From Neighborhood Retail Alliance:
The ultimate fate of what happens at Willets Point was not-despite what Mike Bloomberg likes to tell everyone-decided when the City Council approved the land use application last fall-with the illicit help of a Claire Shulman-led profitable not-for-profit. We say this because the undertaking at the Iron Triangle will be immensely costly, and no one has had the fortitude-least of all Bloomberg-to put a real number on the prospective development.
This is key because any money that has been forwarded is in the form of non-refundable deposits; payments which are theirs to keep, even if the planned development doesn't go through! (Or if, for some reason, the city fails to take title to the property). A potential classic case of money for nothing.
This is a crucial issue because no one to our knowledge has been forthcoming to the public as to what the cost of acquisition for all of the 60 Willets acres will actually be. Keeping these costs opaque works to EDC's advantage because the real amount of money that the city will have to come up with is, we believe, staggering. The preliminary cost estimate of Willets Point United is close to $700 million!
And as property values rise, so could the ultimate price tag to the city-and to its tax payers, of course. And this acquisition cost is just the start. No one, as the Municipal Arts Society points out, has yet publicly price tagged the cost of remediating the property-also likely to be in the high hundreds of millions of dollars. So, even before a developer is designated, and the first shovel is put into the ground, the city could easily be out over a billion dollars.
So it's time for a thorough scrutiny of what's going on at Willets Point-from phony grass roots lobbying campaigns, to exhorbitant hidden fees. Laid bare, this entire enterprise looks more and more like a White Elephant-a monument to the skewed vision and overly large ambition of the city's richest man.