Saturday, August 30, 2008

City treating Willets Point businesses more fairly

Both landowners and city officials point to intervention by state Sen. Malcolm Smith as the catalyst that has led to more meaningful negotiations. The Senate minority leader arranged an Aug. 6 meeting with Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber, Economic Development Corp. President Seth Pinsky and business owners that led to an easing of tensions between the two sides.

Negotiations improve at Willets Point

“Since Malcolm Smith was brought into the picture, it seems like the city’s making a good attempt to reach out to business owners,” said Thomas Mina, vice president of T. Mina Supply, Inc. a water and sewer supply company. “At least we don’t feel like they’re just going to steamroll over us anymore.”

Imagine that...the intervention of Malcolm Smith (plus a bunch of angry protests and negative press coverage of past and present office holders shouting "shame on you" to their constituents) was all it took for the City to start fair negotiations! Tee hee.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

not to quibble but in the next line of the article it says it has been the landowners who have resisted negotiating in the past.

Mina's quote says a lot. the landowners clearly had a perception that a steam roll was coming and that they were GOING TO BE treated unfairly. NOT that they were - in fact- BEING TREATED unfairly.

we are all glad this paranoia has been removed and they are coming to the table to settle the matter.

my best guess is the process will move quickly from here. amazing what can happen when cooler heads prevail.

and while we are quibbling, all the press coverage i've seen has been pro development on this matter. wondering WHY anyone would object to building something meaningful and useful in the triangle.

Anonymous said...

and one more clarification of a point of fact.

the shame on you quote was directed at Hiram Monseratte not the "constituents". But why let a few facts get in the way of your spin.

Anonymous said...

"wondering WHY anyone would object to building something meaningful and useful"

Well, tard, the same reason you might not like the "building [of]something meaningful and useful" on your front lawn.

Has the concept of private property become so abstract a concept that one cant see why one would object to the city planning to eradicate peoples' businesses?

And when the city announces it wants to develop land it doesnt own, is it 'paranoia' for the actual property owners to protest the development?

To you it is quibbling. To people who work there it is an uncertainty about whether their jobs will exist. For others it is about whether their family businesses will exist. You must be very comfortable to be so flippant and ignorant about other peoples lives.

And for the city as a whole, major development in the area would clog the VW, the Whitestone Bridge, the Throgs Neck, the LIE, and the GCP, but how dare people object?

And now, with all of the govt threats, property owners are opting to sell. 'Cooler heads' are prevailing. No coercion there. Move along and say nothing.

Anonymous said...

And when the city announces it wants to develop land it doesnt own, is it 'paranoia' for the actual property owners to protest the development

its paranoia to not negotiate in good faith which the landowners have not done until recently.

LegalAuthority said...

The fundamental objection of the majority of City Council members to this proposed redevelopment was, and continues to be, that the Council is going to be deprived of its opportunity to evaluate the developer and its specific plans, because no developer will have been selected and brought before the Council to present its plans prior to the Council's vote. Any potential deals made by property owners have absolutely no effect on the Council's fundamental, legitimate objection to the proposed redevelopment. If it was unacceptable for the Council to approve the proposed redevelopment due to the lack of any opportunity to scrutinize the developer, as has been stated by numerous Council members, then it remains equally so even when deals are made by property owners. Such deals are immaterial to the Council's fundamental concern. The Council's authority concering land use matters is, and must continue to be, sacred; and the Council must assert itself to protect and defend its authority, or it will diminish inappropriately and to the detriment of all New Yorkers.

Anonymous said...

the developer has nothing to do with the master plan. which is already submitted.

the 125th street rezoning was approved without a developer being named. other city projects are routinely approved for rezoning with a master plan submitted without a specific developer named.

any developer would work within the context of the master plan for the triangle. not complicated and very routine.

Anonymous said...

your talking out your arse LA and are NO legal authority on the matter.

the council's concern is the density of the project, numnber of affordable vs market rate units, potential commercial uses, the effect on the surrounding area and infrastructure and lastly the reconciliation with the current landowners..

they could care less WHO builds it.

Anonymous said...

"its paranoia to not negotiate in good faith which the landowners have not done until recently."

Thats paranoia? Um, maybe it just means they dont want to sell.

LegalAuthority said...

