With housing markets declining and the mayor facing a multibillion-dollar deficit, critics of the city’s plan to build thousands of new shops and housing units in Willets Point are renewing their objections on grounds that the plan may not be economically feasible.
Doubts On Willets Plan Amid Economic Worries
First announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in May, the project calls for 1.7 million square feet of new retail space; 500,000 square feet of office space; a hotel; 5,500 residential units; a school; and a convention center in the 60-acre industrial area.
...many Willets Points business owners who stand to be displaced by such a massive redevelopment project are casting doubt on whether the plan is even sustainable amid projected economic troubles.
“Is it wise to be shutting down a thriving business district when our economy is declining so quickly?” asked Terry Paterno, a spokeswoman for the Willets Point-based Paterno Construction Company at a town hall forum in East Elmhurst on Tuesday.
“It’s no secret that our city and our borough are entering difficult times, and this project runs the risk of never happening ... (or) leaving behind vacant buildings.”