The area across from Shea Stadium known as the Iron Triangle has never seemed suitable for housing, mostly because it was home to hundreds of auto shops. That could all change, if Mayor Bloomberg gets his way. Yesterday, the mayor announced a master plan to revitalize Willets Point, the official name of the 61-acre area in Northern Queens. The plan would replace the 250 businesses, which employ about 1,300 people, with housing, office space, restaurants and shops, a hotel, and a convention center. The plain claims that it will create 20,000 construction jobs and 6,100 permanent jobs. If approved, it would also be "the first neighborhood, and the City's largest development project to incorporate "green" building technology."
Previous attempts at redevelopment have been unsuccessful, with the local businesses blocking the proposals. If the owners of the land are unwilling to sell, Mayor Bloomberg said the city could acquire the land through eminent domain, but that he hopes "we don’t have to use eminent domain at all." While the area is close to transportation - the 7 train, the LIRR and many highways - the closest residential neighborhood is Flushing. Additionally, the area is in the flightpath of LaGuardia airport, which, according to The Sun, restricts building heights.
If approved, Bloomberg's plan calls for the land acquisition process in summer/fall 2008 and environmental remediation to begin in 2010. The proposed construction would also help ease the housing crunch that is anticipated by 2030, when the city estimates it will add another 1 million people.
Photo of abandoned car under Northern Boulevard by Pro-Zak on flickr