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  #1  
Old Posted May 3, 2007, 2:49 PM
fioco fioco is offline
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Smile NEW YORK | Willets Point Development (Flushing)


With the Willets Point project, the City seeks to establish an urban renewal area that would improve environmental conditions in the Willets Point area. The mixed-use plan will create a new regional destination that includes new housing options, many new local jobs and an overall improvement in the quality of life for area residents.

Willets Point Neighborhood

The Willets Point Development District (the “District”) is located in the heart of northern Queens, adjacent to Shea Stadium, the USTA National Tennis Center, and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The District is located at the intersection of several major arterial highways. It is easily accessible to the entire New York City metropolitan area via the Long Island Rail Road and the No. 7 subway line, and is located in close proximity to both LaGuardia and JFK International Airports.

Plan for Urban Renewal
The City seeks to initiate a rezoning and establish an urban renewal area that creates a comprehensive land use, infrastructure, and development plan for the District. Willets Point would serve as a world-class example of superior urban design and development.

The plan's ultimate goals include:

* Improving environmental conditions in Willets Point
* Providing new affordable and market rate housing
* Promoting economic growth and job creation through additional private investment
* Creating a new regional destination
* Improving the quality of life for area residents

Redevelopment of the District is representative of the City’s long-term planning and sustainability goals. It would not only eliminate degradation of the natural environment, but also promote green building and sustainable design practices.

More Information About Willets Point
To view the Downtown Flushing Development Framework, please visit www.downtownflushing.com. As the project enters the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and environmental review in 2007, NYCEDC will continue to work with partner City agencies in connection with the project design and construction.

You can also view the recently released Environmental Assessment Statement (PDF 847 KB) and Draft Scope of Work for the Environmental Impact Statement (PDF 1.3 MB) to learn more about the Willets Point project.

Last edited by fioco; May 3, 2007 at 2:54 PM.
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Old Posted May 3, 2007, 2:52 PM
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Aerial photos from AntiNimby

AntiNimby posted these aerial photos in the CitiField thread:


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Old Posted May 3, 2007, 2:53 PM
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Here's a ground level shot:
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Old Posted May 3, 2007, 2:58 PM
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Courtesy of NYguy:

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Originally Posted by NYguy View Post
http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-wi...m-topheadlines

Mayor details Willets Point plan

By Karla Schuster
May 1, 2007

As the Mets' new stadium rises nearby, Mayor Michael Bloomberg Tuesday unveiled a proposed master plan for Willets Point that would transform the 60-acre swath of car repair shops and junkyards near Citi Field into a mixed-used development that officials envision becoming New York's version of the neighborhoods flanking Fenway Park in Boston or Camden Yards in Baltimore.

The single largest feature of the plan, outlined Tuesday at a news conference at the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, is 1.7 million square feet of retail and entertainment space that would be built across the street from the new CitiField ballpark.

There would be few, if any, interior walkways and no big box stores -- a street-oriented design aimed at drawing fans before and after games
, similar to Landsdowne Street outside Fenway Park or Baltimore's Inner Harbor neighborhood surrounding Camden Yards, according to officials from the city's Economic Development Corporation.

The plan also includes 5,500 units of mixed-income housing, some townhouses and some mid-rise apartment buildings of no more than eight stories; a 700-room hotel, a convention center, 500,000-square-feet of office space, a two-acre park and a new bridge into Flushing over Flushing Creek. Designers have also included plans for so-called "green roofs" on many of the buildings to create additional recreational space.

While the city has outlined its plans for redeveloping what is called the Iron Triangle before, Tuesday's announcement offers the most detailed vision for the site yet and kicks off the formal land-use review process necessary to rezone the area, acquire the property and re-locate the estimated 250 businesses there.

The area has no sidewalks or sewers, and is pockmarked by potholes and deep puddles. City officials acknowledge that an expensive environmental clean-up is necessary before the site can be developed. The city expects to choose a developer by next summer.

