Two Queens projects ready to move forward
Following a major victory on a controversial plan to rezone 125th Street in Harlem, the Bloomberg administration is about to seek approval for two signature Queens redevelopment projects—a move sure to stir further debate.
The city intends to certify the Willets Point and Hunters Point South plans into the land-use process on Monday, setting the stage for a seven-month battle as the projects are scrutinized by the communities, the City Planning Commission and the City Council.
Willets Point business owners have been simmering since last May, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $3 billion plan that would displace them and remake the hardscrabble blocks near the Mets’ new Citi Field. There, the city would build 5,500 housing units, a hotel, a convention center and 2.2 million square feet of office and retail space.
The Hunters Point project—which calls for 5,000 units of housing along the East River in Long Island City—has been less controversial, because it does not involve relocations. But since 60% of the residential units would be reserved for middle-income New Yorkers and the rest would be sold at market rates, the plan has drawn the ire of activists who say low-income Queens residents will be priced out.
The Bloomberg administration has already won approval for 80 rezonings, and last week’s win on a key vote concerning the Harlem project means that another authorization could soon be on the way. But the mayor, whose time in office is winding down, is far from finished with an ambitious development agenda that also includes Coney Island, Moynihan Station and a two-block stretch of East 125th Street.
By: Daniel Massey