Willets Fiasco Needs To End

Since former Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the legacy project of a retail and entertainment center at Willets Point almost two years ago, we have been troubled with many of the details. Several of the decisions have been questionable at best, leaving many in the Borough wondering if anyone other than developers and their friends would benefit from the proposal.

With the lawsuit filed against the development this week, clearly we are not alone in our concern.

Since the City Council approved plans for a development at Willets Point in 2008, the project has been completely revamped and looks almost nothing like what got the green light more than five years ago. Affordable housing has been greatly reduced, the scope has expanded to create a megamall next to Citi Field that could do irreparable harm to local small businesses – and potentially to some of the malls not far from the site.

This is, of course, on top of the questionable nature of the plan’s approval.

The most agreeable part of the plan at Willets Point is that the land underneath the Iron Triangle needs to be remediated for future generations. Beyond that, we would not be upset to see the whole proposal go back to the drawing board to give Queens something it actually needs: affordable housing, more green space and not another megamall.