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Checking in on Willets Point: Still a Nasty Stalemate

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Today's Times takes an extended look at the Battle for Willets Point, which is the Queens equivalent of Coney Island redevelopment or Atlantic Yards. What they have in common is the ambitious nature of the plans and the virulence of the opposition they've engendered. In the end, though, the sheer scale of the $3 billion Willets Point residential, hotel and retail plan and the fact that it impacts 255 businesses, countless land owners and 1,200 employees could make the other look likes garden parties. In the words of one business owner involved in the opposition to the big city plan: "We're fighting back." The times says the city is stepping up its efforts to cut deals with land owners and apply pressure, but also notes problems, including a letter signed by 32 members of the City Council saying they'll vote the plan down if eminent domain is used. Also, there have been relocation difficulties for the handful of businesses that have cut deals. The Willets Point Industry and Realty Association has spent $200,000 on lobbying and its members have contributed almost as much to key City Council members since 2006. Also, there's a Willets Point Defense Committee created by auto body shops. The City Planning Commission votes on the proposal on September 24.
· A Dilapidated Tract of Queens, and a Fight to Control Its Future [NYT]
· Willets Point Coverage [Curbed]