With mixed-income housing, retail and entertainment amenities, public open space, community facilities, a hotel, and a convention center, Willets Point will become New York City's next great neighborhood,
On March 18, 2013, the City Planning Commission certified into the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure an application from the Queens Development Group, LLC and the New York City Economic Development Corporation for special permits from the City Planning Commission pursuant to Section 124-60 of the New York City Zoning Resolution, as amended pursuant to a proposed text amendment, to facilitate surface parking and active recreation on four adjacent zoning lots located within the Special Willets Point District. The proposed text amendment and special permits would facilitate one component of a larger multi-phased redevelopment of the entire Willets Point area currently planned for both within the District (east of Citi Field) and outside the District (west and south of Citi Field). A Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development acting as lead agency. A Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement has been prepared with the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development acting as lead agency and a Notice of Completion was issued on August 9, 2013.
The Willets Point Development Plan is a historic redevelopment effort that will transform an area previous generations have sought to change and improve. The plan will clean up the environment and help improve the quality of nearby waterways. It will link this district, in one of the most vibrant parts of Queens, to basic infrastructure and establish a major new mixed-income neighborhood and commercial destination that will create jobs and recapture billions in spending now lost to the suburbs.
In 2009, the City released a Request for Qualifications that yielded 29 developer responses, demonstrating significant interest in developing the 62 acre Willets Point site. In fall 2011, the City released an RFP for the first phase of development in Willets Point, which resulted in the selection of the joint venture between Related Companies and Sterling Equities, called the Queens Development Group. The Queens Development Group will acquire an initial 23 acres of land adjacent to Citi Field to begin buildout of Phase 1 and will include a retail and entertainment attraction to the west of Citi Field, allowing for a more comprehensive and continuous transit-oriented development around access to the Mets/Willets Point stops on the 7 train and Long Island Rail Road. Ultimately, the Phase 1 plan will unlock over 5 million square feet of new development in a unified district, transforming a contaminated area into a new neighborhood. The Phase 1 build-out will be anchored by a residential community of 2,500 housing units, of which 875 will be affordable. The Phase 1 buildout will also include community facilities, a public school, retail, a hotel, parking, and more than six acres of publicly accessible open space. The Phase 1 vision will infuse $3 billion of private investment into the local economy and create 7,100 permanent jobs and 12,000 direct construction jobs with MWBE and local hiring goals of 25 percent. The full buildout of the entire 62 acre Willets Point Development Plan includes more than 3,000 additional housing units, of which over 1,100 will be affordable, additional community facilities and public school, office space, a convention center, parking, and a minimum of 8 more acres of public open space.
The Willets Point Redevelopment will be a major engine for economic growth for New York City, generate local employment and business opportunities, and improve the overall quality of life for local residents.
The Willets Point redevelopment constitutes a unique opportunity for the City to incorporate sustainability goals from the ground up. Willets Point suffers from widespread petroleum contamination, with additional potential contamination from paint, cleaning solvents, and automotive fluids. Environmental hazards are exacerbated by a high water table that spreads pollution throughout the site, endangering adjacent water bodies. Most of Willets Point lies within the 100-year flood plain, necessitating a significant increase in grade. The district also has limited storm water infrastructure and no sanitary infrastructure. The redevelopment approach will encompass site cleanup, planning and design, infrastructure construction, and building construction.
In December 2011, the City broke ground on critical infrastructure work including the construction of a sanitary sewer main and reconstruction of a storm sewer and outfall. These improvements, which constitute a $50 million investment, support the historic redevelopment of Willets Point, which has always lacked this basic infrastructure.
Another critical part of the redevelopment plan for Willets Point is assisting the current workers. NYCEDC, in conjunction with the Department of Small Business Services, retained LaGuardia Community College to develop and manage the Worker Assistance Program for impacted employees of Willets Point.
Since its inception in 2008, this program has provided a variety of critical services at no cost to interested Willets Point Workers, including:
- Educational classes such as Vocational English for Speakers of Other Languages (VESOL) and General Education Development (GED) test preparation
- Job training and placement
- Referrals to immigration services
- Other job preparation services
With 630 workers registered, the program has been a success. If you are a Willets Point worker interested in free services, please contact the Willets Point Business Assistance information line at (718) 614-5831.
View additional information about the Willets Point Development including documents relating to city planning commission resolutions, the Willets Point Phase 1 RFP, Willets Point Design Guidelines, and off-site infrastructure improvements such as NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Permit.
View additional information regarding the Willets Point environmental review, including VanWyck Ramps NEPA assessment, CEQR review, and the final generic environmental impact statement.