Even if it becomes approved by the Council, the so-called "master plan" has not been accepted by any developer; nor is there any reason to believe that a developer will accept the plan without negotiation, in which the Council will not have any part pursuant to ULURP Rules. Moreover, the "master plan" may or may not yield a development that contains a convention center; and the precise positions and descriptions of buildings are flexible until they are eventually determined by the developer. Therefore, anyone who asserts that analysis of the master plan alone is sufficient for the City Council to appove this particular, atypical, enormous proposed redevelopment is woefuly uninformed. Thanks goodness, the Council knows this.

Finally, to justify disapproving this application, the Council need look no further than the ominous precedents concerning the compromise of its authority that approval will require, and the use of eminent domain to acquire private property only to be conveyed to another private entity. Other issues (e.g., the density of the project, number of affordable versus market rate units, potential commercial uses, the effect on the surrounding area and infrastructure) are all secondary, and needn't be examined unless the primary issues can somehow be resolved.

Anonymous said...

A developer can be awarded a project, then back away from specifications that it had accepted. A perfect example is TDC Development's deplorable behavior in connection with Municipal Lot 1 in Flushing. About that, Councilman JohnLiu has said: "The developer (TDC) seems to think it doesn't need to deliver on the promises it made two years ago. That's at best a woeful miscalculation and at worst just pure greed."

Notwithstanding its utter failure with Municipal Lot 1, TDC Development is now said to be a "finalist" for the redevelopment of Willets Point. That's why we need the Council taking a very hard look at exactly who the developer will be, in advance of even considering any approval.

Anonymous said...

"Mina's quote says a lot. the landowners clearly had a perception that a steam roll was coming and that they were GOING TO BE treated unfairly. NOT that they were - in fact- BEING TREATED unfairly."

I guess if someone started showing off renderings of what was going to be placed on property you owned before they even talked to you about acquiring it, and got tweeders to back up the plan, you'd feel that you weren't about to be steamrolled. Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

The CPC can set any requirementa they like on the zoning and the city council will give a yes or no vote.

There has been a two year five tier RFP process in the developer. Having not selected a developer is not a major issue. The council has voted and approved plans before developers are chosen in the past .

All this hot air from the council is more negotiating and is routine. We see why happensat the vote.


Good news is the city will be movig ahead with the land acquisitions whether the current plan is aproved or not

Thus eliminating the current blight that is the iron triangle

Anonymous said...

Yes, wasting tax dollars, destroying livelihoods and creating a desolate no man's land that won't be built on for years, if ever. What a great idea!

Anonymous said...

Promised sites of development this administration has thus far failed to deliver on and factors of hindrance:

West Side (Jets) Stadium - public opinion, govt
West Side Railyards - public opinion, bad economy
Hudson Railyards - public opinion, bad economy
Madison Square Garden/Penn Station - public opinion, bad economy, govt
Atlantic Yards - public opinion, court proceedings, bad economy
Affordable housing at Queens West - contamination, bad economy
Flushing Commons - public opinion, bad economy
College Point Industrial Park - public opinion, bad economy
New parkland near Yankee Stadium - ineptitude
Javits Center expansion - ineptitude, govt, bad economy

And yes, I know many of these were state or federal projects, but it just strengthens the fact that governments usually make really shitty developers and project managers.

Willets Point will likely become a victim of all of the above! Public opinion, govt, contamination, bad economy and ineptitude.

anonymous said... said...

"Good news is the city will be movig ahead with the land acquisitions whether the current plan is aproved or not"

That's incorrect. The land acquisition deals are contingent upon the application being approved by the Council. If not approved, the deals are nixed and land ownership remains status quo.

Anonymous said...

Land ownership may remain status quo, but the City will be forced to repair the streets and provide the withheld infrastructure, when WP plaintiffs ultimately prevail in their pending litigation against City agencies. That's how the area will be improved if/when the redevelopment plan is defeated in the Council. And rightly so.

Anonymous said...

nope. the highway modifications are already budgeted for and approved.

the city will move forward on that end of the project regardless. this will require most of the eastern half of the triangle.

the chances of that lawsuit even coming to court is about none. most - if not all - of the major players will be planning their moves within six months.

the end is near/

Anonymous said...

Every news outlet has reported that the land deals between the city and the landowners are contingent upon the council voting "yes."

