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Thread: Iron Triangle in Queens to Be Redeveloped

  1. #121
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I'd rather see a Ferris Wheel at the west edge of Queens, at the mouth of Newton Creek, when they get that development going. Better views from up top.

    Or at the edge of Hudson Yards overlooking the Hudson River. Or even out on one of piers in HRP.

    Yep, me wants a big sucker Ferris Wheel.

  2. #122

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    Developers put in plans to remake Willets Point

    At least four bidders are in line for phase one, including retail, housing, hotel rooms


    http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20111016/REAL_ESTATE/310169969


    Almost five years after Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a sweeping plan to make over Willets Point, a 61-acre swath of pockmarked streets and auto shops in northeast Queens, the redevelopment is finally springing to life. At least four teams of bidders submitted proposals to build the project's first phase, and off-site infrastructure improvements will begin this fall in an area that has bedeviled politicians and planners since Robert Moses.
    Crain's has identified four of the bidders, including The Related Companies and Silverstein Properties, though none of them would comment, citing a gag order imposed by the city.
    “We are another step closer to the new Willets Point,” a spokeswoman for the city's Economic Development Corp. said. “This project will create thousands of jobs and allow an environmentally contaminated area to become a model center of economic growth for Queens and New York City.”
    Back in 2007, Mr. Bloomberg called the future of Willets Point “very bright indeed,” but the path to that future quickly developed Willets Point-size potholes. The City Council approved the mayor's vision to turn the so-called Iron Triangle into a retail, residential and entertainment district in 2008, just as the economy tanked. And a gritty group of area business owners used legal maneuvers to throw the project off course. City officials found themselves without full control of the site, challenged in their quest for highway-ramp approvals and staring down a brutal financing environment.
    Even as the project moves forward, questions remain. The redevelopment is complicated, requiring environmental remediation, infrastructure upgrades and land acquisition. The city controls 90% of the phase-one areas, but has not ruled out using eminent domain to secure the remaining parcels, which would create a storm of opposition.
    Perhaps more significantly, the division of the project into three stages—intended to get it started faster—has raised doubts that it will work financially for developers. The first phase calls for up to 680,000 square feet of retail space, as many as 400 units of mixed-income housing, up to 387 hotel rooms and about two acres of open space. The city has also asked developers to propose a vision for future stages.
    “It seems like there's more interest in getting something done in this administration than in getting the whole thing done,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “When you start putting things into phase twos and threes, the likelihood of it ever happening gets slimmer and slimmer.”
    However, L. Nicolas Ronderos, director of economic and community development at the Regional Plan Association, said the phasing has benefits, especially in a tough economic climate, because it allows infrastructure and acquisition costs to be spread out over time. The first phase could “catalyze development” of the future phases, he said.

    The bidders, according to political and real estate sources, include:


    • World Trade Center developer Silverstein Properties, which has teamed up with Taubman Centers Inc., a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based real estate investment trust that develops retail properties, and Canyon Johnson Urban Funds, a series of joint ventures between Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors that focus on urban areas.
    • Hudson Yards developer The Related Companies, partnering with Sterling Equities, the real estate firm controlled by Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz. The development area is across the street from the Mets' ballpark, Citi Field.
    • TDC Development & Construction Corp., a Flushing, Queens-based firm that is developing Flushing Commons. It also has teamed up with Sterling.
    • Arlington, Va.-based mega-REIT AvalonBay Communities Inc., along with shopping center developer Macerich, the Dallas-based firm that developed the Queens Center Mall.

