Vocal opponent of Willets Point redevelopment agrees to Maspeth relocation

By Stephen Stirling

One of the most outspoken business owners in the fight to redevelop Willets Point has signed an agreement with the city to relocate his business to western Queens. 

Jerry Antonacci, owner of Crown Container Co., told the TimesLedger Wednesday that he signed off on a deal that would move his waste transfer business to Maspeth if the city's redevelopment plans are approved by the City Council. Antonacci, a member of the Willets Point Industry and Real Estate Association, had been one of the most vocal critics of the Economic Development Corporation's ongoing negotiations with business owners in the area.

"We worked through a lot of stuff.  I feel confident moving forward," he said. "They offered me a really good deal."

Founded in 1959 by Antonacci's father, Thomas, Crown Container Co. serves all five boroughs of New York City and Nassau County, specializing in the transfer of construction waste.  The agreement marks the fifth business or land owner to sign such an agreement in Willets Point since negotiations began earlier this year.

"I just hope the deal they presented me with, they present to all the business owners," he said. "If they do, I feel like this plan could move forward."

The city is hoping to transform Willets Point, an industrial enclave consisting of more than 250 businesses, into a sprawling residential and commercial neighborhood.  Negotiations between business owners and the city have at times been bristly, raising concerns that the city would utilize eminent domain to acquire the property if the project is approved by the City Council later this year.

Antonacci said despite the agreement, he is still adamantly against the use of eminent domain to acquire property at Willets Point.

"Even though I made the deal, I still feel passionately about that," he said. "I do not want to see eminent domain used on any of the businesses here."

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