By Madina Toure
The city is planning to demolish a block of auto repair shops in Willets Point as part of the $3 billion Willets Point Development Plan.
The shops along 126th Street between Willets Point Boulevard and 38th Avenue are now behind a fence that went up last week, according to a spokesman for the city Economic Development Corporation.
No work is imminent, but the shops have since relocated to make way for the demolition, the spokesman said.
In 2015, the New York State Court of Appeals said it would hear an appeal by the developer, Queens Development Group, after an appellate court ruled in July that the proposal could not proceed without legislative approval, since it was proposed that a megamall be built on parkland.
In December, the City Council voted 46-2 to pass a resolution allowing the Council to issue an amicus brief in favor of the developer in the pending case. City Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Hillcrest) and City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) voted against the resolution.
In 2013, the City Council had voted to approve the overall project by a vote of 42-3.
The Willets West mall is part of the redevelopment of Willets Point into a new neighborhood with commercial, retail and residential space.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour