From the Times Ledger:
Civic leaders reacted with skepticism after the city announced Tuesday that Flushing Commons will be built in two phases beginning this fall.
Developers of the long-stalled, mixed-use development are expected to break ground on the project in November, according to the city Economic Development Corp.
The $850 million project has been slated to rise over Municipal Lot 1 ever since a special permit was approved in 2010. But the major players — EDC, TDC Development and Construction Corporation and Rockefeller Development Group — left the parking lot untouched for years with virtually no explanation until this week.
The first phase of the project will include the two community benefits outlined in the original proposal — a 1.5-acre public open space and a 62,000-square-foot YMCA. It will also feature most of the total proposed commercial space, about 350,000 square feet, and about one-third of the housing, or 160 units.
Neither EDC nor the developers had a projected start date for phase two, which includes 450 residential units, 150,000 square feet of parking and 15,000 square feet of community facility space — a zoning designation that allows specific uses that would benefit residents, but is often sought by developers because it can allow slightly bigger buildings.
Because only the southern half of the parking lot will be developed first, the city and TDC maintain that no parking will be lost during the construction process.