    Some of the bids themselves have sparked controversy. United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 said it will vigorously oppose Related's bid because the developer is considering leasing a Brooklyn site to Walmart. The union is trying to prevent the retail giant from entering New York City.
    The TDC bid has also elicited howls from opponents of the project, led by the holdout property owners group Willets Point United. It argues that TDC should be barred from participating because it was part of the Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corp., a nonprofit organization partially funded by the city that advocated for the redevelopment. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating whether the LDC illegally lobbied for the project.
    The biggest challenges, though, may lie in the impact that dividing the project into phases may have on the redevelopment's economics. The city won't reveal what the firms have proposed, but observers question whether the first phase has enough housing units to make residential development viable. Responses are likely focused on entertainment, retail and hospitality, they said. Because the project requires substantial remediation, is in a flood plain, and the first phase is just 12.75 acres, it will be hard for its developer to make the finances work.
    The initial winning bidder will have first crack at future phases, but even though officials expect the entire project to be completed by 2022, the timing and location of future developments are not settled. And the city has not set aside money to acquire additional land outside the initial development area.
    For now, baby steps are being taken, and there finally appears to be liftoff for a project that leaders like Mr. Moses, former Gov. Mario Cuomo and Mayors Robert Wagner, Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani could never get off the ground.



  3. #123
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Please say no to Related Cos.


    We don't want any more architecturally underwhelming large scale projects from them.


    And Avalon? God, no!

  4. #124

  5. #125
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    No one should expect any architecture to take place here. We're going to get boxes in a row.

  6. #126

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    this is strictly a low rise development.. I suspect the deal goes to Silverstein/Sterling..

    there is talk of a Technology University .. not sure if or how it fits into the master plan

    http:// www.timesledger.com/stories/2011/41/skandul_all_2011_10_13_q.html
    Willets Pt. must become East Coast Silicon Valley

    Silicon Valley is getting ready for its biggest competitor yet. Yes, that is right: New York City. In a plan that has stirred and awed much of the tech world, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has committed $100 million to establishing a top-tier, applied sciences university within the five boroughs.
    The premise is simple: A tech university is the best way to draw talent — clusters of young developers and entrepreneurs — to the city to foster an industry that will provide the next wave of start-ups that could spin off revolutionary tech companies like Google or eBay.
    The plan is the most far-reaching and innovative the city has seen in more than 100 years. Even former President Bill Clinton admired the mayor for undertaking such a pioneering project with vast economic benefits. Hundreds of start-ups and technology companies in the next decade could potentially generate tens of thousands of jobs here in the city and dramatically increase local economic activity and modernize our economy.
    Yet as the mayor plays chief executive for this emerging tech industry, he has given short shrift to what is essential in creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem: the location. In the calculus of engineering this next industry, he has overlooked Queens.
    The city has offered three locations in its request for proposals — Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard — but there are obvious issues with all three in their ability to cultivate a Silicon Valley, issues that would constrain the growth of a university and an industry.
    The first two sites are naturally isolated and the last is in a painfully congested and equally inaccessible location in Brooklyn, partially resting on the East River. Even an additional billion-dollar bridge, a Venice-esque ferry service or an additional tram will not make these sites any more accessible.
    Most importantly, and worst of all, the three locations encompass geographical areas that are prohibitively small — the Goldwater Hospital site on Roosevelt Island is only 9.9 acres in size and can barely be reached by car.
    To reach the full potential of Applied Science NYC, the city will need to think bigger and more holistically. And to build an educational and robust commercial tech corridor capable of competing with Silicon Valley, the university will need more developable space and to be globally accessible. There is a location, though, that offers accessibility and expandability, and the opportunity to build not just another Silicon Alley or Square, but a Silicon City, and it is right here in our borough’s backyard: Willets Point.
    Willets Point is uniquely suited to be the home of this city’s next new university. Given the area’s established transportation node — the Long Island Rail Road, the No. 7 train, 19 buses, four major highways, two bridges and two airports — and the 62 developable acres of land and thousands of feet of available commercial space, there is no other location in New York City with the global and regional accessibility, and comparable commercial and residential growth potential.
    Yet Willets Point’s best feature is Queens’ distinguishing characteristic — that is, its local diversity. Economic developers and Silicon Valley tech enthusiasts will tell you it is the diversity of the goods and people that makes the northern California region so successful, not just the locale.
    Today in Silicon Valley, more than half of all start-ups — 52 percent — are founded by immigrants, often Russian, Indian and Taiwanese immigrants with strong community ties and entrepreneurial appetites. In order to build an East Coast tech epicenter, we will need not only the physical but the human and cultural infrastructure. What better place to locate this university and industry than in the most diverse county in the country, where there are entrepreneurial, multicultural communities eager to do business?
    As Queens residents, we are intimately aware of the chronicle of Willets Point. It is at once an area of modern urban blight but also of enormous economic potential. We have an opportunity before us to incorporate a university into the plans and accelerate the rebuilding of an area that continues to be stalled. It is an opportunity which, if located in Queens, has the promise of transforming not only this city’s economy, but as Clinton has made clear, the economy of the East Coast.
    The Coalition for Queens has built broad community support for a university to be incorporated into the current plans for Willets Point and has received the support of local Queens elected officials, including the head of the Queens delegation, City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), seven Council members and several state senators and state Assembly members. The newest supporter of a potential Queens location is Borough President Helen Marshall.
    Together with our community and local leaders, we are making sure that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity does not pass our borough by. We are reimagining Willets Point as the Silicon City of tomorrow.
    Emil Skandul
    Member
    Coalition for Queens
    Flushing

