Thursday, April 21, 2011

Haber's Wisdom

Once again Ben Haber exhibits more intelligence than the entire cohort of EDC masters of the universe. In a letter to the Queens Tribune he questions the wisdom of all the development in Flushing and Willets Point:

"Apart from the destruction of hundreds of small businesses and the loss of jobs by thousands of persons and their dependents, an article that appeared in The New York Times April 13 titled “For Flushing and Its Waterfront, Time to Think Big” makes it clear the folly of the proposed Willets Point project. The article makes reference to the following projects in downtown Flushing:

1. Flushing Commons – a 1.8 million square foot mixed-use development that will include office and retail space, 600 condos, a YMCA facility and a small park;

2. Another mixed-use development that will include a 168-room Hyatt Place Hotel with three levels of retail space and a separate tower for office space and apartments;

3. On the former RKO Keith’s Theatre site there is to be a mixed use development that will include 357 rental apartments, retail space and a senior center;

4. 1,800 to 2,800 residences near the waterfront;

5. The Sky View Center, an 800,000-square-foot mall; and

6. Sky View Parc, a condominium tower with 448 units and a planned addition of 600 units."

This is supposed to be sustainable planning? Not according to WPU and Haber: "In view of the forgoing, legitimate and serious questions exist with the Willets Point project. Do we need another hotel? Do we need more luxury apartments? Do we need more luxury retail space? Given the fact we already have the Javits Convention Center that does not make money and nationally there is a glut of convention space, do we need another convention center?"

But Ben who really knows what if anything will get built at Willets Point? All of this may be only pie in the sky. But we do know that this isn't any form of good planning, let alone sustainable: "Given all that has occurred and is planned for downtown Flushing, why would any sane person hazard crossing the congested Van Wyck Expressway and Grand Central Parkway for what already and will be available in Flushing? Should taxpayers subsidize real estate developers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars for a project that does not make sense?"

That is why we have called the Willets Point development a real monument to the Bloomberg legacy: Exposing his carbon footprint hypocrisy while dramatically underscoring his rank obeisance to his rich real estate friends.