A years-long battle over occupation of Willets Point, in Queens, took a major step toward resolution when a group of automotive businesses currently located there agreed to vacate the land this summer, largely clearing the way for a $3 billion development.
The group, calling itself the Sunrise Cooperative, agreed to take $5.8 million in an escrow fund — $4.8 million from the city, and $960,000 from developers Related Cos. and Sterling Equities — that will be used mostly to help move businesses to Hunts Point, in the Bronx, Crain’s New York reported. Furthermore, the group will drop all litigation, the report said.
This deal covers about 50 businesses, with the city estimating that two-thirds of the 130 at the site having received some form of compensation, Crain’s said.
Opponents of Related and Sterling’s planned mixed-use development that would feature a shopping mall near Citi Field have issued both legal and public-relations challenges to the project. They have argued variously that the land in question is technically parklandthat must go through a different transfer process, that promisedaffordable housing likely won’t be built, and that the projects is asweetheart deal for the New York Mets from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, among other objections.
Crain’s reported that about 20 businesses remain in the area without a deal to move out, and it’s unclear what their next steps, or developers’ next steps, might be.