City Planning Commission approves plan for Willets Point mall

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On Wednesday, August 21, the City Planning Commission gave the go ahead to plans for a mega mall near Citi Field. File rendering
On Wednesday, August 21, the City Planning Commission gave the go ahead to plans for a mega mall near Citi Field.

A $3 billion Willets Point project jumped through another hurdle Wednesday as the City Planning Commission approved plans that would make way for a mega mall near Citi Field.

The commission voted 10-1 in favor of giving developers Sterling Equities and Related Companies permission to move Citi Field parking to Willets Point.

The joint venture ultimately needed the permit to construct a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping center west of the baseball stadium.

City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said the project would “advance the city’s efforts to redevelop Willets Point.”

She said the project’s original plans in 2008, which included cleaning up the site and improving transportation in the area, have been maintained throughout the public review process.

“Although achieving these goals set out by the city will be a more complex effort than first imagined,” Burden said, “with the project team in place and with our approval of this set of actions before us today, Willets Point is on its way to becoming remediated and ultimately becoming an active and inviting destination.”

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall gave the project the thumbs up in July.

Community Board 7 approved it in May, but both the board and borough president had conditions for its endorsements.

They said surrounding communities and its leaders must be kept informed of the project’s progress and traffic problems that arise.

The city and the facility’s developer must also fulfill written commitments they made, which include funding traffic mitigation measures, building a 1,000-seat K-8 public school, giving $1.87 million to the Willets Point Infrastructure and Traffic Mitigation Fund, and hiring locally.

Marshall said the $3 billion project would provide 7,100 permanent jobs and generate more than $310 million in tax revenue.

The project now goes to the City Council for a final vote.

The Queens Development Group said it looks forward to “briefing councilmembers” and touting support the plan has received.

 

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