Flushing is no stranger to development, but local business owners and community groups are skeptical about Mayor de Blasio’s recent announcement of plans to turn an industrial and polluted section of the Queens neighborhood into a residential area.
Flushing was selected, along with other areas in New York City, as possible candidates in the creation of a new residential community along Flushing Creek. The plans are still in the early stages, but if it goes through, the borders of this new community would run from Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue and westward to Prince Street.
“The area is a construction and hardware destination and it makes no sense to create apartments here,” said Terry Wong, who owns a store that sells doors on College Point Boulevard.
Speaking through translator Lisa Zhang, the business owner continued, “Everyone will lose business and it will have a negative impact on the whole economy of Flushing.”
The Department of City Planning launched a study in that section of Flushing to come up with a plan for the city and state. The area is largely commercial, and any plan for residential development would require some of the local businesses in the area to be removed.
Developers have been interested in the area for many years, including The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, which received a $1.5 million state grant to clean up the polluted waters of Flushing Creek.
John Choe, the executive director for the new Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, said he liked the idea but he was concerned about what the city’s plan would look like.
“There needs to be a lot more grassroots organizations,” Choe said. “The former mayor was credited with developing and creating a lot of things in this city, but all those changes came from up top. I would hope that the de Blasio administration avoids the mistakes of his predecessor.”