Related Files Plans for Willets Point Affordable Housing Projects

From left: Stephen Ross of Related Companies, Fred Wilpon of Sterling Equities, and Willets Point in Queens (Getty, Jim.henderson/Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Related companies and the Wilpon family sterling shares presented plans for a couple of large affordable housing projects on land next to Citi Field.

The filing by the Queens Development Corp, a joint venture of the firms, calls for two 12-story mixed-use developments at 126-43 and 126-55 39th Avenue in Willets Point.

With 881 affordable apartments between them, the buildings account for most of the 1,100 such units promised when city officials announced February 2018 a deal for the first phase of the area’s broader redevelopment. Plans for a third affordable building have not yet been submitted.

At the time, the de Blasio administration said construction on the homes would begin in 2020. But not until june 2021 Did they announce the start of the environmental cleanup that would pave the way for development?

The building at 126-43 39th Avenue would consist of 534 affordable units in 521,000 square feet. Approximately 447,000 square feet would be devoted to housing and 74,000 to retail. The development would include a 186-space parking garage.

The other building would be 347 units and 329,000 square feet: 284,000 residential and 43,000 commercial. The development would also have a 2,200-square-foot community facility and 136 parking spaces.

City officials insisted that affordable housing be built before the profitable components of the radical redevelopment of Willets Point, a cutting-edge industrial area with convenient access to freeways, the No. 7 train and the Long Island Railroad, but also a significant contamination of the soil.

The Bloomberg administration spearheaded the reform, which largely faced and overcame significant opposition, but not without some hiccups. Many, but not all, of the auto repair shops that make up the so-called Iron Triangle have been relocated.

When the Queens Town Council approved the redevelopment of Willets Point last year, plans called for 1,100 affordable residential units in three buildings, 25,000 square feet of retail, one acre of public space, a 650-seat public elementary school, a 3,000-square-foot community facility and about 300 parking spaces. Construction was scheduled to begin in 2024 on the six-acre lot next to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

A 25,000 seat football stadium could be built for Major League Soccer club NYCFC on land leased by Related and Sterling within 61 acres Willets Point Special District. The Wilpons and Saul Katz sold the Mets for $2.4 billion in 2020 to investor Steve Cohen.

Elsewhere in Queens, Broadway 32nd Realty Corp unveiled plans last week for a 15-story, 255,000-square-foot project at 141-46 Northern Boulevard in development-crazed flushing. It would have 121 luxury residential units, retail space, a community facility, and about 200 gated, off-street parking spaces.

On the township’s southern edge, Ocean Way 3 laid out plans for a 12-story, 476,000-square-foot mixed-use development at 141 Beach 67 Street in Arverne. The project, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, would consist of 273 residential units on approximately 257,000 square feet, approximately 219,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 175 parking spaces.

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