Ross, Wilpon, Katz putting Queens on the map

Steven Spinola

President, Real Estate Board of New York

Willets Point, a joint-venture of Related Companies and Sterling Equities, will transform a long contaminated area into 5 million square feet of new development with a mix of retail, housing and entertainment, generate thousands of jobs and bring billions in revenue to the Iron Triangle of Queens.

This $3 billion project – the largest private sector investment in the borough’s history– will create 12,000 union construction jobs and 7,100 permanent jobs as well as generate $4.2 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years.

Recently, the City Planning Commission certified changes to the zoning for the commercial and retail project near Citi Field and began the 7-month public review process.

The Real Estate Board of New York commends long-time members Stephen M. Ross, Chairman and CEO of Related Companies, and New York Mets owners Fred Wilpon, CEO of Sterling Equities, and Saul Katz, COO of Sterling Equities, for bringing this much-needed project to New York City.

REBNY supports this re-development project which has a goal of seamlessly linking the communities of Corona and Flushing and turning the area into a vibrant destination.

Once approved, the first phase of the redevelopment project will involve a comprehensive environmental cleanup of 23 acres of contaminated land that is expected to begin in 2014 and be completed the following year.

After the cleanup, development of 126th Street will begin and add retail shops, restaurants and a 200-room hotel to the east of Citi Field while on the west, developers will create Willets West, a one million-square-foot retail and entertainment center on the current Citi Field parking lot.

After this initial phase of development, the plan calls for the city to construct new ramps off the Van Wyck Expressway to expand access to the area for visitors and future residents alike.

The next phase will create a new neighborhood of 2,500 new housing units – including 875 affordable units–over the 23 acres of newly-cleaned land. Full residential build out is scheduled for 2028.

Willets Point has the capability to create a thriving neighborhood centered around retail, offices, hotels and entertainment to offer a high quality of life and put this area of Queens “on the map.” REBNY looks forward to this much-needed project proceeding.

In other REBNY News:

Don’t miss a great panel discussion of “Snap Shots: Creative Deals Outside the Box” during REBNY’s Members Luncheon from 11:45 am to 2 pm on Thursday, April 25, 2013 at the Hilton New York, 1335 Avenue of the Americas. Panelists are Kenneth F. Bernstein, President & CEO of Acadia Realty Trust; Christopher Schlank, Managing Partner at Savanna; and Michael Stern, Managing Partner of JDS Development. Robert A. Knakal will serve as the panel’s moderator. Tickets are $90 per person; $900 for a table of 10 and $1,080 for a table of 12. For registration, contact Desiree Jones at

Join REBNY’s Sales Brokers Committee for the presentation of the real estate industry’s highest honors for commercial brokers. The Most Ingenious Deal of the Year Awards will be presented during the 69th annual cocktail party on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the 101 Club, 101 Park Avenue. To register, contact Desiree Jones at