After years of fighting, a group of Willets Point auto shop owners has reportedly settled its lawsuit with the city and developers planning to transform the land adjacent to Citi Field known as the “Iron Triangle.”
Crain’s New York reported on Thursday the landowners — operating as the Sunrise Cooperative — agreed to accept a combined $5.8 million from the city, Sterling Equities and Related Companies, then divvy up the funds to relocate from Willets Point to the Bronx, where an auto business co-operative will be created.
“Sunrise is happy that they got to an agreement,” attorney Harvey Epstein of the Urban Justice Center, who represented the cooperative, said in the Crain’s report. “We look forward to building a large auto co-op, and to everyone in New York starting to use it.”
The Bloomberg administration first initiated action to redevelop the Iron Triangle into a new community featuring housing, retail markets, a hotel and even a convention center. Related Companies and Sterling Equities — the latter of which owns the New York Mets and developed Citi Field — formed the Queens Development Group, which the city selected in June 2012 to redevelop Willets Point.
At the time, Queens Development Group and the city were expected to pour over $3 billion into remediating contamination and then developing the neighborhood. The city touted it would create 12,000 construction jobs and another 7,100 permanent jobs once development is complete.
While the city viewed Willets Point as a chance to update a blighted area, property owners charged the blight was the city’s own doing, as it neglected to provide the zone with essential services.
The Sunrise Cooperative launched litigation when the city, after negotiations to purchase the land failed, attempted to acquire it through eminent domain. In the settlement, the city agreed to pay $4.8 million, while Sterling Equities and Related Companies will contribute $960,000.
Along with redeveloping the Iron Triangle, the Queens Development Group also plans to construct a large shopping center just to the west of Citi Field, on the parking lot where Shea Stadium once stood.