The Willets Point project, undertaken by the Queens Development Group, has been controversial from the very beginning. Residents, elected officials, urban planning experts and others went back and forth on what the best thing for the underdeveloped area would be.
Even the plan approved by the City Council in November 2013 was hardly embraced by everyone — and remains the target of legal action seeking to block it.
But the QDG assured the community that it would maintain transparency as best it could throughout the project.
A contract between Community Board 7 and the developers was drawn up which required, among other things, the QDG to meet quarterly with CB 7 to update board members on the project.
Though the two parties have been meeting, it appears that some information may have been withheld during the most recent meeting two weeks ago.
Plans obtained by the Chronicle, dated Dec. 6, 2013, show that schematics for phase one of the Willets Point redevelopment project were submitted to the Economic Development Corp. before the last update meeting.
Adding up to almost 100 pages, the plans show floor-by-floor layouts of the planned hotel, entertainment center, shopping mall, parking garages and outdoor lots.
“As far as I know, we didn’t receive the schematics,” CB 7 District Manager Marilyn Bitterman said. “If we had, we would have discussed it at the meeting.”
The district manager said a representative of the QDG — a partnership between Sterling Equities and the Related Companies — contacted her office earlier this week but did not say any new paperwork or plans had been filed or approved by EDC.
Bitterman added that the schematics fall under the information the QDG is required to share with the board.
QDG could not be reached for comment but EDC, which is not contractually obligated to meet with the board quarterly, could not confirm if the plans have in fact been approved and finalized by EDC,
The mall, hotel, entertainment center and smaller commercial buildings are nothing new. The QDG shared their ideas for the area more than a year ago, though the specifics had not been known by everyone.
The plans show the mall will take up much of Willets West while the hotel — which will be 13 floors, including a rooftop bar — and smaller commercial buildings intended for restaurants, sit east of CitiField.
But what may be most surprising is the vast amount of parking in the plans.
According to the schematics, around 6,000 spots in garages and outdoor parking will be created, taking up a hefty share of the 23 acres the city intends to turn over. Only 10 percent of that land has been obtained so far.
Almost all the land east of Citi Field will be a large outdoor lot, with two more parking lots sitting to the north.
There is no sign of where the intended residential buildings and school would be placed as they are slated to be built around 2025 during phase two of the project.