For years, the redevelopment of Willets Point has been an ever-changing series of plans that never came to fruition—from a sports stadium to a shopping mall proposal that was shot down by the New York State Court of Appeals last year.
But the one constant from borough leaders has been a call for affordable housing at Willets Point and, thankfully, it appears that a new deal to develop the site will include housing units for low-income residents as well as a number of other vital amenities.
A new agreement for Willets Point between Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the Queens Development Group will include 1,100 affordable housing units, open space, a 450-seat elementary school and retail.
We applaud the mayor and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz for the deal reached with the site’s developers. It addresses two of the borough’s greatest needs: affordable housing and new school seats. As the borough’s cost of living has risen in recent years, many residents have feared that they would be priced out. So, it is good news that this new plan for Willets Point will include housing for low- and moderate-income residents, of which more than 200 will be allocated for seniors.
Queens schools have long been cited as operating over capacity and frequently ranked among the city’s most crowded—so, parents will likely cheer the addition of a new school at Willets Point that could help alleviate overcrowding at nearby schools.
Willets Point has long been considered a blighted neighborhood and, for more than a decade, plans to redevelop the area have fizzled. We hope that this new plan—which takes into account some of the borough’s greatest needs—will bring a much-needed revitalization to a long-neglected area of Queens.