Anonymous said...

Highway modifications, budgeted for? Absolutely not! Community Board 7 recommended, among other things, that a fund equal to 10% of the project cost (that 10% equates to approx. 300 million dollars) will be necessary for traffic mitigation issues stemming from the proposed redevelopment. But thus far, the City has established only 5 million. The 295 million dollar gap between what's needed and what's there now, will not go unnoticed by the Council. In other words, the City or the developer will have to come up with 295 million dollars just to deal with the traffic issues, alone, in addition to the cost of whatever may be built. Good luck finding that kind of money. Yet another turn-off for developers.

Personally, I don't think any amount of money can solve the traffic problems to be caused by the proposed redevelopment.

Anonymous said...

"Good news is the city will be movig ahead with the land acquisitions whether the current plan is aproved or not"

Drunken spelling errors notwithstanding, its probably true. The city will steal this land but its gonna take'em a shit load of $$$ to do so.

Make the fight now, so ya can fight with more strength next time. Willets Point people - you have a lot of support!! I am encouraged by the fact that the Parkside lackeys have begun to post here so frequently.

PUSSSSAYS

Anonymous said...

the city has budgeted $150 million to build the new ramps into and out of willets point - which WILL Happen regardless of larger development.

the city has also budgeted $150 mil for land acquisitions in the triangle.

these are facts not spin.

further - the lack of a named developer is a non starter. the council routinely approves projects without named developers. they will approve a master plan for the rezoning allowing for xx new units of housing and xx retail and xx commercial and whatever other specifics regarding open land etc..

its not worth discussing any longer before the vote but suffice to say the tone of the article is very positive for the city remediating willets from its current situation.

Anonymous said...

From another blog:

"Additionally, the Willets Point hearings have raised the possibility that land OUTSIDE the Iron Triangle will need to be acquired, via eminent domain if necessary, to facilitate construction of the many additional roadways that would be necessary if the Willets Point redevelopment was to proceed. Exactly which land will be involved? Whose homes or businesses presently occupy that land? People are going to be livid when they find out."

And, whatever funds are claimed to be budgeted for new ramps are distinct and separate from the 300 million dollars (that's $300,000,000.00, folks – with eight zeros before the decimal) that Community Board 7 says is necessary to mitigate traffic problems that the redevelopment will cause. That amount – 300 million dollars – is twice the amount claimed to be budgeted for the new ramps, and is needed IN ADDITION to it. If the new ramps alone will cost 150 million, we can only wonder what sorts of extreme roadway modifications will be needed, that will cost 300 million dollars, and which may require acquiring property outside of the Iron Triangle. To approve the redevelopment without first obtaining answers to those questions would be irresponsible, nothwithstanding any deals made by property owners.

Anonymous said...

If the new ramps alone will cost 150 million, we can only wonder what sorts of extreme roadway modifications will be needed, that will cost 300 million dollars,

EXACTLY.. its a non nonsensical number that CB 7 pulled out of the air as ten percent of the TOTAL VALUE of the redevelopment (3 billion dollars)

its a money grab for the area by CB7 nothing more than a negotiating ploy.

Anonymous said...

It isn't a "negotiating ploy." It's CB7's best assessment of what's actually needed to mitigate the expected negative effects of the proposed redevelopment. As such, it speaks volumes about the nightmarish consequences of the redevelopment, which project supporters prefer to sweep under the rug without anyone noticing. Well, we're noticing. And we're not going to stand for it.

Anonymous said...

assuming the number $300 million is real -- how is spending that amount on infrastructure improvements in flushing and corona a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

The "bad thing" is that, due to the Willets Point redevelopment, the traffic situation is going to become so convoluted and impassible that it will require 300 million dollars to begin to fix, according to the Community Board. To be clear: The 300 million dollars WON'T be spent to improve anything that now exists in Flushing or Corona. They'll be spent in a desperate attempt to fend off disastrous trafic consequences created by the redevelopment – conventioneers; trade show exhibitors; hotel guests; tourists; school children and their parents; housing unit occupants; office workers; retail shoppers; sports enthusiasts lingering after Mets games; and more, all of which will suddenly be squeezed into the 60 acres of Willets Point, and all of which will clog the roads now traveled by nearby residents.

