arrange support for the plan.

    “This is a project for the people,” said Councilman Monserrate, who represents a district that includes Willets Point, a 62-acre expanse of auto body shops, junkyards and manufacturers on unpaved roads near Shea Stadium. “Everybody wins,” he said.

    The deal requires that 35 percent of the project’s 5,500 housing units be set aside for families who make less than $99,840 a year, or 130 percent of the city’s median income of $76,800. The original plan reserved just 20 percent of the units for families of those income levels.

    The agreement was announced on Wednesday at a news conference at City Hall that brought together what days ago would have been an improbable cast of allies.

    On hand were Mr. Monserrate and Bertha Lewis, chief organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, which Mr. Monserrate had enlisted in opposing the project’s housing levels and the city’s plan to take over privately owned property by eminent domain. At their side were Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, Robert C. Lieber, who worked late into the night on Tuesday to arrange the deal.

    “The truth of the matter is, we have worked well together over the years,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “We don’t always agree on everything, but people always want to paint these battles as personal battles, or if you’re not together on one thing, it means you can’t work together on others. This is as good an example as you could ever find.”

    The mood was festive, with thank-yous and congratulations on both sides. The Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, declared her “enthusiastic support” for the project, proclaiming it “a major economic engine for the city just at a time when we need it most.”

    Councilwoman Melinda R. Katz, who heads the Council’s Land Use Committee, which will hold one of three votes on Willets Point on Thursday, called it “a great project.”

    “We’re creating jobs,” Ms. Katz said, “and we’re creating housing for folks who can least afford to live here.”

    The city has agreements to acquire about 31 percent of the 48 acres of privately owned land at Willets Point and is close to sealing another deal, with Tully Construction and Tully Environmental, which owns the largest parcel at the site. Negotiations with landowners will continue after Thursday’s votes, the mayor said.

    The proposed project includes a half-million square feet of office space, eight acres of parks, stores and a hotel and conference center. It is estimated to cost $3 billion and expected to be built over about 10 years, generating about 18,000 construction jobs and 5,000 permanent jobs, city officials said.

    The future developer will have to abide by housing guidelines that will require the construction of 820 homes for families who make $38,400 a year or less, which is more housing for low-income families than was required in any of the city’s other recent redevelopment projects, including Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Hudson Yards, on the west side of Midtown.

    The rest of the homes will be distributed as follows: about 330 for families earning $38,400 to $46,080; 770 for families earning $46,080 to $99,840; and the remaining 3,500 or so priced at market value.

    “It actually makes homes affordable for the families that live in the area,” said Hannah Weinstock, an organizer with Queens for Affordable Housing, a coalition of community groups that pressured Mr. Monserrate and other legislators to push for a greater portion of homes for low- and moderate-income families.

    The city has established job training programs that will be open to all of the approximately 1,700 people who currently work in the 260 or so businesses at Willets Point, including many illegal immigrants.

    “We’re agnostic in terms of the immigration status of the people who are working there,” Mr. Lieber said. “We want to make sure that people have the jobs and have the opportunity and have the training so that we can keep them in New York City and we can give them an opportunity to grow their families and make a decent wage and benefits for them and their families.”


    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  10. #25

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    November 13, 2008, 5:34 pm

    Council Approves Queens Redevelopment Plans




    By Fernanda Santos

    The Bloomberg administration won City Council approval for the redevelopment of Willets Point, in what is now a neglected industrial triangle near Shea Stadium. (Photo: Frank Franklin II/Associated Press)

    The City Council overwhelmingly approved two redevelopment plans that together will provide thousands of new housing units for low- and moderate-income families and senior citizens in Queens. The projects – Willets Point, in what is now a neglected industrial triangle near Shea Stadium, and Hunters Point South, along the waterfront in Long Island City – will offer nearly 4,000 homes to families that make $99,800 a year or less, with 800 units in Willets Point reserved to families with an annual income of less than $38,000.

    The Council voted in favor of the projects by a 42-to-2 margin, with one abstention.

