Related’s Willets Point, Ruppert Playground projects expected to sail through City Council

October 09, 2013 12:56PM

Two major Related Companies projects, the $3 billion Willets Point development and a 35-story luxury building on what is now Yorkville’s Ruppert Playground, are up for a crucial City Council vote today.

Despite the controversy surrounding the proposal, Related and Sterling Equities’ Willets Point undertaking is expected to get the green light. The massive 48-acre spread, currently part of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, would represent the largest public parkland giveaway in recent history should the deal move forward.

Various legal issues surround the attempted disposition of this public land, and critics have decried the seizure of many small businesses around Citi Field and offers of rent subsidies to aid area tenants with relocation.

The Yorkville project would replace a park in one of the city’s most densely populated communities. Related currently has no legal right to build on the spot, and the law states that any proposed development on the site requires the consent of surrounding buildings in the original Ruppert Urban Renewal area, the blog A Walk in the Park said. Related is seeking approval for a zoning text change.

The change, backed by City Council member Dan Garodnick, is expected to be approved despite the community’s three-year battle to keep Related from building on the park. [A Walk in the Park]Julie Strickland