The plan, called bold and ambitious by some and criticized as needlessly uprooting viable businesses by others, must be approved by the city Planning Commission and the City Council. A public hearing on an upcoming environmental study of the site will be held Tuesday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Flushing library.

Businesses and property owners from the area have decried the city's plans, which include seizing the property through eminent domain if owners are unwilling to sell.

Approximately 1,300 workers would be displaced if the city's plans for redevelopment are approved. The city estimates the construction would generate 20,000 jobs, while the the project would create 6,100 permanent jobs at full build-out.

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http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-wi...mepage-swapbox

Willets Point's last man standing defiantly

May 1, 2007

On the west side of 126th Street, the Mets are building themselves a new home, while three blocks away, in the rutted exhibit of planned urban neglect known as the Iron Triangle, Joe Ardizzone is just trying to save his old one.

The higher the concrete towers and steel framework of Citi Field rise, the lower the hopes of Ardizzone sink. But while Bruce Ratner has been successful in displacing - or, to use the preferred term of the real estate vulture, "relocating" - thousands of city residents to make way for the future home of the Brooklyn Nets, Ardizzone says there is no way the city or the Mets or any combination of the two will evict the one and only resident of Willets Point, N.Y.

"They'll have to kill me and drag me out of here first," he said. "This is my home. This is not democracy. This is not American. Why should I have to leave the place where I've lived my whole life so some billionaires can get richer?"

No one has yet told Ardizzone, who is 74 and more energetic than any man his age has any right to be, that he has to leave his two-story stucco and brick house, wedged between an ironworks and an auto parts dealer on Willets Point Boulevard, today, tomorrow or ever.

But then, no one has told Ardizzone or any of the 100 or so business owners in The Triangle anything.

"We don't know what they're going to do," Ardizzone said, although he has a pretty good idea. "Their goal is to take all this away from us, come hell or high water."

The high water already has come. In fact, it never leaves an area in which the only storm drain is used by Shea Stadium and where, although the area businesses pay as much as $75,000 a year in taxes, the city has never seen fit to install sewers or provide basic services such as snow removal or road repair. (By the way, the Mets don't pay a nickel in real estate taxes now, nor will they on their new ballpark.)

But now that Citi Field is rising, it suddenly has dawned on a lot of powerful people that Willets Point, for a half-century the most neglected sliver of land in the city, soon could be a slice of real estate as valuable as Sutter's Mill, circa 1849.

And whatever "they" are doing, the fear is that they are doing it in secret, the way they always do when there is a land grab of this magnitude in the works.

At first, the Willets Point community thought it needed to fear only the city, which would seek to condemn the land they live and work on as an environmental hazard, seize it under eminent domain and then sell it off to a real estate developer.

Now they realize their enemy is not only the city but the Mets.

"Since 1994, Fred Wilpon told us, 'We've co-existed with you for 40 years and we can continue to co-exist with you,' " said Richard Musick, the spokesman for the Willets Point Business Association. "But about two years ago, he stopped returning our phone calls."

Yesterday, the other shoe dropped. At a meeting with politicians at Tully Construction on Northern Boulevard, city councilman Thomas White Jr. passed along the bad news: Wilpon had changed his mind. "He said, 'The junkyards gotta go,' " White told the group.


The stereotype angered Ardizzone even more than the death sentence it carried.

"People from the outside, they come here and all they see is junkyards," he said. "This is a community, with hard-working people trying to make a living. These are human beings here."

It is a point that seems to be lost on the politicians, who see only dollar signs, and on sports fans, who don't care whom the bulldozers flatten in the rush to build their heroes a stadium, and by a lot of sportswriters, who become willing shills for the team just thinking about what a dump the Shea Stadium pressbox is.

None of them seems to realize that the only ones who will truly benefit from Citi Field are the Wilpons and the privileged few who are well-heeled or well-connected enough to score one of its 42,000 high-priced seats. The Mets did not return a phone call seeking comment yesterday.

