Willets Point development clears latest hurdle in the public review process with unanimous approval of the City Planning Commission

willets point
The City Planning Commission unanimously approved the new home of the New York City Football Club as part of phase II of the Willets Point revitalization project on Wednesday.
Courtesy of NYCFC

The massive Willets Point redevelopment project passed another key milestone Wednesday when the City Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve phase two of the plan that calls for a 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, 1,400 units of affordable housing, a 250-room hotel, a 650-seat public school, 80,000 square feet of retail space and nearly three acres of open space.

“This project is a game changer for Queens, and for the entire City,” said Dan Garodnick, Chair of the City Planning Commission and Director of the Department of City Planning. “Thanks to today’s unanimous vote at the City Planning Commission, we are one step closer to providing Queens with thousands of income-restricted homes, good-paying jobs, open space, a new soccer stadium, and billions in economic activity. It’s a perfect example of great planning delivering great results.”

The city broke ground on the first phase of the project in December to build an initial 880 affordable apartments in what will be New York City’s largest affordable housing development to be built since the 1970s, on city-owned land that was known as the Iron Triangle that was home to a warren of automotive shops and junk yards across Tom Seaver Way from Citi Field.

The project will be the city’s largest affordable housing development to be built since the 1970s. Courtesy of S9 Architecture

“I’m thrilled about the City Planning Commission’s approval of the Willets Point revitalization plan,” Council Member Francisco Moya said. “This project is a game-changer, incorporating 100% affordable housing, innovative urban planning, and the city’s first soccer stadium that will be 100% financed and union-built, all aligned with our goal of fostering a thriving community.”

Phase II of the Willets Point plan was approved by Community Board 7 and by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in January.

“We are one step closer toward scoring a historic goal for Queens. I applaud the City Planning Commission for its unanimous and commonsense vote in favor of such a monumentally important project, as we bring the bright future of the former ‘Valley of Ashes’ into focus,” Richards said. “More work remains on finalizing tangible commitments to the surrounding communities of Corona, Flushing and East Elmhurst. But there is no doubt that Phase II of Willets Point’s redevelopment will be a difference maker for Queens in terms of expanding our affordable housing stock, growing the World’s Game in the World’s Borough, boosting our economy and more.”

Richards approved the project with conditions regarding local hiring, community partnerships and area infrastructure improvements. The recommendation came after a well-attended public hearing in December 2023.

” I was proud to recommend approval of this project earlier this year and I appreciate the diligence of all involved as we make this initiative as community-focused as possible,” Richards said.

With the City Planning Commission giving the project the green light, the proposal will go before the City Council within 50 days for a hearing and a vote that will determine the project’s fate. The council is likely to approve the plan, given it has Moya’s backing.

Moya’s vote is key as the rest of the members traditionally vote with the representative from the area. If approved by the Council, Mayor Eric Adams will likely approve the plan to complete the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) certification process.

“This investment is not just about building; it’s about shaping the future of our community,” Moya said. “It’s about creating stability and security for the working-class community that’s struggling to make ends meet. It will provide essential support for the educational aspirations of local children and stimulate our local economy.”

New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Andrew Kimball thanked Moya and other local elected officials, community members, and organized labor for supporting the plan.

“Today’s vote from the City Planning Commission is another huge milestone in delivering a generational investment in Willets Point, including the largest new affordable housing development in over 40 years and the city’s first soccer-specific stadium that will be 100% privately financed,” Kimball said. “The Willets Point transformation project is expected to create nearly $6 billion in economic impact over the next 30 years, deliver more than 14,000 construction jobs, and build a new neighborhood in New York City with much-needed infrastructure, public open space, and retail resulting in a new neighborhood for many New Yorkers to live, work, and play.”

NYCEDC added that the project will create 1,500 permanent jobs. The $780 million soccer stadium will be home to the New York City Football Club that released new renderings and a video fly-through of the proposed venue’s main entrance known as “The Cube,” which will stand 7 stories high and create a unique and most immersive entrance in New York sports.

“The club is thankful that the City Planning Commission voted to approve a transformational project for Willets Point, unlocking the largest 100% affordable housing project in over 40 years, thousands of jobs, and NYC’s first-ever, union-built soccer stadium,” NYCFC Vice Chairman Marty Edelman said. “NYCFC committed ten years ago to build our stadium in the five boroughs, and today’s vote gets us one step closer to bringing this promise to life in Queens — the World’s Borough will be our home for The World’s Game.”

Rendering courtesy of NYCFC