City to seize land, solicit bids at Willets Point

February 03, 2011 10:20AM

Time is running out for the holdouts in Queens’ Willets Point, where the city is planning to make its first move towards seizing a 20-acre swath of land through eminent domain next week. According to the Wall Street Journal, the parcel represents the first phase of the 62-acre development project, for which the city will begin soliciting bids from developers in April. Among the developers who have previously expressed interest in the project are the Related Companies, Muss Development and the Wilpon Family’s Sterling Equities. Ultimately, more than 5,000 apartments, 1.7 million square feet of retail space and a hotel will be constructed at Willets Point, currently the site of junkyards and auto repair shops adjacent to the New York Mets’ new Citi Field. The city already has agreements with 88 percent of the property owners on the site of the project’s 1.3 million-square-foot first phase, said Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., but nine holdouts remain. The City Council approved the use of eminent domain at Willets Point in 2008, but the holdouts are expected to head to court to try to block the move. [WSJ]