Monday, May 28, 2012

Planned Obsolescence at Willets Point

The Times Ledger has another report on the city's stealth efforts to hand over property at Willets Point to favored real estate developers to do something really innovative-build another mall (or two)!

"The city is staying mum on its deal with developers to put retail space and hotels around Citi Field after the mayor withdrew his bid to use eminent domain to acquire property in Willets Point earlier this month, but members of the real estate community are expecting an official announcement

“I thought the whole world would know by now,” said one developer after the city dropped hints it would be announcing the fate of a re-imagined mega-project that once sought to completely transform the Iron Triangle."

Silence apparently is golden-or at least it is to the city's co-conspirators at Related and Sterling Equities who are the chosen darlings of this absolutely nonsensical plan to turn Queens into one giant parking lot: "The plan now includes a 1.4 million-square-foot mall and parking lot to the east of Citi Field, according to a report in The Wall Street
Journal, which the city hopes will replace the portion of Willets Point immediately across from the stadium. Updated plans also include more retail space on the site of a current parking lot to the west of the stadium, which can only be
developed after the hotel and parking lot are complete, the Journal reported."

Gone is the grandiose concept of the city's new green neighborhood-unless by green EDC means the money flowing into the developers' coffers. But this is by no means a done deal: "The plans will probably require a new proposal, public hearings and eventually City Council approval, which means it could be years before a shovel is in the ground."

The alterations of the Willets Point plan resembles a grotesque extreme makeover-and it should be sent directly to the garbage heap by anyone concerned with what's good for the neighborhoods of Queens. Hopefully that will include a quorum of the members of the Queens council delegation-folks who originally voted for housing and a convention center but who now must consider a shameful bait and switch.