Ardizzone, who never married and has lived in the house alone for the past 40 years, considers the people of Willets Point his family. One after another, they came up to him yesterday, most uttering a single word: "Tomorrow."

"Tomorrow" is today, when every man and woman working in Willets Point, along with as many family members, friends and supporters as they can rustle up, will gather at the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library on Main Street to demonstrate against what they see as an invasion of their turf by the people who are supposed to protect it.

They seem to know it is a doomed battle - David hasn't beaten Goliath since the Old Testament - but one worth fighting nonetheless.

"Just because the big guy always wins," Joe Ardizzone said, "doesn't mean you have to roll over for him. What am I supposed to do, lay down and die?"
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Old Posted May 3, 2007, 10:27 PM
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http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...d=574902&rfi=6

More Details Disclosed Of Willets Point Overhaul



This artist’s rendering shows how Willets Point could look when redeveloped.


by Liz Rhoades, Managing Editor
05/03/2007


Promising a school, affordable housing and plenty of green space, Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday unveiled plans for the Willets Point redevelopment project at the Queens Museum of Art.

The 60-acre site — also known as the Iron Triangle — has been eyed for years as a prime area for renewal. Long considered an eyesore, it is situated across the street from Shea Stadium and across the Flushing River from downtown Flushing. The roads are unpaved and there are no sewers. It is occupied primarily by car junkyards and repair garages.

“It is one of the bleakest parts of the borough, but has the most promise,” the mayor said. “It will be the next great neighborhood.”


Promising environmentally sensitive building technology, he said Willets Point would be a model for sustainable development. But first, the contaminated land must be cleaned up, which will only be undertaken once all businesses and establishments there have left.

The city is currently considering seven proposals by developers, but will not select the winner until after the formal land use review is concluded, probably in the summer or fall of 2008. An environmental review began on Tuesday.


The mayor’s plan calls for 5,500 residential units affordable to a variety of income levels; a 650-seat school; eight acres of open space; 11,000 parking spaces and room for office space and retail. A convention center, geared for mid-size trade shows, would be the only one in the city outside Manhattan.

Bloomberg emphasized that it is critical for the city to relocate the 250 businesses located in Willets Point. To that end, the city is setting up a business relocation and workforce assistance plan this summer that will help find new locations and assist workers, many of whom are illegal immigrants.

According to the city’s Economic Development Corp., Willets Point has 1,300 workers, with 400 of them undocumented. The city will provide job training and placement service, legal immigration services, English as a Second Language and General Educational Development test preparation for them.


The redevelopment plan is meeting with resistance from Willets Point business owners, who say they want to remain. Daniel Sambucci attended the mayor’s announcement and said afterward that he’s had an auto salvage business for 50 years. “I want to stay, but it looks like it’s impossible,” he said. “Where are they going to move us in Queens?”

Those sentiments were echoed later during an environmental review of the project held at the Flushing Library. Workers picketed outside the building, saying they don’t want eminent domain.

The mayor, however, said in his speech he does not want to use eminent domain, which is the seizing of property for public use without the owner’s consent. “Willets Point is a blight,” he said. “We have to move ahead and not stay in the Stone Age. We are cognizant of their (businesses’) rights, but we have to build for the future and we will do that.”

It is expected that the environmental cleanup at Willets Point could begin in 2010 and construction completed in 2017.
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Old Posted May 3, 2007, 11:32 PM
antinimby antinimby is offline
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It is expected that the environmental cleanup at Willets Point could begin in 2010 and construction completed in 2017.
Couldn't they get started sooner than that?

God, just the thought of those junkyards remaining another day is sickening.

Btw, those greedy business owners who are protesting are just trying to shake down the city for as much money as they possibly can before they move.

Simple greed on the part of these junkyard owners that's all.
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Old Posted May 5, 2007, 11:43 AM
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Couldn't they get started sooner than that?

