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Willets Point Plan Hits More Bumps on Road to Hotels, Etc.

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It's too early to say if the city's huge redevelopment plan for the Iron Triangle in Willets Point is doomed or if opposition to it is only background noise, but hearings have now been postponed and history isn't encouraging. Yesterday, the dreaded word "stalled" was even used. As for the history of this part of Queens lacking in paved streets and sewers, in today's Observer, Eliot Brown outlines the failed efforts to redo Willets Point by virtually everyone to wield power in New York City in the last half century: Mayors Robert Wagner, Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani, plus Robert Moses. Moses wanted to turn the 61 acres of auto shops and businesses into a park and parking for the 1964-65 Worlds Fair. Owners hired a Mario Cuomo to stop him. Interestingly, the city is pushing for a rezoning before having any developer or real plan in place, which fueled opposition among local politicians, housing advocates, organized labor and the local businesses and workers already fighting displacement. Public hearings on zoning changes that would allow hotels, retail, housing and a convention facility will get started at some point in the next few weeks. On the bright side, there's a new indie movie about the area called "Chop Shop."
· Willets Point, A Development Waterloo? [NYO]
· Redevelop plans for Willets Pt. stalled [NYDN]
· iTri Plan Closer to Junking Chop Shop Row? [Curbed]