WILLETS POINT

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Willets Point Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard is the heart of the “iron triangle” consisting of metal works, scrap metal dealers, car repair shops, and wholesalers. The city has been trying to get the businesses evicted for years, but the owners have fought back with lawsuits. Powerful interests have wished to build housing projects, shopping centers, sports arenas and other schemes for years.

The city believes the area is an eyesore (as do the New York Mets, whose cavernous new stadium is a few blocks away. Yet, the city has refused to pave streets, fix potholes, and install sewers, and the area is always flooded after rain or snow.

The photo shows the one deli on Willets Point Boulevard, and the one residence on the second floor over the deli.

The area is popularly known in the media as Willets Point, but only the boulevard runs here. The actual Willets Point is where Fort Totten is situated in Bayside.





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Categorized in: One Shots

5 Responses to WILLETS POINT

  1. Ed Unneland says:

    I’ve always thought that the disputes over areas like Willet’s Point, and before it Lincoln Center and the WTC area, arose because people get a take or leave it cash offer for the land as it is at that point. If government is going to take real property for development purposes (as opposed to a police station, or a trunk road or such), it seems much fairer to allow the current property owners a choice between the cash payout and a continuing ownership stake in the new development.

    For instance, the City could have said to Willet’s Point: OK, we recognize that a big reason the area is a bit worn around the edges, if you will, is due to our decades of under-investment in the infrastructure of the neighborhood. On the other hand, we would like to make a comprehensive master plan that will attract higher-revenue businesses and residences in order to reap a stream of continuing revenue from the up-front investment. So the City will take title to your shop, but we will offer in return, at your option, either cash or an equity stake in a co-op corporation that will own the new development. The City’s equity stake will represent the investment in new sewers and repaved roads (and the cash pay-outs to those who do not trust the City), and your equity stake would represent the land value that your are contributing. As the value of the co-op goes up, the value of your stake will go up; as the revenues increase, so too will your dividends increase.

    I had a real estate instructor who would lament “I could have been a billionairess” because her father owned property where Lincoln Center now stands. Now, an answer to her is that her dad’s property would not have been worth that much if the State had not made the investments that they did to make the neighborhood a destination. But there is an element of truth to her lament as the cash paid today for the property without the planned governmental investments does not truly reflect the scarcity value of land (Will Rogers had a point when he noted “Buy land, son, they ain’t makin’ any more.”) and how it produces a cash flow reaching into eternity. Giving the land owners a continuing stake in the development may make these eminent domain situations a bit less problematic.

  2. James Miley says:

    There is an interesting movie from 2008 about the “iron triangle” called “Chop Shop”, check it out

  3. Dan says:

    What is the city’s msster plan for Willet’s Point anyway? The businesses there now are unattractive but places like auto repair shops and welders have to be someplace.

  4. Tal Barzilai says:

    I don’t see why the city didn’t just give them the needed infrastructure that their taxes were paying for. Just like any other place they will agree on building something for their rich buddies, they will claim that the area is blighted despite there being no evidence of such thing. Just because this is a bunch of auto shops, doesn’t mean that it’s blighted, and there needs to places for things like this. If you actually go inside those buildings, you will see that they are not abandoned at all. As usual, neighborhoods that are either low income or minority dominated always become the target because they have little to no protection from having their land being taken away compared to the rich, who have the best lawyers money can buy.

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