Redevelopment Planned for Willets Point

Several companies have started to bid on the first phase of redevelopment of Willets Point in Queens, New York.

New York—Pollution. Contamination. Flooding. It’s no surprise that the foreboding neighborhood Willets Point in Queens, N.Y. is nicknamed the “Iron Triangle.” Currently the area, which borders Citi Field stadium, is the home of car repair shops, scrap yards and water processing sites. But this might soon change. Residential real estate companies are in talks to redevelop the area.

Several companies have started to bid on the first phase of redevelopment, including The Related Companies, Silverstein Properties, TDC Development & Construction Corp. and AvalonBay Communities Inc.

“After receiving numerous responses for the first phase of development, we are another step closer to the new Willets Point,” a spokesperson for the New York City Economic Development Corp. says. “This project will create thousands of jobs and allow an environmentally contaminated area to become a model center of economic growth for Queens and New York City. We are eager to continue examining the proposals and to create the blueprint for the future of Willets Point.”

Though in the works, Willets Point’s redevelopment remains a challenge. The city controls 90 percent of the phase-one areas, but has not ruled out using eminent domain to secure the rest.

Additionally, there are environmental issues. “The redevelopment will address challenges in the underdeveloped area in terms of contamination,” L. Nicolas Ronderos, economic and community development director, Regional Plan Association, tells MHN. “The environmental benefits [of fixing up the area] are very important.”

According to an article on CrainsNewYork.com, “the division of the project into three stages—intended to get it started faster—has raised doubts that it will work financially for developers. The first phase calls for up to 680,000 square feet of retail space, as many as 400 units of mixed-income housing, up to 387 hotel rooms and about two acres of open space. The city has also asked developers to propose a vision for future stages.”

Though challenging, many are encouraged by this redevelopment, which stands to boost the local economy and create jobs, in addition to making the area greener.