Think your commute is bad now? Just wait. It's going to be hell on Earth. By the time you realize what's happening, it will be too late. That's why nearby residents ought to act now to prevent the redevelopment. Let the City repair the Willets Point area for the businesses that are there, now. They deserve it, after all the decades of neglect.

Anonymous said...

due to the Willets Point redevelopment, the traffic situation is going to become so convoluted and impassible that it will require 300 million dollars to begin to fix, according to the Community Board.

the premise of your statement is false. the Board has suggested the fund be established to mitigate potential future problems. the board made no such apocalyptic conveyances of the future of traffic in and around willets.

this is your own fear and loathing of any new development in the area and nothing more.

damn the needs of those without adequate housing and new jobs for the area as long as you can continue to burn your fossil fuels by driving to and from your factory job.

Anonymous said...

"damn the needs of those without adequate housing and new jobs for the area"

Damn those who already live in Flushing and Corona and work at Willets. I want a nice place to have a beer after a game, and that's all that matters!

Anonymous said...

"damn the needs of those without adequate housing and new jobs for the area"

Who do you think is going to be homeless because there are no luxury condos at the Point? And who will not have a low-level job because a convention center and hotel isn't built? So many projects have already fallen by the wayside and we've managed tosurvive. There are also already many people working there.

Anonymous said...

Great editorial in today's NY Post about how Monserrate is a shameless hack for his disingenuous opposition to the development of Willets Point. The spin you NIMBYs try to put on this is laughable. Traffic? LOL

Anonymous said...

Who do you think is going to be homeless because there are no luxury condos at the Point?

if the housing stock doesnt grow there will continue to be three and more families living in squalid conditions all around queens.

Dam these people as long as the NIMBYs can continue to have their backyard barbecues.

And lets let the businesses of the triangle continue to pollute the environment and underutilized the property three fold.

Fact is the city can relocate these 1200 jobs to a designated industrial zone and create upwards of 6ooo quality union jobs, 6,000 housing units and increase the economic activity in the new triangle.

How could anyone but a selfish gas guzzling NIMBY and a corrupt politician be against that?

way to go NY Post.!@!

Anonymous said...

"if the housing stock doesnt grow there will continue to be three and more families living in squalid conditions all around queens."

These will be luxury condos, so trying to make this point is wrong and stupid.

Fact is most of the factory land was rezoned for something else - luxury condos! Do I sense a pattern here?

Anonymous said...

Hiram would not have asked his colleagues to sign something opposing eminent domain unless they planned to hold true to that. The Post glosses over that and makes it all about affordable housing, which is only a component of it.

Disingenuous editorial from a paper that stands to benefit from revenue that luxury housing ads will bring in.

Anonymous said...

These will be luxury condos, so trying to make this point is wrong and stupid.

all we know right now is 20% will be affordable. whatever the classification it will only add to the housing stock and increase the number of units available to all New Yorkers.

a good thing.

Alan said...

"the premise of your statement is false. the Board has suggested the fund be established to mitigate potential future problems. the board made no such apocalyptic conveyances of the future of traffic in and around willets.

this is your own fear and loathing of any new development in the area and nothing more."

Oh please!!! What a weak argument. I was at one of the CB#7 meetings and it was a representative of the EDC who admitted that traffic mitigation was extremely problematic for this project. As I consistently mention, the traffic on the Whitestone Expressway is impassable at times and emergency vehicles cannot get to where they are needed in a timely fashion. What will it take for you to see the reality that currently exists, let alone the impacts for what is being proposed.

As far as housing, the land is admittedly toxic. When you throw in the noise and pollution from LaGuardia Airport and the nearby highways, it is my opinion that any residential development is foolhardy at best. Clean up the area and then evaluate the potential development for the area.

I sincerely hope that concerned citizens, such as myself, were not used by some of the existing businesses so that they can cut a better deal for themselves and then abandon those who wish to remain!!!

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope that concerned citizens, such as myself, were not used by some of the existing businesses so that they can cut a better deal for themselves and then abandon those who wish to remain!!!

too late.. witness sambucci and antonacci.. more soon to follow

Anonymous said...

"Disingenuous editorial from a paper that stands to benefit from revenue that luxury housing ads will bring in."

not only that, isn't the publisher of the post one of the media moguls that Bloomie met with about term limits? I guess they are good friends.