City Council approves redevelopment of Willets Point in Queens
Once known as the “valley of ashes,” the much-contested Willets Point will be transformed into a complex of retail space, a hotel and residential apartments under a bill passed by City Council Wednesday.
The $3 billion redevelopment plan, headed by Related Co. and Sterling Industries, will include a 1.4 million square-foot mall next to Citi Field.
Though community members have fought the proposal for several months, Mayor Michael Bloomberg applauded the bill’s passage in a statement, calling it a “critical milestone.”
The plan was passed after negotiations with Queens Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who pledged her support after certain concessions were made.
As part of the agreement, 872 new affordable housing units will be part of the first phase project.
The developers have also agreed to fund a new nonprofit alliance, The Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance, with $15 million to upkeep the nearby park.
The developers will also work with authorities to build a new K-8 school and community facilities, including a library, day care center and public plaza.
The administration will pay $15.5 million to relocate businesses in Willets Point.
Environmental remediation agreements, including the construction of a rooftop farm and greenhouse on the new mall, were also made.
“After many long years of reviewing this proposal and taking my district’s needs into account, I am confident that this development will be a win for my constituents,” Ferreras said in a statement.
The project is expected to create 7,100 permanent jobs and 12,000 construction jobs.
“Thanks to today’s actions, we are going to transform a contaminated site into a new community with thousands of new jobs, affordable housing, retail, and open space,” the developers, collectively the Queens Development Group, said in a statement.
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