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New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) today issued a Request for Proposals (PDF) for the redevelopment of the first phase of the Willets Point district in Queens. As part of a major, community-driven redevelopment effort, the City intends to transform this initial 12.7 acre parcel into a mixed-use, sustainable community and regional destination. The build-out of Phase 1, which is located adjacent to Citi Field, is expected to create 1,800 permanent jobs and 4,600 construction-related jobs.
“Willets Point is located at the crossroads of Queens’ most dynamic neighborhoods, and its redevelopment will transform a site with a history of environmental contamination into a model green neighborhood,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky. “Selecting a developer will put us one step closer to realizing the goal that the community created, leaders across Queens have envisioned for decades and a project that the City Council overwhelmingly approved: making Willets Point New York City’s next great neighborhood.”
“The redevelopment of Willets Point continues to move forward with the issuance of this RFP and other hurdles successfully mounted. This is good news for the creation of new housing, construction and permanent jobs, retail and green space, all of which will create a sparkling new community convenient to transportation, sporting and recreational activities. I thank Mayor Bloomberg for his steadfast support for this major Queens project and look forward to the build out of Phase 1 after a developer is chosen. We also look forward to working with the developer and my M/WBE Task Force on the Minority/Women Enterprise and Local Hiring Plan to maximize meaningful participation in the redevelopment project,” said Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
"This project has been delayed for too long and we must move forward so my district gets much needed relief thru jobs and affordable housing. This RFP is the start in making it a reality. Phase 1 is essential in furthering the economic growth of my district and I look forward to working with all parties every step of the way," stated Council Member Julissa Ferreras.
“The Willets Point redevelopment project is a continuation of the renaissance of Queens. A revitalized Willets Points means opportunities for new jobs, additional tax revenues, and the creation of a new destination point in our area for families, visitors and all New Yorkers,” said Congressman Crowley (Queens, the Bronx). “Today marks a significant milestone in the effort to transform Willets Point into a vibrant community in Queens.”
"I am delighted with the prospect that an eyesore will be transformed into a robust economic hub,” said State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “This area described by F. Scott Fitzgerald, in The Great Gatsby, as "a valley of ashes...bounded on one side by a foul smelling river..." will emerge as a sustainable community is a tribute to the cooperative contributions of local business and community leaders and the perseverance of former Borough President , Claire Shulman."
“Today’s news underscores the economic and environmental benefits of cleaning up brownfield sites,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Not only do these cleanups create jobs and unlock economic potential, they help protect public health, remove environmental hazards and create opportunities to build the sustainable communities of tomorrow.”
NYCEDC, in collaboration with the community, local elected officials, and other City agencies, has created a mixed-use plan for the development area, which has been approved by the City Council and reviewed for environmental impacts. The plan for Phase 1 includes up to 680,000 square feet of retail space, up to 400 units of housing, 35 percent of which will be affordable, a hotel, two acres of open space, and parking. In addition to submitting proposals for the Phase 1 area, respondents to the RFP must also include a concept plan for the entire 62-acre district.
The City issued a Request for Qualifications in 2009, and received 29 responses from developers. Today’s RFP was issued to a group of respondents resulting from the RFQ process, who are encouraged to form teams amongst themselves or with other entities to create the most compelling development proposal. Responses are due on August 12, 2011.
The City has made considerable progress in acquiring property through negotiated settlements – nearly 90 percent of the land in the Phase 1 area is controlled by the City, with only nine private property owners remaining. The City is committed to providing relocation assistance to businesses and workforce training to employees, with actual relocation to take place prior to the start of construction. Last week, the City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development also issued its Determination and Findings as required by the Eminent Domain Procedure Law, which will allow for the acquisition of the remainder of the property. The City remains committed to continuing to complete negotiated acquisitions with willing property owners in Phase I.
Also recently, the Federal Highway Administration and New York State Department of Transportation gave their authorization for the City to proceed with the public review process for new access ramps for the Van Wyck Expressway that would be built as part of future phases of the project. A public hearing to discuss the ramps is scheduled for June 8.
The City also expects to select a contractor for the off-site infrastructure work, including construction of new sanitary and storm water sewers and a new water main, later this spring and to break ground on that work this year.
The full 62-acre project will create about 18,000 construction jobs and 5,000 permanent jobs.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.