Plan for Willets Point Comes into Focus

Unveiled earlier this week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the area around Citi Field in Queens is due to become "the site of historic private investment," as a result of a deal reached with developers Sterling Equities and Related Companies.

The deal gives new legs to the $3 billion project at a site that has "bedeviled officials for decades." The project will begin with an investment of $100 million by the city on the demolition and cleanup of the former auto repair shops and junk yards to the east of the stadium, and the installation of basic infrastructure. The first major piece of development scheduled to come online will be Willets West, a "mega entertainment/retail hub" that will consist of transforming the former site of Shea Stadium, and a current parking lot, into "more than one million square feet of retail, movie theaters, restaurants, venues, and, of course, parking."

Only after that portion of the project is completed will 2,500 units of housing be constructed. "That the housing comes so late in the game has got more than few [sic] politians [sic] up up [sic] in arms," writes Tom Stoelker. "The Daily News reported early this week that City Coucilmember [sic] Karen Koslowitz was not pleased. It's a pretty sensitive topic that was initially raises [sic] in The Wall Street Journal last month, which cited Willets Point and Atlantic Yards as examples of where housing was used to win favor with the locals but ends up being the last component of the project scheduled for completion." 

Full Story: Willets Point Brings Retail Revelry, Puts Housing on Back Burner

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