God, just the thought of those junkyards remaining another day is sickening.
Too bad it couldn't be done sooner, especially with the new, closer stadium opening in 2009...
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Old Posted May 5, 2007, 2:38 PM
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Here's a ground level shot:
Have never been there but the ground level picture is 3rd world ish. A little Maxwell street looking which was once in Chicago. Does this location have any historical significance?
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Old Posted May 5, 2007, 3:16 PM
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The Willets Point location has historical significance on several levels:

The town of Flushing was first settled in 1645 under charter of the Dutch West India Company.... By the 1850s, a second crossing, Strong's Causeway was built near the present-day Long Island Expressway, extending Corona Avenue towards Flushing. This crossing was located near the confluence of Horse Brook and the Flushing River. In the mid-19th Century, the growing city of Brooklyn gave the land around the river to the Brooklyn Ash Removal Company, which turned the salt marshes into landfill. The pollution was chronicled by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby, where Jay Gatsby observed the "valley of ashes" on his train ride between Manhattan and Long Island. In 1936, Robert Moses proposed closing the ash landfill and transforming it into a park through its use as a World Fair site. With the exception of the Willets Point triangle, the landfill was leveled, the riverbed was straightened, and the southern part of the river was deepened to form the Meadow and Willow lakes. -- Wikipedia

In the Great Gatsby: CHAPTER II

The opening description of the valley of ashes, watched over by the brooding eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, has been analyzed again and again. Fitzgerald's friend and editor, Maxwell Perkins, wrote to Scott on November 20, 1924: "In the eyes of Dr. Eckleburg various readers will see different significances; but their presence gives a superb touch to the whole thing: great unblinking eyes, expressionless, looking down upon the human scene. It's magnificent." Later in the same letter Perkins concludes, "...with the help of T. J. Eckleburg... you have imported a sort of sense of eternity."

How should you approach this famous symbol? Remember, a wide variety of interpretations have been made and defended over the years.

It's best to begin by placing Eckleburg in his geographical context: the valley of ashes, located about halfway between West Egg and New York City. The valley of ashes is the home of George and Myrtle Wilson, whom we'll meet later on in this chapter. The valley is also a very important part of what we might call the moral geography of the novel. Values are associated with places. In Chapter I we were introduced to East and West Egg, the homes of the very rich, the nouveau riche, and the middle class. The valley of ashes is the home of the poor, the victims of those who live in either New York or the Eggs. M en, described by Fitzgerald as "ash-gray," move through the landscape "dimly and already crumbling through the powdery air."
-- From CliffNotes
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Old Posted May 5, 2007, 4:03 PM
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Some more interesting history:
The history of the area around Willets Point is a political tale that holds its own among Gotham's best stories. It is charged with politics, corruption, power-brokers and a David versus Goliath moral – and, some say the turning point in Robert Moses's career.

It begins in the early 1900s, when a Tammany Hall politician, Fishhooks McCarthy, acquired 1,200 acres of tidal swampland in the area of Queens known as Corona. As the owner of an ash removal company, he needed a lot of cheap land that he could use as a dumping ground. The City granted him a sweetheart deal to use the land — and he did, dumping up to 100 railroad cars of ashes per day. At one point, a 90-foot tall mountain of ash formed and came to be known as Mount Corona. F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized this wasteland in his classic novel, The Great Gatsby, as Jay Gatsby commuted over the ash heap en route between Manhattan and Long Island in the 1920s. The "valley of ashes", as he called it, was a symbolic divider between the huddled masses of New York and the affluence of Long Island.

In 1934, the City, bowing to pressure from reformers, canceled the contract with McCarthy, and shortly thereafter Robert Moses had the idea of bringing the World's Fair to Queens. He set his sights on rehabilitating the ashen heap. In 1935, he drove part of the Grand Central Parkway directly through Mount Corona. Next, he paved over the entire dump to create the grounds for the 1939 World's Fair. Changes were also made to the waterfront, as landfill extended the land's edge, the course of the Flushing River was diverted and two large tidal gates were built to prevent saltwater from seeping into two man-made fresh lakes. But Moses wasn't able to realize his total vision for Flushing Meadows Park.

