The Real Deal New York

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

  • David Brown

    I have long believed Willets Point is a crucial project (perhaps the most important one of the entire year), that is needed to clean up the junkyards, and get rid of the single biggest eyesore in the entire City. I hope this is news is correct. Getting the Ruppert Playgrounds and 5 Pointz projects approved would also be good news, because in each case, the owners went above and beyond what they had to (35 Years for Ruppert, and 25 Years for 5 Pointz), but the usual activist crowd wanted forever. A victory by the NIMBY types on either project would have made getting anything approved that much more difficult ( assuming this information is correct, that is probably why Ruppert got through). It makes me feel better about the chances for Empire Outlet/Staten Island Wheel, 77 Commercial and Greenpoint Landing (the two big Greenpoint Projects) and (especially) East Side Midtown Rezoning because like Ruppert, that is Dan Garodnick ‘s District, and he previously opposed this Project.