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Willets Point: Does it need the redevelopment authority?

Willits Point Redevelopment Authority

I had the opportunity to meet with about 10 property owners who are affected by the Willets Point Redevelopment Project in Flushing, and I also had the pleasure of meeting Robert LoScalzo, who is creating a documentary on the project.  We all had dinner at Tony’s Pizzeria in Flushing and discussed the project, their current right to take challenge and New York eminent domain law.

For those of you not familiar with the area, I’ll spend a few minutes describing it and explaining the purpose of the project.  Years ago, downtown Flushing was considered a deteriorating area with no real redevelopment incentive.  However, based upon its prime location, downtown Flushing realized significant redevelopment spurred by private dollars.  Currently, the area is thriving with businesses and valuable properties.  This area is significant because it exemplifies how redevelopment can occur on its own in prime locations, without the aid of a redevelopment authority.  Property in a good location is usually (but not always) subject to private redevelopment.

Across the highway (Van Wyck Expressway) from downtown Flushing is Citi Field, and in between the ball park and downtown Flushing is Willets Point.  Currently, redevelopment is pushing outward from downtown Flushing towards Willets Point, making Willets Point the only underdeveloped area between downtown Flushing and Citi Field.   Although the New York City Economic Development Corp. (NYC EDC) is spearheading a major redevelopment project in Willets Point, I think the area would have attracted private redevelopment over time.    I think the marketplace would have realized the potential of Willets Point given its prime location and redeveloped this area on its own, without the aid of NYC EDC.

The redevelopment that has and is occurring in the area will ultimately influence just compensation for these property owners should Judge Madden allow the redevelopment project to proceed and condemnation of these properties occur.

Learn more about the Willets Point Project.


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