Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Curb Your Enthusiasm!

Curbed is reporting on the latest EDC efforts to appear as if it has a great deal of momentum going in its plan to redevelop Willets Point-and remove the legitimate property owners: "Now, with the one-year anniversary of the rezoning win fast approaching, there is Willets Point news to report. The city's Economic Development Corporation has announced a new set of acquisition deals with landowners in the, er, colorful area, bringing the total amount of iTri land acquired to about 70 percent. And now the bigger headline: The EDC has issued a Request for Qualifications to interested developers. Could this crazy plan actually be happening? You gotta believe!"

What's left out of EDC's Lombino breathlessness, is that the city agency doesn't have agreements with over half of the current property owners-and that its methodology has apparently been changed, indicating an almost complete absence of truthfulness. As its press release tells us: "The City is contemplating moving forward with a staged development strategy for Willets Point that will first focus on the southwest portion of the District that includes approximately 18 acres of development area and streets and about four acres of an interim buffer zone."

This is a complete about face from its original assertion that, because of the soil contamination, the entire 60 or so acre parcel needed to be developed all at once. So, as Meatloaf used to sing: "What'll it be boy?" To us, it looks as if the city is continuing to posture-and we're in for a long an expensive process that the city lacks funds to see to a conclusion. Just wait until the budget starts to crater and the re-elected Bloomberg tells New Yorkers that he's going to spend $700 million to evict hundreds of tax paying businesses and thousands of workers-mostly immigrants (another example of how the mayor's campaign rhetoric directed at immigrants rings hollow.)

As fantasy prone as the EDC statement is, it lacks the imagination of the Queens BP who commented as follows: "Each step forward gives us a clearer vision of a plan that will redevelop Willets Point in way that will capitalize on the resources surrounding it, including recreational uses and a network of highways, while strengthening the entire region. The redevelopment of Willets Point will also provide construction and permanent jobs that will broaden our City’s tax base and create a much improved, greener environment for a new generation of residents and businesses.”

Our funny bone got tickled with the "network of highways" remark-an indication that Helen has overlooked the fact that there is no rational plan in place to get people in and out from upwards of 1,000,000 square feet of development. And we're still waiting for the city to put a price on all of this malarkey. The city should be informed at the costs-after all, the pie in the sky benefits are being trumpeted, so why not put a price tag on all of this so we can do our own cost-benefit analysis?