According to the Observer, EDC has a list of potential bidders for property at Willets Point that is currently owned by other folks: "World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein, Queens developer Jeff Levine and Related Cos. chairman Stephen Ross are among those seeking to develop Willets Point, the polluted, 62-acre auto repair district next to Citi Field, according to city records."
A little premature exuberance perhaps, since there are still some unresolved outstanding issues-especially over traffic and certain ramps to nowhere, an issue that the Observer neglects to emphasize in its story-but does mention, along with the illegal machinations of one Claire Shulman: "Since, the opposition from the main landowners has died down—many of them cut their own deals with the city—while the smaller business owners have tried to raise concerns about traffic issues and the legality of a local development corporation that was established to lobby for the project. That organization, the Flushing/Willets Point/Corona LDC, was funded in part by the Bloomberg administration, which effectively directed funds to lobby the City Council and community board. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began investigating this issue last summer after the business owners questioned its legality, although he has yet to issue any findings."
But the website does recognize that cost could become a prohibitive factor: "The Bloomberg administration insists it has enough money in its budget to proceed with the project, although some bidders and onlookers are skeptical of this claim given the high cost of acquisitions. The Bloomberg administration has also said that the bidders would pay for the remediation of the development site, although a firm price tag has not been established."
So, it appears that there aren't any firm prices because the Bloombergistas are afraid that the folks-reeling from budget cuts and layoffs-will develop a bad case of sticker shock. It seems to us, however, that the administration should strive for some degree of transparency on the cost question.
That being said, it seems that the ramp approvals are far from a done deal-and a federal environmental assessment could take some time (with a green light certainly not a given). As more and more community folks begin to see just how fraudulent the city's traffic studies really are-and that includes Flushing Commons as well-they're beginning to understand that Kermit the Mayor is more like the Wizard of Oz on the issue of greening the city; he's full of bluster but, like Oakland, there's not much there there.
The pushback is just beginning for our city's richest man. Stay tuned.