Willets Point Redevelopment

In the summer of 2002, Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff organized the Downtown Flushing Task Force comprised of various city and state technical agencies, Flushing developers and business owners, Community Board 7 and local elected officials. That task force drafted a three-pronged plan to reconnect Downtown Flushing, revitalize the Flushing waterfront and redevelop the Willets Point peninsula.
Based on the work of the Downtown Flushing Task Force, the city created the Willets Point Advisory Committee (WPAC), chaired by Borough President Helen Marshall that helped to create the goals and guidelines to redevelop Willets Point into a vibrant, mixed-use, urban community.
Thousands of housing units, serving a mix of incomes and demographics, will be created under the plan and supported by new retail and entertainment facilities. A new public school will be built to meet to needs of the new community.
Additionally, the site will sport a new high-quality hotel, the city’s first non-Manhattan-based convention center, and office space. Complementing the open spaces, parks and playgrounds will be the certified “green” buildings and infrastructure.
The project will create more than 20,000 construction jobs and over 6,000 permanent jobs in a diverse array of sectors.
An important part of the plan will be aiding the existing businesses and their workers. The New York City Economic Development Corporation is working with the Department of Small Business Services to provide one-on-one targeted relocation assistance, financial and technical assistance, along with business relocation incentives.
Job training and placement services will be offered with English as a Second Language and General Educational Development test preparation as well as immigration and other social services.
This project must not become bogged down by politics or environment issues.
The FlushingWillets PointCorona LDC, headed by former Borough President Claire Shulman, is one group that advocates getting the various interested parties together as soon as possible so that they can come to agreement on all the major issues early, as the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) and selection of a developer continue through summer of next year.
Environmental groups, civic organizations and elected officials must focus to expedite this ambitious project that will result in a complete metamorphosis of the area. They must debate early and hammer out issues such as affordable housing, environmental concerns and other site development.
This project will be a shining legacy to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s vision for the city. It would be a shame if he could not break ground or cut the ribbon on this project before he leaves office.

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