The final goal: Willets Point plan for new NYCFC soccer stadium and hundreds of affordable apartments gets City Council approval

Rendering of Willets Point
A rendering of the new Willets Point once completed, including a new soccer stadium for NYCFC
NYC Economic Development Corporation

Willets Point’s long-awaited transformation from industrial wasteland to Queens’ newest neighborhood got the green light from the City Council Thursday.

The legislature approved on April 11 a massive redevelopment that includes a brand new soccer stadium for the New York City Football Club (NYCFC), which has played home games at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field since its inception, and a 100% 2,500-unit affordable housing project that is the city’s largest in four decades.

Mayor Eric Adams called the plan “the goal of the decade” that will generate billions of dollars in new economic activity, and tens of thousands of jobs, through not only the new soccer stadium and housing, but also more than 20,000 square feet of retail and a 250-room hotel. 

“We’re building a brand-new community out of the ‘Valley of Ashes’, and we couldn’t have done it without all our partners, including Councilmember [Francisco] Moya and the rest of the City Council, [Queens] Borough President [Donovan] Richards, NYCFC, Queens Development Group, our union members, and everyone living in Willets Point who made their voices heard and demanded a new future for themselves,” the mayor said on Thursday. “After today’s vote, we’re one step closer to delivering that future.”

For years, the city and the Queens community has debated the fate of Willets Point, which for decades has been home to junkyards, auto repair shops and light industry. Even as Shea Stadium rose and was eventually replaced by Citi Field, the industry in the “Valley of Ashes” persisted beyond the Mets outfield while visions for redevelopment never seemed to get off the ground.

Mayor Eric Adams celebrates Willets Point redevelopment approval
New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivers remarks at New York City Football Club’s (NYCFC) rally in support of the Willets Point Transformation, which will bring 100 percent affordable housing, economic activity, and New York City’s first-ever soccer-specific stadium to Queens, City Hall on Thursday , April 11, 2024.Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office

Finally, last year, Mayor Adams and Queens officials broke ground on the first phase of Willets Point development: the construction of affordable housing. When finished on or about the end of 2026, 880 new affordable units — 220 of which will be set aside for low-income seniors — will be opened to residents.

The second phase will deliver the remaining 1,400 affordable homes to be created at Willets Point, along with the other big ticket items: a 250-key hotel to go with new retail space, and the construction of a 25,000-seat arena which NYCFC will privately finance. It will be the first fully-electric stadium in Major League Soccer, and in New York City, scheduled to open in time for the 2027 MLS season.

The city will also build out critical infrastructure necessary to complete Willets Point’s transformation into a residential community. The city has also investigated significant sums to clear out nearly 200,000 tons of contaminated soil and install the basics such as streets, signage, sidewalks, curbs, trees, lights, draining, sewer/water mains, utilities and flood resiliency measures.

Willets Point redevelopment
A rendering of how Willets Point will look, with the new NYCFC stadium in the foreground and Citi Field and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the background.

Some 14,000 construction jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project; the Queens Development Group, which is spearheading the plan, will hire locally through HireNYC. 

“Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Adams, Councilman Moya, Speaker Adrienne Adams, Borough President Donovan Richards, Andrew Kimball, Adolfo Carrion and so many others we get to cement the future of Willets Point as a vibrant neighborhood with affordable housing at its core,” said Jeff Blau, CEO, Related Companies, and Scott Wilpon, partner, Sterling Equities, on behalf of Queens Development Group. “Together, we are going to create 2,500 units of affordable housing – desperately needed homes for families and seniors that will stand for generations. We are going to have a neighborhood in a place that was once a maze of unpaved roads featuring the city’s first soccer-specific stadium. We’re going to finally have a community.”

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