6/18/2012

Willets Point, Queens; New Green Neighborhood


Mayor Bloomberg unveiled this week, a massive new plan to turn an area near Citi Field i Queens into a new neighborhood filled with green spaces.  The Willets Point area, between Flushing and Corona, is best known for its industrial landscape, and is home to many automotive shops which have contaminated the soil and air over time.




Soon the area will be revamped into a residential district with affordable housing, a mall, movie theaters, a hotel and green public space.  Despite the large mall and parking lot, the United States Green Building Council has designated Willets Point as a LEED-ND pilot project that aims to demonstrate NYC's commitment to an environmentally- friendly future for the area and the waterways that surround it.  The project has already received LEED-ND pre-certification approval.




The 62-acre site will be redeveloped over the next 15 years, starting with teh controversial relocation of residents and businesses during the first phase of the project.  Unhappy residents sued the city in the past over the relocation plan, but the city has already acquired 95% of the land required for the redevelopment.


Over the next few months, the first phase of the project will begin, cleaning up 23 acres of contaminated land near Citi Field.  After the area is pronounced livable, the 126th Street corridor will be developed, including a 200 room hotel, retail shops and restaurants.  Mixed income  residents will come next, and 875 units out of the 2,500 total units built will fall under affordable housing.  Bloomberg projects that the new Willets Point will bring approximately 3,000 jobs and economic growth while also creating a new residential area in Queens.