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February 2017
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Archive for 'Willets Point'

Former Eyesores, New Life Comes to Columbus Circle, the Highline, and Fresh Kills

Metropolis published two articles today on several successful major redevelopment projects that MAS encouraged, such as Columbus Circle, the High Line, and Fresh Kills in Staten Island.  All at various stages of completion, these areas, former notorious eyesores on New York City landscape, are being reimaged in ways that increase open space and activate their surrounding neighborhoods.

In other news, the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected the current General Growth proposal for the South Street Seaport while there was no vote at the hearing, the Commission objected primarily to the inappropriate scale, massing and height of buildings in a historic district and the relocation of the historic Tin building. Continue Reading>>

Mayor Bloomberg Urges City Council to Support Willets Point Plan for November 13 Decision

willets point garages water pondsNew York Daily News reports that Mayor Bloomberg met with City Councilmembers Friday night to urge them to approve the City’s proposed rezoning of Willets Point, Queens – a decision the Council must make by November 13.  To date, the majority of the Council has been vocally opposed to supporting the rezoning without key amendments.  Read MAS’ testimony on Willets Point here.

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News also reports that the New York City Economic Development Corporation has purchased another parcel of land in Willets Point; the largest parcel yet acquired by the City, this is the 4 acre warehouse, the House of Spices.

In other news, the MTA has delayed signing a contract with the Related Companies for their Hudson Yards bid… Continue Reading>>

Willets Point Rezoning Approved, McCarren Pool Construction Begins

willets point garagesThe proposed Willets Point rezoning was approved yesterday by the City Planning Commission.  The New York Sun and the New York Daily News report that the City Council opposition is demanding primarily that the use of eminent domain be removed from the plan and that the percentage of affordable housing on the site be raised to fifty from twenty percent.

Gotham Gazette reports that modifications made to the plan by the Commission incorporated green building and sustainable design standards. Currently, the plan calls for the construction of a mixed use neighborhood with 5,000 residential units, destination retail, and a small convention center. Given multiple factors that could make Willets Point inhospitable to residents, MAS testified before the Planning Commission suggesting that the City consider the potential of fostering new, green industrial and manufacturing job growth in the area.

In other news, construction at McCarren Pool has started. Continue Reading>>

Thor Equities Feuds with Coney Island Development Corporation; Willets Point Passes at City Planning Commission

coney island parking lot billboardsThe New York Daily News reports that a lawyer for Thor Equities – the primary landowner of Coney Island’s amusement district – admonished the president of the Coney Island Development Corporation  for inaccurately characterizing and discrediting the developer’s plans for the area. At an MAS panel discussion on Coney island last week, the CIDC warned that Thor’s track record thus far in Coney Island is punctuated with half-baked attempts at providing summer amusements and the preservation of vacant lots until the City’s proposed rezoning is approved.

The New York Observer reports that the proposed rezoning of Willets Point passed almost unanimously at the City Planning Commission this morning, only the Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum voted against.  The rezoning must now be addressed within two months by the City Council, the majority of which has already publicly rejected the application as it now stands.  MAS testified before the Planning Commission on Willets Point and will continue to monitor it during the public hearings of the City Council.

In other news, employees in Willets Point are uncomfortable with the City’s job-training program, which is geared toward hotel and service industries. Continue Reading>>

Eminent Domain in the Spotlight

columbia university expansion renderingNew laws proposing to reform the State’s use of eminent domain may gain momentum should the Democrats achieve a majority in the Senate this fall, says the New York Sun. Eminent domain is a centerpiece of three very large development projects in New York City – Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, Willets Point in Queens, and Manhattanville in Manhattan.  MAS has testified on each of these developments, calling for an inclusive planning process in which the priorities of local residents and business owners are sought and considered.

Controversies among these projects are numerous. The New York Times interviewed the remaining business owners in Manhattanville, the site of Columbia University’s proposed expansion, on the detrimental effects the threat of eminent domain has had on their livelihood. The New York Daily News reports that the NYC Economic Development Corporation is increasing its outreach to City Council members on the proposed Willets Point rezoning, as a majority of the Council has already publicly opposed the project.

In other news, Chelsea Now reports from the first community hearing on the recently released scoping for the Hudson Yards development. Continue Reading>>