67° Good Afternoon
67° Good Afternoon
Real Estate

Willets Point redevelopment plan returns with affordable housing boost

The deal includes 1,100 apartments for low- and moderate-income residents, a school and a retail space.

Willets Point redevelopment will go forward under a

Willets Point redevelopment will go forward under a new plan agreed upon by City Hall, Related Companies and the Mets' owners. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

A redevelopment project at Willets Point in Queens is back in the game — albeit with a slightly different pitch.

After a state court shelved a prior plan that would have used parkland for a shopping mall, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration reached a new agreement Monday with the same developers that involves constructing 1,100 apartments for low- and moderate-income residents, a school and retail space on a site near Citi Field.

The developers — Related Companies and the owners of the Mets — will build on six acres, according to The New York Times, which first reported the agreement.

The city plans to convene a task force with Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and the local city councilman, Francisco Moya, to plan for another 17 acres in Willets Point, historically home to an auto repair industry that once flourished amid streets in disrepair and other infrastructure issues.

The project stems from the administration of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which sought to construct a new neighborhood in Willets Point. The city government has mostly cleared the area, in part by agreeing to help auto repair shops relocate to a Bronx facility, where many have since faced eviction.

“This is a happy and smarter ending to the first phase of Willets,” Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told the Times. “This is a huge milestone for what we came here to do.”

In 2012, the city revamped its plans to include a 1.4 million-square-foot mall and 2,500 apartments — 875 of which would be below market-rate.

Opponents filed a legal challenge. In 2015, the court ruled a mall could not be built on the parking lot beside Citi Field because it was parkland legally designated only for use as a stadium.

At one point, the de Blasio administration joined developers in appealing the court decision, while simultaneously negotiating to alter the plans, the Times reported. But the initial ruling was upheld.

City Hall did not immediately answer questions about the timeline for the revamped project and other details.

Katz said she looked forward to working with local communities on steering future development at Willets Point.

“The City has immediate, desperate needs for affordable housing units and school seats, especially here in Queens. This agreement to build 100 percent affordable housing at Willets Point is the right plan at the right time,” Katz said in a statement.

With Lisa L. Colangelo


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos