Talk about a home run.
After two years of negotiations with some of New York’s biggest developers, the city has scored a victory at Willets Point at once smaller and bigger than previously pitched. Today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released the line-up for a 52-acre Willets Point development boxing in Citi Field, which will be built by a development double play by the Related Companies and Sterling Equities, run by the owners of the Mets.
The project will not encompass the entire 61-acre Iron Triangle. Nor will it follow the outlines of a plan for phased development at Willets Point released in 2010. But rather than being a smaller project, a glorified mall as early leaks of the agreement had suggested, the new plan far exceeds what the Bloomberg administration had once called for on the site two years ago—and not simply because the Wilpons will now build a million-square-foot “entertainment complex” (don’t call it a mall!) on the west side of their stadium. The bigger play is what is planned on the east side of the stadium.
“At Willets Point, where others have seen challenges, we have always seen enormous opportunities,” Mayor Bloomberg said at a breakfast hosted by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Today the valley of ashes is well on its way to becoming the site of historic private investment, major job creation and unprecedented environmental remediation.”