After World War Two, Willets point began to be occupied by industrial businesses, including automotive, construction, various types of manufacturing and equipment rental. Soon the area earned the moniker "Iron Triangle" due to crumpled stacks of cars, shiny hubcaps displayed on metal frames and the largest stretch of junkyards in New York City. Though unsightly, unhealthy and deemed unsafe, the area thrived economically.

The 1964 World's Fair presented Moses with an opportunity to realize his vision for Flushing Meadow Park. But to achieve that goal, he needed the land in Willets Point. When he tried to condemn the properties, the local businesses organized and hired a Queens attorney, Mario Cuomo, to defend them in court. He argued the case well, and the court barred Moses from using public money to purchase the land. Some have called this defeat the death knell for Moses, as he retired soon thereafter. It didn't help that in terms of numbers of visitors, the Fair was not a resounding success. Cuomo, on the other hand, gained much notoriety and continued a successful career in law, ultimately serving as governor of New York.

Since that time, Willets Point has been the subject of a number of plans for revitalization. In 1991, the city's Public Development Corporation issued a plan calling for a rezoning in certain parts of the triangle to attract new businesses to the area – and make the less desirable uses of junkyards and auto shops illegal. Over the next decade, two more city planning studies of the area were conducted, as well as a brownfield remediation and waterfront revitalization design workshop in 2001. Included in the design recommendations were an extension of the Flushing Bay Promenade to Willets Point, a promontory leading out onto the Bay, an attractive pedestrian bridge over the Flushing River linking to downtown Flushing and a terraced landscape at the waterfront edge. Then in 2003, the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) invited developers to submit plans for redeveloping the 48 acres of Willets Point. The EDC has yet to make a selection.
From http://www.waterwire.net/World/Neigh...fm?ContID=1739


Last edited by fioco; May 5, 2007 at 4:41 PM.
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Old Posted May 5, 2007, 4:15 PM
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Old Posted May 7, 2007, 2:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antinimby View Post
Couldn't they get started sooner than that?

God, just the thought of those junkyards remaining another day is sickening.

Btw, those greedy business owners who are protesting are just trying to shake down the city for as much money as they possibly can before they move.

Simple greed on the part of these junkyard owners that's all.
Greed? Its called their livelihood! My God this is America, not China.

Commisar Bloomber has no right to wipe out small businessmen to build more luxury housing and hotels. Bloomberg only thinks in terms of big business and not in terms of the small entrepreneur. These businesses are breaking no law, they pay taxes, employ people and service customers.

These small businesses will be replaced with corporate brand hotels where the only long term employment consists of maids and janitors. The low pay service sector servicing corporate execs is the only vision for New York that Bloomberg has.

As if the City has not wasted enough tax dollars in financing the construction of a Mets Stadium, more tax dollars are going to use eminent domain to replace existing legitimate businesses and finance the new construction.

And please stop blaming the small businessmen for the lack of roads and sewers. It it is the responsibility of the City to build infrastructure not small businesses. This is a corporate welfare boondoggle plain and simple.
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Old Posted May 9, 2007, 5:11 AM
antinimby antinimby is offline
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Its called their livelihood!
They are a public menace. If the government steps in to shut down an industrial plant that is releasing harmful pollutants, couldn't the company say the same thing? "It's our livelihood!"

Quote:
Commisar Bloomber has no right to wipe out small businessmen to build more luxury housing and hotels.
Please be informed first before making inaccurate statements. The housing will largely be affordable.

The businesses may be small but these chop shop owners are not poor. If they are like any of the many car repair shops, they probably rip customers off.

Many live in the posh suburbs while using valuable city land to conduct their dirty trade.

Quote:
Bloomberg only thinks in terms of big business and not in terms of the small entrepreneur. These businesses are breaking no law, they pay taxes, employ people and service customers.
These businesses are causing an environmental disaster. The toxic runoffs from these chop shops find their way into the waterways and shores all along the Long Island Sound.

