The Real Deal New York

Willets Point court ruling puts mayor in tough spot

Related, Sterling won't be able to proceed with plans until a law is changed

July 09, 2015 01:20PM

A rendering of Willets West and Bill de Blasio

A rendering of Willets West and Bill de Blasio

After a New York state appellate court shut down plans to build a shopping mall and movie theater on a parking lot next to Citi Field earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio has found himself in a difficult position.

He is now faced with deciding whether or not he will support the mall, the New York Times reported. Those in favor of project, which was proposed by the Related Cos. and Sterling Equities, have said that the mall is needed to help the redevelopment of Willets Point and the creation of affordable housing there.

The court decided that the lot is protected under a law that designates it as parkland connected to a stadium, even thought the former stadium — Shea Stadium, where the Mets used to play and has since been replaced with Citi Field — is no longer there. In order to move forward with the plans for the mall, the law will have to be changed.

The developers had proposed a 200-store mall that would also include movie theaters and restaurants that would open in 2018. They also proposed cleaning up environmental damage at the location with a $40 million city-funded grant.

Meanwhile, de Blasio hasn’t publicly commented on the court’s decision, saying that the litigation prohibits him from commenting. [NYT] — Claire Moses