Redevelopment project revived for area next to Mets' stadium

FILE - In this April 2, 2015 photo, CitiField, home to the New York Mets, is visible from a dusty, unpaved street in the Willets Point section of Queens, New York, where Jorge works on repairing a car. A long-planned redevelopment project for the neighborhood is back on the drawing board. The new plan is for three, 100 percent affordable buildings including a standalone building with 220 homes for low-income seniors and apartments for families at lower incomes than originally proposed. The plan also includes public open space and a new 450-seat public elementary school, according to a statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio's office. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Kathy Willens

NEW YORK (AP) — A long-planned redevelopment project for a neighborhood of run-down car-repair shops next to the New York Mets' stadium is back on the drawing board, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Under the revamped version of the Willets Point project adjacent to Citi Field, all of the 1,100 apartments will be affordable to low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, the Democratic mayor said.

"This project delivers big on the No. 1 priority for people in Queens: finding an affordable place to live," de Blasio said. The project also will include a public elementary school, open space and retail shops.

The redevelopment was first proposed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent who vowed to transform Willets Point's grimy auto body shops and potholed streets into "New York's next great neighborhood."

The original Bloomberg plan called for 5,500 apartments, a hotel, convention center and retail stores.

The plan appeared dead in 2015 when a court ruled the city could not take a piece of Flushing Meadows Corona Park for a 1.4 million-square-foot shopping mall. The latest version of the plan will not include the mall.

Related Cos. and Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz will remain developers of the revamped Willets Point project.

The New York Times reports the city has spent $287 million on land in the Willets Point area, cleaning it of the remains of hazardous chemicals and paying for the relocation of businesses.

City officials said the latest redevelopment plan will make good use of the site.

"After years of false starts and controversies, this is a thoughtful way to get shovels in the ground, keep our promises to this community, and begin building an affordable neighborhood for seniors and working families," Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen said.

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