The new businesses will also employ people (more, too) and service customers, all without damaging the environment.

Quote:
These small businesses will be replaced with corporate brand hotels where the only long term employment consists of maids and janitors. The low pay service sector servicing corporate execs is the only vision for New York that Bloomberg has.
Once again, you make unsubstantiated statements based on nothing but your wild guesses.

The only people making a good living right now are the crooked shop owners that

1) hire illegals (at obviously low wages and health insurance? Ha!)
2) cheat their customers
3) create a health hazard to both workers and Queens residents alike

The new development will bring retail, meaning there will be small business owners, more jobs than what is there now, generate revenue many times more for the local economy than the current business could ever dream of and finally reclaim a piece of the city that has largely been nothing but a wasteland.


Quote:
As if the City has not wasted enough tax dollars in financing the construction of a Mets Stadium, more tax dollars are going to use eminent domain to replace existing legitimate businesses and finance the new construction.
More ignorant statements. The Mets financed their own stadium construction. That is why they sold bonds.

The City is also not financing any part of the construction at Willets Point. In fact, the City is not doing any construction themselves, never had.

Quote:
And please stop blaming the small businessmen for the lack of roads and sewers. It it is the responsibility of the City to build infrastructure not small businesses. This is a corporate welfare boondoggle plain and simple.
Only in your uninformed and imaginary mind.

This will finally turn a piece of disgusting land that is harmful to people working there and the people in the surrounding area into a livable neighborhood and join the rest of city in the 21st century.

The affordable housing is desperately needed, the retail shops will attract many stadium goers before and after a Mets game.

The convention center will bring in shows that would other bypass the city altogether and bring visitors who will drop their dollars in the shops and hotels.

Boondoggle? Only in your fuzzy dreams.

Last edited by antinimby; May 9, 2007 at 5:16 AM.
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Old Posted May 9, 2007, 6:09 PM
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this move isn't made to help big business, its to help small hometown business. no big box stores are to go in the retail, its supposed to be small owned stores to support the new local residences, and then a bunch of restaurants and bars for the run off for the stadium

My biggest problem with this idea is the location of everything. You have this new neighborhood on the east side of the stadium, the subway entrance on the south and the main parking lot on the west. So when people are leaving the stadium the odds are they are going to go south and west and ignore this new neighborhood that will be counting on the run off from game days. this is a serious issue. My suggestion is to move the main stadium parking to where the convention center is to behind it forcing the drivers to go through this district and have a drink, some food and so on. And then on the spot of the main parking lot for the stadium, put the convention center.
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Old Posted May 9, 2007, 8:37 PM
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Is Flushing populous and dense enough to support a light-rail line through downtown Flushing then across the river to Willets Point? The right collection of restaurants and taverns could be quite an enticement, even if it requires a left-turn for the South-heading LIRR and no.7 transit riders. A light-rail line could bind this new neighborhood to the ever-growing Flushing downtown and diminish the effects of the river (a water barrier).

Also, could light-rail ever be considered for the park itself, to wed together Citi-Field, the National Tennis Center, the Queens Museum, etc.? New York is a difficult environment for light-rail because the streets are so congested. It's not Portland which has utilized both light rail and streetcar trams to maximize public transit in their city core. Does the Northern Blvd corridor offer any possibilities? Even to nearby Nassau County? Just thinking. Eastern Queens will never see subway extensions. What are the transit options?
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Old Posted May 11, 2007, 6:16 AM
Master Shake Master Shake is offline
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Is Flushing populous and dense enough to support a light-rail line through downtown Flushing then across the river to Willets Point? The right collection of restaurants and taverns could be quite an enticement, even if it requires a left-turn for the South-heading LIRR and no.7 transit riders. A light-rail line could bind this new neighborhood to the ever-growing Flushing downtown and diminish the effects of the river (a water barrier).

