City finally shows off future of Willets Point
After years of planning, the mayor has finalized a proposal to transform the "valley of ashes" into Queens' new hot spot.
Two Manhattan development corporations, one of which is run by Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, were chosen Thursday to create a new mall, entertainment center and housing complex at Willets Point.
The city acquired 23 acres of the land near Citi Field, which has long been considered an eyesore.
"At Willets Point, where others have seen challenges, we have always seen enormous opportunities," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
A 200-room hotel will be created along with 30,000 square feet of retail and restaurants and an additional one million-square-foot entertainment center that will have over 200 stores, movie theaters and restaurants. A 2,500-unit housing complex is also planned for the site.
The city will pay $100 million for the project and there will be a billion dollar investment from private firms. Bloomberg said the project will create nearly 7,000 jobs and generate close to $148 million in tax revenue.
The City Council approved the redevelopment proposal in 2008, but Willets Point business owners fought over eminent domain concerns. The mayor said those businesses will get help relocating.