In yesterday's NY Sun Dave Lombino reports that mega real estate developer Vornado has withdrawn from the Willets Point competition. The reasons aren't quite clear since the realtor refrained from commenting on the story, but according to sources "high costs for land acquisition and environmental remediation make it a difficult project to build and finance."
These aren't the only reasons, however. A major source of consternation is the fact that EDC is trying to get all of the applicants to submit proposals and after they do the agency is planning to take One good idea from Column A and One from Column B and so on. After cherry picking all of the best concepts EDC plans to award the development to one firm with all of the other companies' good ideas served up on a silver platter for the winning bidder.
From a development standpoint there is one giant hurdle-EDC's desire to rezone the property prior to the selection of a developer. We just can't see the City Council accepting this kind of sight unseen maneuver. The only way that the council can have an impact is if a designated developer with a plan comes before it for an approval. Rezoning without these in place appears to us to be a non-starter.