Also, could light-rail ever be considered for the park itself, to wed together Citi-Field, the National Tennis Center, the Queens Museum, etc.? New York is a difficult environment for light-rail because the streets are so congested. It's not Portland which has utilized both light rail and streetcar trams to maximize public transit in their city core. Does the Northern Blvd corridor offer any possibilities? Even to nearby Nassau County? Just thinking. Eastern Queens will never see subway extensions. What are the transit options?
Great point, I totally think this area coud be New York's answer to Portland's Pearl District. Individual innovative projects with public transit.

Its possible. Sadly New York development is so byzantine that it is likely to go to one mega developer which will lead monotonous developments.
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Old Posted May 28, 2007, 7:23 PM
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Aerial shots of Iron Triangle and Shea Stadium

KCGridlock (Bill Cobb) has posted two fantastic threads under My City Photos. The two shots below are taken from his thread: Above New York City (Brooklyn, Queens, Jersey, Staten Island series)

In the first photo, CitiField construction and Shea Stadium are in the foreground; the Iron Triangle is behind in the middle ground; and across the river at the top of the shot is downtown Flushing:


Somewhat larger context with the National Tennis Center in foreground:
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Old Posted Jun 8, 2007, 11:36 PM
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That's a sweet shot. They should tie this development into the rest of Flushing, which itself is getting large developments...
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“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer.
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  #19  
Old Posted Jun 9, 2007, 3:56 PM
fioco fioco is offline
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^ I agree completely. I think one of the planned developments include wetlands restoration and public walkways on both sides of the Flushing River. Once this area becomes walkable, it's a natural extension to connect this more cohesively with downtown Flushing. I could almost laugh. Who could have figured that Shea Stadium surrounded by parking lots could be transformed into an urban ballpark just a long walk from bars, restaurants, retail and residences? This could prove to be a remarkable transformation of a toxic brownfield disaster.
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  #20  
Old Posted Jun 15, 2007, 12:28 AM
fioco fioco is offline
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Willets Point rehab tab put at $3B-plus

BY FRANK LOMBARDI
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Thursday, June 14th 2007, 4:00 AM

The envisioned transformation of Willets Point from a scruffy haven for scrap yards and auto shops into a residential, retail and convention mega-development will cost "north of $3 billion," a city official said yesterday.

The estimate was given by Robert Lieber, president of the city's Economic Development Corp., which is gearing up to submit the Willets Point development plan to the governmental approval procedure known as ULURP - uniform land use review process.

"It will be a lot," Lieber said when asked about the costs during the City Council's first public hearing on the mammoth redevelopment plan announced May 1 by Mayor Bloomberg.

That drew laughs from a dozen Council members who participated in the hearing by the Council's Economic Development and Land Use committees and scores of spectators, most of them representing Willets Point's landowners, businesses, workers and Queens civic officials, including Borough President Helen Marshall and her predecessor, Claire Shulman.

Lieber added, "This is a big project, you know, you've got 60 acres of land to develop, with very large density of what we're going to do, but you know it's not unrealistic to think that this would be a project that is north of $3 billion ... in excess of $3 billion."

"That's a lot of money," said Councilman Thomas White (D-Queens), who put the cost question to Lieber as chairman of the Economic Development Committee.

Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Queens), who heads the Land Use Committee, asked Lieber who will be paying the costs, including extensive expenditures for site preparation and sewers, roads and other infrastructure.

Lieber said the developer, or team of developers, that will bid to build the Willets Point of the future will "bear the bulk of the costs for this." "It's very early on in the process," Lieber added. "I don't think we've come up with a specific budget yet or figured out what the costs are - what the city is going to pay."

He ventured a "guesstimate" the public costs might be in the $100 million-to-$200 million range.

Lieber also fielded questions on the possible use of eminent domain if negotiated deals aren't reached with the property owners and businesses within the 62-acre tract. He stressed that the city's goal is to reach deals with all those involved.

"We will do everything we can do to accommodate the needs of these businesses," he testified. "But as the mayor said [at his announcement] on May 1, he's not going to let one person be the holdout for the good that's associated with so many other people."

flombardi@nydailynews.com
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