Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Eminent domain off the table at Willets Point, affordable housing deal made

From NY1:

Queens Councilman Hiram Monserrate and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on the steps of City Hall this afternoon that they have reached an agreement over the redevelopment of Willets Point.

Of the 5,500 housing units created in the area, 35 percent will be "permanently affordable" to low-income families living near the affected area.

There will also be an 850-seat school built in the area and a $3 million tenant relocation fund will be available for area businesses, to be allotted money based on square footage.

The 1,300 affected workers will also receive job training and placement, English classes and cash incentives.

The new deal does away with the need for the city to evoke eminent domain to secure the land and was reached one day before a slated City Council vote on the matter.

Congratulations to Hiram and the Mayor for working out a deal that treats everyone fairly and without the threat of eminent domain hanging over the businesses' heads. It would have been extremely foolish for the council to pass with eminent domain still on the table and deals made with only a handful of the many landowners. I guess they realized that.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations? I take it you dont ride the 7 train.

Add up all the development in Flushing. Thousands and thousands of new people. See any empty spaces on the train?

You are going to the eminent domain table again because this will revive the train to LaGaurdia and beyond.


Anonymous said...

What is it about swampy brownfields that the city thinks is so great to park latinos and other people of color?

Oh well, just so they vote the right way.



Queens Crapper said...

I am not concerned with the development aspect of it anymore, I know it will never happen. But they were planning on taking people's property away from them immediately and that was the main issue at this point in time.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

cant beleve wow they must be pissed off down there

Queens Crapper said...

What do you mean? Is this report incorrect and is eminent domain still on the table?

Anonymous said...

iv been saying it money talks

w.p. said...

the paper said e.d is off the city will use it

w.p. said...

its not fair if the city uses e.d. whats this country commin to its so wrong i hope some how the city votes it down

Anonymous said...

However, the new deal, which does not do away with the need for the city to invoke eminent domain to secure the land, was reached one day before a slated City Council vote on the matter.

Queens Crapper said...

Are you saying that passage was a mistake?

Anonymous said...

Just clarifying your incorrect information that ED of "off the table".

I am of course happy that this development can now proceed and all parties are on board to make this a successful development.

Wonder if the vote tomorrow will be unanimous

Warm up the bulldozers!

Queens Crapper said...

I copied and pasted that passage directly from NY1's report on their website.

Anonymous said...

from all the law suits it will be well over 15 years befor they start the bulldozers so dont count on this happing this land grap will die in the courts

slick said...


I feel bad for the people of Flushing and those that have to take the seven line.

So basically they are building projects there.

Seriously... I will most likely be moving into the upper east side in a few years anyway.

but really becoming the haves and have nots.

Forest Hills is starting to get crappier.

So all these already poor people who are losing jobs are going to be moved into these projects in the future.


Anonymous said...

Eminent domain is absolutely NOT off the table tomorrow. NY1 has acknowledged that its anchor's on-air statement was a "mistake," and it has since been corrected.

The online version of the story now shows the correction:

"However, the new deal, which does not do away with the need for the city to invoke eminent domain to secure the land, was reached one day before a slated City Council vote on the matter."

It's at:

Question: Where did NY1 get its information from?

Anonymous said...

MAybe NY1 made a mistake which they have now corrected?

In any case, the article now says the E.D. is not off the table and could still be invoked.

But anyway, why is this great news, with housing in a terrible slump and the city crying poor? Where is the money to put into this project? If theis is going to be affordable housing will there not be tax breaks that you and I don't get, while our taxes go up and up and up? This is a bunch of crap. If the city is broke, act broke. If it is not, then stop scaring us!

toby said...

holy crap, crapper. you've all been carping on this for months and years and you dont even know whats in the details, do you? the only thing new here is the low-income houseing everyting else is old news and eminint domain is still on the tabel cuz tully aint sold nothin and neither has the old guy living theret oo. heres hirams press release where he takes credit for it all why to go senator. and you know he didnt write this press rlease himself. another tweeding complete
City Hall, NY - Council Member Hiram Monserrate today joined with Mayor Bloomberg on the steps of City Hall to announce an historic agreement with the Administration to redevelop Willets Point in Queens based on a plan that includes historic levels of housing affordable to neighboring residents, an 850-seat public school, a workforce retraining program, and tenant relocation programs and resources. The city has also made relocation agreements with a majority of the area's landowners, ensuring that the plan does not set the dangerous precedent of relying on eminent domain for large-scale development projects.