    The approval was no surprise. Hunters Point South was never truly a controversial project and Willets Point has seen considerable change and movement, especially in the past few days, as the city rushed to enter into as many agreements as possible with the property owners.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg first unveiled his plan to redevelop Willets Point in 2007, promising to transform a bedraggled 62-acre enclave lined with junkyards, auto body shops and manufacturers into a neighborhood filled with offices, stores, a hotel and convention center, parks and new homes. Getting it approved was far more complicated – and controversial – than it was to approve Hunters Point, largely because the city was seeking the right to take private land at the site by eminent domain.

    By voting in favor of the project, the Council authorizes the city to do just that, but how much of it will be needed is still questionable. On Thursday morning, the city’s Economic Development Corporation reached an agreement to acquire the largest of the businesses there, Tully Construction, which, along with a partner company, Tully Environmental, occupies 10 acres of land at the site. The city also agreed to authorize two other businesses, Fodera Foods and House of Spices, to stay in Willets Point even as construction progresses and later sell their land to a developer.

    “The end game here was always to ensure that we had a project and a plan that was fair to all parties,” said Councilman Hiram Monserrate, who represents a district that includes Willets Point and had been one of the project’s most vocal critics. “I think we’ve achieved that.”

    The redevelopment of Willets Point, which is expected to be completed in about 10 years, will generate 18,000 construction jobs and about 5,000 permanent jobs, city officials said. Under an agreement with labor groups representing construction, building services and hospitality workers, those will be for the most part union jobs, with good wages and benefits.

    Hunters Point South, for its part, will have 5,000 homes built on 30 acres on the edge of the East River, near Newtown Creek. Three thousand of the homes will be set aside for families whose annual income totals $126,000 or less, with 800 of them destined specifically to families who earn less than $61,400 a year. There will also be 300 units built for low-income senior citizens and at least 225 units devoted to a middle-class homeownership program.

    “We’re creating a model,” said Councilman Eric N. Gioia, whose district includes the area where the project will be built. “We’re creating housing where all New Yorkers can live together, in the same neighborhood.”

    * Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  11. #26
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Building is simple, but cleanup is going to be expensive. I really have not heard too much about city budget appropriation for site restoration forso many low to mid income housing units.

    IOW, in this market, with those income restrictions, where is the money going to come from? And do we have a realistic estamate, or are we going to get another example of an overbudget parade.....?

  12. #27
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    This development cannot come soon enough! Shea was unceremoniuosly greeted with junkyards and slums after the game the fns had no other refuge besides the parking lot. I remember driving through there once from a game at night and with all the darkness, the dreary shop facades and the pot holes that were literally bigger than my car it looked like a 3rd world country in the middle of a war; it was awful.








    Hopefully they do this right and the street that faces citfield (Maybe they can rename it to Shea Street!!) will have bars, restaurants, shops, street vendors, etc. It was wonderful to go to Fenway and walk around Yawkey during a game, the ambiance was always so festive and fun. This takes the sting away from the Mets taking off 15,000 seats from the fans. At least the fans will have the option to go to a bar and hear the cacophonies of roar of the crowd (or a lamentful gasp) during the game and partake in the thrilling mass scale emotinal roller coaster with thousands of other fans while watching Ameica's Pastime. During great playoff victories, or [God willing] a WS it can serve as a staging point for fan celebrations.

    I really look forward to this redevelopment of Willets Point and cannot wait to enjoy it.

  13. #28
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    ^ If you're looking for bars, shops and restaurants, shouldn't the new stadium have all that already?

  14. #29
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Because of the lack of images in this thread, I went looking for them and found this one from a NY Sun article from last year:



    126th Street view with Stadium. (New York City Economic Development Corporation)

  15. #30
    Forum Veteran TREPYE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
    ^ If you're looking for bars, shops and restaurants, shouldn't the new stadium have all that already?
    Per my statement...
    Quote Originally Posted by TREPYE View Post
    ...this takes the sting away from the Mets taking off 15,000 seats from the fans. At least the fans will have the option to go to a bar...
    What good is any bars, rest., if they are inside the stadium and the game is sold out?

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