Wednesday, April 22, 2009

AP story on WP redevelopment not so rosy

From an AP news story:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an ambitious plan two years ago to turn the downtrodden area into living and working space. His expectation was for homes, office towers and a convention center to replace the gutted garages, rusty fences and graffiti-covered storefronts.

The city says the plans are on track despite the deep economic downturn, but critics wonder where financing will come from. And, nearly two dozen business owners who don't want to leave have filed a lawsuit to halt the redevelopment.

"There's not a demand for office space," said Jerry Antonacci of Crown Container Co., one of the business owners who sued last month in state Supreme Court challenging the city's environmental review of the area, known as Willets Point.

"There's not a demand for housing. Retail stores are closing up. What developer in their right mind is going to build something when nobody wants it?"

"We're not going to stop fighting," said Jake Bono of Bono Sawdust Supply Co. "This plan is never going to happen."

Things must not be going well over at the EDC. Why else would they be putting out stories assuring the public that the plan is on track? How can the Bloomberg administration even assert that the plan is on schedule when they recently announced that they would have to proceed in phases instead of all at once as they once claimed?