"Today we stand together in support of a plan that puts people first: the people of Queens," said Monserrate. "This new and improved plan reflects the true potential of large-scale development projects. It proves that we can include the best long-term planning and the smartest allocation of resources while keeping our moral responsibility to the families and workers affected. I am proud to say that we have agreed on a project that will redefine the landscape of northwest Queens for decades to come by creating a gleaming industrial, commercial and residential community that any New Yorker from any walk of life could benefit from. I encourage my colleagues in the City Council to vote in favor of a project that sets a 'how to' model for the city to create healthy, vibrant communities."

The agreement was announced just one day before the project takes its final step in the city's ULURP land use process, a vote in the City Council. Over the past year, Monserrate worked with his colleagues in the Council, including the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, labor organizations, organized community groups, including ACORN and Pratt Center for Community Development, Willets Point landowners and workers as well as Queens residents, to urge the Administration to include more and better programs to support the long-term needs of the community and to fully support worker and business relocation.

"Bringing this project to a reality has truly been a team effort. I would like to acknowledge all those who labored so heartily for the future of our community. First and foremost, I want to thank the people of the 21st Councilmanic District for their unwavering support of my efforts. I would like to also express my sincere gratitude to my colleagues in the City Council who were supportive of my efforts to protect and improve my community, but who also stood with me on the principles that this and all development projects can and should be designed around community needs. Additionally, I would like to thank all of the labor organizations that participated in the process, particularly New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council and UFCW Local 1500 who played a critical role in bringing the various parties together. Most importantly, I want to not only thank, but dedicate, this agreement to the hundreds of residents, business owners, workers, non-profit organizations and community representatives who got involved and made a real difference in the quality of life of Willets Point and all of northwest Queens."

Councilman Monserrate added, "Finally, a very special note of appreciation to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Deputy Mayor Bob Lieber for their patience, commitment and recognition of the merits of the issues raised by the members of the City Council.

Following is a summary of the main tenants of the agreement that address the major issues of concern to Monserrate and the community:

Affordable Housing

The Willets Point redevelopment will include historic levels of housing affordable for local residents. Overall, 35 percent of the 5,500 units created will be permanently affordable. The housing program is mandatory; meaning the levels of affordable housing will be included in the RFP for any developer bidding on the project. This provides more certainty to the community than previous development projects which have relied on voluntary inclusionary zoning programs to meet their affordability levels.

The affordable housing program provides the following levels: 29% of the affordable units are at 60% of AMI ($45,000 for a family of four); 47% of the affordable units are at 50% of AMI; 11% of the affordable units are at 40% of AMI; and 13% of the affordable units are 30% AMI ($23,000 for a family of four). Monserrate noted that the depth of the affordability levels was specifically targeted to reach lower-income families residents who live nearby the project, where median income is nearly ten thousand dollars a year less than the borough average.

Willets Point Workforce Assistance Plan

The workforce plan, coordinated by LaGuardia Community College, is designed to provide training and job placement opportunities for the 1,300 workers affected by the redevelopment of Willets Point and will include English language classes, vocational assessment, job readiness skills, placement services and cash incentives for participation.

Additionally, the Hotel and Motel Trades Council Hotel Employee Benefit Fund will allow Willets Point workers to participate in a specialized training program for food and beverage services and engineering work and utilize the union's job referral program. The Consortium for Worker Education (CWE) will also provide more than 500 courses at 24 Locations in Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights, Flushing and Sunnyside in areas that include automotive and truck repair, commercial driving, and computer operation and repair. All CWE programs are completely free of charge to workers. The Greater New York Auto Dealer Association will design a new curriculum for workers at its Center for Automotive Education & Training Center in Whitestone, Queens. Participants will train for positions in a new car dealership's service and repair department and will have access to the Association's network of job placement and job referral services.