  7. #127
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Willets Point to Rise from Ashes

    by Tom Stoelker


    The city's plans for Willets Point took a giant step forward with federal approval of highway ramps
    (Courtesy NYCEDC).

    In Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby the billboard eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg kept watch over the ash heaps near Willets Point. For the past four years Mayor Bloomberg has had his eyes steadfastly fixed on the site and it looks as though he may realize his vision of the area as a mixed use development. Today Crain’s reports that a key part of the redevelopment plan, ramps connecting to the Van Wyck Expressway, was approved by the Federal Highway Administration.


    The eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg overlooking the ash heaps in the 1974 film, "The Great Gatsby."
    (Coutesy Paramount)

    In Gatsby, the area served as a brutal reality check between Gatsby’s West Egg fantasy and the glitz of the Plaza Hotel. For urbanism buffs a trip to Willets Point is a must. The many auto repair shops, junk yards, and recycling plants provide an unfettered look inside the belly of the urban beast. But like so many other dirty bits of business (see Fresh Kills), the city seems intent on exporting the unattractive aesthetics that come with it. “It may not look pretty, but its work that needs doing,” said Roberta Brandes Gratz, author of The Battle for Gotham and Jane Jacobs protege. “If it’s not clean work, does that make it blight?”

    Gratz compared the city’s plan to Robert Moses’ neighborhood clearance projects. She questioned the elimination of businesses that pull in more than $1 million in real estate taxes, despite being unconnected to basic services such as sewer and waste water systems. “It costs the city nothing, yet its collecting tax revenue,” said Grantz. “Where are those businesses going to? Jersey, Connecticut, Nassau?”

    There’s no questioning that the city has begun to appreciate its decayed industrial aesthetic, so lovingly and nostalgically preserved on the High Line. The city has even found ways to reclaim former trash heaps (see Fresh Kills again). A statement from New York City Economic Development Corporation frames the Willets Point project in similarly ambitious terms: “Building upon the off site infrastructure work on which we broke ground last fall, today, we are literally laying the foundation for the site and unlocking its long-term potential for future generations of New Yorkers.”

    But the gritty industries that created the sites may not be as welcome in future plans. Instead, $3 billion worth of hotels, residences, and retail along with nearly 80,000 vehicle trips a day will take their place. ”Adding new highways is no longer considered reasonable and an off ramp will increase traffic,” said Gratz. “What ever gets built there would car oriented. I thought the city was trying to be green!”

    http://blog.archpaper.com/wordpress/archives/36036

  8. #128

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    this is significant because the opposition was counting on using the point that the ramps were not approved to get the Eminient Domain Procedure halted/.

    the judge has no choice but to let the former ruling stand. A ruling made by the same judge incidentally.

