Developers of the $3 million Willets Point project are not contractually required to build affordable housing in part because the city wants to shield itself from a potential lawsuit.
The Bloomberg administration did not want to risk paying out legal damages to the developers — Related Cos. and Sterling Equities, the real estate arm of the New York Mets — should the city fail to build additional ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway, an essential precursor to constructing the housing component of the project, officials and the companies said at a recent meeting.
Housing advocates, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods chanted “What do we want? Affordable housing!” across the street from Citi Field on Friday, decrying what they considered a lackluster push for it in Willets Point and calling for a new agreement between the city and the development group selected to rejuvenate the Iron Triangle.
The debate over the Willets Point redevelopment plan continues, as the City Council and community members calling for more affordable housing seemingly refuse to move towards middle ground.
One side wants to see affordable housing built in Willets Point right away, or at least see a guarantee of affordable housing, while the other wants to build a community in a an undeveloped area before building housing complexes, which would include affordable housing units.
Senator Jose Peralta is inviting all students in kindergarten through eighth grade to participate in the New York State Senate's Summer Reading Program. This program is aimed at assisting children keep their reading skills honed and minds sharp during their time away from school.
With the end of the school year in sight, many students are anxiously awaiting the summer months. To keep school age children in the mindset of learning, the New York State Senate, in conjunction with the New York State Library, offers the Summer Reading Program to students across the State.
Participating students will use an online journal to keep track of their reading progress throughout the summer. Children who submit a completed journal will receive a Summer Reading Certificate. To have the children register, please visit www.nyread.com.
If City Hall put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage.
That’s essentially what’s happening at Willets Point. Unfortunately, it’s hardly causing a stir with anyone other than local affordable housing advocates.
The Willets Point development plan agreed to by the City Council in 2008 called for a a mix of retail space and housing, including the construction of 820 homes for families making $38,400 a year or less; 330 homes for families earning between $38,400 and $46,080; and 770 units for families earning from $46,080 to $99,840.