Plans to redevelop and revitalize the Willets Point auto-repair district in Queens have foundered in the face of court challenges and changing city priorities.
Last week, the city opted not to appeal a state court decision handed down in June saying that developers the Related Cos. and Sterling Equities could not build a mall on the site, east of Citi Field in Queens.
The developers’ own appeal against the ruling proceeds, but the city’s withdrawal is likely to hurt their case, the New York Times reported.
The mall was to be a centerpiece a large-scale revitalization effort in the area. Related and Sterling planed to build a hotel, a convention center, a movie theater and residential housing on the 23-acre site they bought from the city for $1 in 2013.
Still, sources told the Times that even if the plan were to collapse, the 13-block zone is bound to be remade sooner or later.
“Let me tell you something: They’re not going to leave the project like that,” said Arturo Olaya, president of the Willets Point Defense Committee, pointing out the city already spent $400 million on the area. [NYT] – Ariel Stulberg