    So now the WP squatters and poluters have no recourse other than a federal statute stopping funds for projects using Eminent Domain

    shovels are in teh ground already.. time to roll the dozers over to 126th street and start cleaning the filth.

  9. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by BiggieSmalls View Post
    time to roll the dozers over to 126th street and start cleaning the filth.
    That filth could be a major problem. Probably not talking superfund site, but pretty damn close. The land these auto shops occupy has no sewers, all that motor oil, anti freeze, break/hydrolic fluid, etc.. has been dumped "out back" for many decades. The soil will have to be decontaminated and who knows how much that's going to cost and how long it will take

  10. #130
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    About as long as it took to "decontaminate" the Hoboken waterfront.

    Get it in a truck, drive it around for a while and dump it back in. So long as it is not oozing or blue.......

  11. #131
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Zoning Slows Mayor’s Plan to Remake Willets Point

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI

    But even as Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans to announce a deal with a developer for the site this month, the project at the area known as Willets Point suffered another setback, which will delay construction for as much as two years.

    The proposal for a mix of retail space and housing on 12.75 acres, the first phase of the project, does not conform to existing zoning regulations and will require a new environmental review, public hearings and a journey through New York City’s often treacherous review process.

    “This slows them down a lot,” said Michael B. Gerrard, a lawyer who is representing landowners opposed to the redevelopment plan.

    The administration tried to put the best face on what could be a lengthy delay. “We’re very close to having a deal in place that will transform Willets Point into New York City’s next great neighborhood and continue the historic process we’ve already made there,” said Julie Wood, a Bloomberg spokeswoman.

    According to real estate executives and officials briefed on the plans, the city will award the first phase to a joint venture of Related Companies and Sterling Equities, a real estate company owned by Fred Wilpon and Saul B. Katz, the owners of Citi Field and the Mets.

    The problems came to light on Wednesday morning, when city officials notified the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court that a hearing next week on the project was no longer necessary. Local landowners who are opposing the city’s use of eminent domain to gain control of the site have appealed a lower court decision in favor of the Bloomberg administration.

    The city said it was withdrawing the bulk of the legal findings on which it based its case for eminent domain. It plans to submit a new set of findings, after the environmental review and the public review. Those, in turn, will almost certainly generate a new lawsuit opposing the project.

    Ms. Wood declined to identify the developer or describe how the project would differ from the original plans, but said, “Today’s action ensures that our plan will comply with the site’s myriad technical and legal requirements.”

    The administration first approved the redevelopment of the 62-acre Willets Point neighborhood in 2008. It solicited proposals from developers for the first phase in September. The first phase was to include 680,000 square feet of retail space, a hotel and up to 400 apartments, a substantial number of them intended for low- and moderate-income families.

    But as city officials pared the number of bidders, it became apparent that the developers could not devise a viable plan that met all the city’s requirements, in part because of the potentially high costs of cleansing the land of toxic substances.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/03/ny...er=rss&emc=rss

  12. #132
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    In Shift on Willets Pt., City Strikes New Development Deal
    By CHARLES V. BAGLI
    Published: May 16, 2012


    In a sudden departure from its long-held plans, the Bloomberg administration has struck a deal with a developer and the owners of the Mets to build a 1.4-million-square-foot mall and parking garage in Queens next to Citi Field, as well as a 200-room hotel and stores on the other side of the stadium.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/ny...ets-point.html
    Last edited by GordonGecko; May 18th, 2012 at 04:46 PM.

  13. #133
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Wow.

    A Mall.

  14. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ninjahedge View Post
    Wow.

    A Mall.
    it's weird because there's a brand new mall a couple blocks away at roosevelt and college point. They won't be happy

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    I wonder if they'll try to go for something more along the lines of what's been done around places like Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA, or in the sports complex down in Philly.

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