Boom Town

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The City Council is expected to approve the redevelopment of Willets Point today. Carlos Canal, owner of Flushing Towing, explains why he sold his property, while Jake Bono of Bono Sawdust Supply opposes the plan. Then, WNYC's Matthew Shuerman on why the city is moving ahead with the project and the status of Atlantic Yards and other developments.


Jake Bono and Carlos Canal

Comments [21]

Leo Queens from Queens

RJ From Brooklyn, you are correct. It is the attitude of this reporter which is shared by the monied elite in this country. They are not thinking of a diverse economic base for the City for the long term. - You can have fairly modern, clean industry and blue collar jobs in the city to take advantage of the work force and the shipping resources we have (Ports, airports, etc.).
We are putting all of our eggs on part-time, minimum wage part time services jobs and the Finance and Real Estate speculation industries which is collapsing becuase they have been taken over by organized crime to launder money
This site would have been a great place to relocate industries being moved from other parts of the City

Nov. 13 2008 01:17 PM
RJ from Brooklyn

The attitude "these will be white-collar jobs and no one wants dirty companies like these next to them" is a profoundly damaging one, harm on NYC over the past 30 years. Slowly, all of the manufacturing in NYC--formerly, NYC was one of the biggest, if not *the* biggest manufacturing city in the world--has been priced or zoned out.

It has been replaced by so-called clean white-collar jobs--financial services and its supports, high- and low-income employment (secretaries and data-input salaries not being remarkably high), tech--and pink-collar jobs, such as service industries, which are low-paying. The good-quality, essential, well-paying blue-collar jobs/industries have been pushed out. Much white-collar work--tech etc.--are being outsourced, and we know financial services are being decimated. We do still need plumbers, don't we?

Nov. 13 2008 12:12 PM
mack lipkin from chelsea

the unfairness of using eminent domain for private development rests in taking small businesses out to profit others. A fair solution would be to have a neutral party assess the portion of the development that each to be taken property represents (not some arbitrary value but what it contributes to the whole) and providing those displaced with proportionate shares in the new business as well as the fair market price of their land.

Nov. 13 2008 12:00 PM
Leo Queens from Queens

Brian, We don't need 'development'
We need the City to provide the services that they are legally obligated to provide -Sewage and paving of roads. Once you do that it will not look like a 3rd World site and the property values will go up and you will see market development being done without taxpayer dollars

Nov. 13 2008 11:59 AM

Everyone has their price. Let the private developers negotiate with the small businesses to find what that price

Nov. 13 2008 11:59 AM
Dave from Manhattan

The continual land grab of this administration is troubling, and I can't imagine if it came knocking on my door. And with the deep pockets involved, it may only be a matter of time before even the outer boroughs are whitewashed and privatized for profit.

Nov. 13 2008 11:58 AM
Leo Queens from Queens

Steve: OF COURSE this is costing taxpayers money - It will take several BILLIONS of dollars to taxpayers to remove the polluted soil and ash; refilling with clean soil; raising the ground so it doesn't flood as this is a Federal flood zone. Also there is the cost of buying out the current owners - There is no transparency as to how much the City is paying for the buyouts. Also, taxpayers are on the hook for the payouts to the politicians and unions in exchange for their agreement

Nov. 13 2008 11:56 AM
hjs from 11211

where should the people live??

the sprawl is unsustainable people are ready to move back to the city and rent are too high we need more housing i can buy sawdust from anywhere.

Nov. 13 2008 11:56 AM

The possible use eminent domain to remove property owners in favor a large-scale developers and the recent rescinding of term-limits are two troubling abuses of power by the City Council

Nov. 13 2008 11:56 AM
Chris from NYC

The use of eminent domain to take property and give it to private developers is simply WRONG. If the government is going to invoke E.D. then they MUST retain it and run whatever they build there so that the benefits inure (continually) to the public – not just a sub-market pay-off. This whole concept (E.D.)is being corrupted

Nov. 13 2008 11:53 AM
Enrique from Flushing

Why are we ignoring all the poor people who go there to try and get their cars fixed for cheap?

I know a lot of people who go there when they need parts for their cars because they can't afford new parts for their clunkers.

Nov. 13 2008 11:53 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

I agree with Jake. The Mayor and Commissioner Burden did the same thing in Greenpoint/Williamsburg--luxury, luxury, luxury, luxury! Now with the downturn, nothing is going to be built! It is a land grab!

Nov. 13 2008 11:51 AM
Leo Queens from Queens

Willets Point is a big boondogle that will transfer billions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to politically connected developers and corrupt politicians.

This was an opportunity to concentrate manufacturing and new industry jobs that have been moved from other parts of the City.

Does anybody know that this is a flood zone clearly marked on Federal maps; that is is at the end of the runway at La Guardia which prevents any tall buildings from being built; That there are at least 10 feet of polluted soil and ash from over the thirty years that this was a garbage dump where all dangerous chemicals were dumped and burned?

Nov. 13 2008 11:51 AM
Alex from BK


Nov. 13 2008 11:51 AM
PC from ny, ny

I'm with Jake.

Nov. 13 2008 11:50 AM
Steve (the other one) from Manhattan

Is this costing NYC anything? Such developments usually do, so why are we wasting money on this in this economy? Who will rent all the new space? Sounds like a boondoggle to me.

Nov. 13 2008 11:47 AM
hjs from 11211

why did the city pay 10 times the real value?

Nov. 13 2008 11:47 AM
Todd from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Developer Bruce Ratner told the Times (in March!) that construction of the Atlantic Yards residential complex -- what I would describe as the meat of the project -- will be on hold “for years.”

Put that up against what Brooklyn activist told the Brooklyn Rail yseterday:

"I don’t think it necessarily was fully blighted before, but after he gets done knocking down everything, and making way for the development, if he doesn’t actually get to build, then it actually will be a blighted neighborhood."

(, Yawp)

Nov. 13 2008 11:37 AM
YourGo from Astoria

Willets Point is an awesome place in NYC. It feels like something out of madmax. It will be a shame to see it go. to all artists please document it as much as possible before it goes. i hope it doesnt. There is no need for more swanky out-of-towner catering covention halls or hotels.

Nov. 13 2008 11:33 AM
Steven from NYC

Brian, forget Willets point, what is going on with the Hudson yards and Atlantic yards projects?

There has been a lot of discussion about Atlantic yards and Willets Point, I haven't heard anything about Hudson yards since they signed the deal with Related.

Nov. 13 2008 11:09 AM
steve from nyc

Why does Mr. Bloomburg insist on building a legacy on bloated and unnecessary realestate deals when the 7 Train extention, the Second Avenue line/Lexington Avenue overcrowding go unnoticed? Where has he been in during the financial meltdown--promoting (admittedly needed) bike storage rooms?

Nov. 13 2008 10:38 AM

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