Tenant Business Relocation Support Services

The city will provide a $3 million tenant relocation fund for Willets Point businesses based on square footage. Additionally, Qualified Willets Point businesses will be eligible to apply for EDC's Capital Access program, which is expected to provide loan guarantees for small businesses (0-100 employees) in New York City. Capital Access works by guaranteeing up to 50% of a bank loan to small businesses. Eligible loan uses include working capital, leasehold improvements and equipment purchases. Businesses will also have access to the Cornerstone Group, noted relocation experts who have worked on many projects throughout the city.

Minority- and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program

The Willets Point project, both construction and operation, will include an M/WBE program dedicated to promoting fairness and equity in all city contracting.

Joe said...

With Ford GM and Chrysler going down the drain fast what are people going to do to keep there cars going?

Buy, lease and fully insure new $25,000+ Toyota's every 4 years in this economy?
...Good luck at the bank BTW

We need these junkyards NOT MORE POOR Tweeter’s to water, house feed and try to educate!!

Any development is a big oversight. Those junkyards are a HUGE service to middle class

Mr. Angry said...

Apparently eminent domain is still on the table 'but only as a last resort'... uh huh.

I had to update my own post on this one too...

Yeap. 'Mission Accomplished'.

I'll believe it when I see the new buildings 5-30 years from now.

Queens Crapper said...

You mean Hiram is just another council pig who threw these businessmen under the bus? Who would have seen this coming?

Never trust a politician.

Mr. Angry said...

It is a distinct pattern these days with the city council - They always throw the people under the bus right before the vote, so we have as little say as possible.

we all mean nothing said...

eminent domain is still on the table and hiram is a rat thats why is is named monster-rat . these politicans have this down like a game and if you think anything anyone says makes a difference your crazy . the only thing that makes a difference is $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ and the developers and the city have plenty to send around to pressure the pig counci people to suck up and do it the manes way. this city is a discrace and in my eyes no longer the greatest city in the country forget the world

Anonymous said...

Why is this project necessary? Isn't there enough housing out there already? Why is it necessary to build more?

Anonymous said...

are you that naive or is that irony?

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand why we had to import so many poor people into this country?!?!?! I just don't get it. Seriously, can someone tell me how this benefits American citizens.

"The workforce plan, coordinated by LaGuardia Community College, is designed to provide training and job placement opportunities for the 1,300 workers affected by the redevelopment of Willets Point and will include English language classes, vocational assessment, job readiness skills, placement services and cash incentives for participation."

I just don't get it. Who is going to pay for this?!?! Neither the City, nor the State, nor the Country has any money for this.........

Anonymous said...

i told you he would throw the people under the bus...

yo toby:

"including ACORN and Pratt Center for Community Development,"

we call 'em crooks and whores.

Anonymous said...

You know I may not like how Willets Point looks, but the city dolled up this place to sell razing every joint there to steal all the private property - Dolled up? Yea let city services slide to a point that the non-existent streets, sewers, sidwalks are wore than any found in India. The hardy owners improvised accordingly - if their own properties did not reflect Trump like structures than they certainly succeeded in acheiving durable buisnesses over-coming the worst thatr the city threw at them for 30 years. Hey Bloomy - these folks paid much taxes and have many employees - what wrong with you? More housing - there is plenty of housing not selling LIC - buy a few building there in 1 transaction you can solve your housing.

Anonymous said...

All of you who are against the WP redevelopment are laughable. You don't have one good, sound, reasonable argument to support your view to keep this disgusting mess the way it is.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you haven't been paying attention. No one has been saying that WP should be left the way it is. We have been saying that sewers should be put in and the streets fixed so the existing businesses can continue to thrive.

Anonymous said...

That is just silly. If the city is going to spend hundreds of millions in taxpayer money to improve the infrastructure, we should make sure the area becomes better and maximizes its use and location. We shouldn't spend all that money and then just leave it to junkyards. Genius.

Anonymous said...

When did the taxpayers ask that hundreds of millions of their dollars be used for this?

In other cities, there would have been a referendum. In NYC, we have the council overturning referendum votes and shoving unnecessary projects down the taxpayers' throats while cutting their services.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who looks at that disgusting mess in WP sees that this project is necessary. It will enhance Queens' economy and ultimately benefit taxpayers in many ways, including economically.