After years of uncertainty, it appears that a plan to redevelop the Willets Points neighborhood near Citi Field will move forward under new terms.
New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul B. Katz have long been involved in an effort to redevelop Willets Point, an area near Citi Field where numerous auto repair shops have already been demolished to clear the way for new development. However, the initiative has run into delays over the years, including one from a 2015 state court ruling that a planned shopping mall could not be constructed in an area that had been designated as parkland.
An announcement on Monday indicates that a new version of the plan will move forward. While the Mets owners will continue to work with Related Companies as the project’s developer, the new plan now calls for the elimination of the mall component, while including more than 1,000 apartments for low- and moderate-income residents. More from The New York Times:
But on Monday, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio struck a deal with the original developers for a new version of the plan, which will include 1,100 apartments for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, a 450-seat school, open space and retail on six acres at Willets Point Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue.
Notably not part of the plan: the mall. Instead of pursuing remnants of the old plan, the de Blasio administration will convene a task force with Melinda Katz, the Queens borough president, and Francisco Moya, the local City Council member, to fashion a framework for developing the remaining 17 acres at the site, which is also known as the Iron Triangle…..
“This is a happy and smarter ending to the first phase of Willets,” said Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for economic development under Mr. de Blasio, who has made affordable housing a keystone of the administration. “This is a huge milestone for what we came here to do.”
Ms. Katz said the new plan would finally “put a shovel in the ground.” In 2008, Ms. Katz, then a City Council member, had sponsored a bill supporting a prior proposal.
Under the parameters of the deal, environmental cleanup of the site will be the responsibility of the developers, and must be finished by conclusion of 2020. The first 500 of the planned apartments would then be completed by 2022.