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Disputed Willets Point Megaproject Gets City Council's Blessing

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The doomed Willets West mall saw a glimmer of hope this week. The City Council voted to support the plan to develop a mall and movie theater alongside Citi Field in Willets Point, Queens, the Daily News reports. The Bloomberg-era megaproject was halted over the summer after a court found that the land developers Related Companies and Sterling Equities planned to perch the 1.4 million square foot megaproject on was legally parkland. Following the ruling, the De Blasio administration dropped out of the appeals process leaving the developers to fend for themselves. The City Council will now file an amicus brief with the court that may help push the development along.

"I'm actually surprised. I don't know why the administration has taken the position it's taken. We stand strongly behind that vote, and we are filing this amicus brief," Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said following the hearing. The City Council has voted twice to approve the Willets Point plan, which would recast the so-called "Iron Triangle" as a destination.

Mayor de Blasio has, in the past, voiced his concerns with the project's lack of affordable housing. "The deal as it stood did not actually mandate any affordable housing actually be built," Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen told the Times back in August. "We really wanted to see significant improvements that would mean that the public would also see a healthy mix of affordable and market-rate housing, delivered on a real time frame. We hope that this team will continue to work toward that goal with us." The Willets Point megaproject was initially negotiated under the Bloomberg administration.
· City Council votes to support Willets Point mall in Queens amid developer's legal battle [NYDN]
· City Threatens to Drop Support of Willets Point Redevelopment [Curbed]
· Court Ruling Halts Willets Point Megaproject Mall [Curbed]
&183; All Willets Point coverage [Curbed]