The Real Deal New York

Willets Point bidding process called into question

July 03, 2012 09:00AM

Sterling's Fred Wilpon and the Willets West retail center

Did the Related Companies and Sterling Equities have an unfair advantage in securing the bid to develop Willets Point? Sources told the Queens Times Ledger that none of the other bidders were aware that land to the west of Citi Field, which is currently used as a New York Mets parking lot and owned by the Wilpon family that heads Sterling Equities, was up for development. That’s where the partnership plans a 1 million-square-foot retail and entertainment complex called Willets West.

The Times Ledger said the request for proposals the city sent in May 2011 sought developers to transform the area along 126th Street across from Citi Field. Meanwhile, Bloomberg praised the group’s final proposal, including Willets West, as “exactly as envisioned and approved by the community and City Council back in 2008.”

The city’s Economic Development Corp. maintains that any developers competing for the contract could propose whatever they wanted and extra projects weren’t off the table. [Times Ledger]

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