Related, Sterling breaking ground on Willets Point project

Affordable units get underway as Queens president yet to approve soccer stadium

Related, Sterling Breaking Ground on Willets Point Project

From left: Sterling Equities chair Jeff Wilpon and Related Companies CEO Jeff Blau along with a rendering of the Willets Point project (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty, Sterling Equities, Related Companies)

Related Companies and Sterling Equities are set to break ground on their enormous Willets Point project, but much of the development — including a Major League Soccer stadium and more than half of the affordable housing units — still hangs in the balance.

Related and Sterling are putting ceremonial shovels in the ground on Wednesday, Gothamist reported. The Queens development is being done in phases; one is ready to go, and the other is still in the public review process.

The first phase will deliver 1,100 affordable housing units. Some will be reserved for formerly homeless people. More than half of the units will be priced for households earning 80 percent of the area median income and 20 percent of the first batch of apartments will be reserved for seniors.

Other elements of the project’s first phase include 30,000 square feet of open space, 22,000 square feet of retail, 5,000 square feet of community space and a 650-seat school.

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A hearing for the second phase of the project was held last week. That part of the development includes a 25,000-seat soccer stadium for the New York City Football Club and 1,400 more affordable housing units. There’s also a 250-room hotel in the phase, according to YIMBY.

The local community board approved that part of the project this month, but Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has yet to provide his recommendation for the parties that still need to weigh in, including the City Planning Commission, the City Council and Mayor Eric Adams.

Richards expressed optimism about reaching an agreement with the developers, but has cited concerns for local street vendors and benefits for the local community, including that he wants children to be able to play on the professional soccer field. Related and Sterling did not comment to Gothamist.

HOK and Turner Construction Company were tapped earlier this year to design and construct the project, respectively. The stadium alone is expected to generate more than 14,000 jobs and cost $780 million to build. 

Holden Walter-Warner

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