The convention center and hotel will be the first tangible visible evidence of the massive redevelopment set to get underway near Citi Field/Willets Point.
Back in October, the Willets Point Development Plan was approved by the City Council, paving the way for construction to begin near the Iron Triangle (and slamming the door shut on Willets Point businesses who had hoped to remain in the unkempt area).
Rising Apple outlined in October that the redevelopment by Citi Field will include much more than the convention center and hotel:
The redevelopment of Willets Point, which will be carried out by the city, Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities, and other private parties, has been one of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s key agenda items for years. Now that the final hurdle has been cleared, construction can begin on what will be a hotel, school, convention center, restaurants, bars, shops, housing, and parking. The bulk of the construction will take place next to Citi Field on 126th street, where the auto body shops/Iron Triangle currently are.
Another part of the development, that was added in more recently, will be the construction of a mall where Shea Stadium once stood, at a location next to the ballpark that is currently being used for Citi Field parking.
According to the Queens Chronicle, Phase 1 of the plan will focus on demolition and cleaning up the area where the chop shops currently are on 126th street. After that is complete, the hotel, shops, restaurants, and bars will begin to rise (construction on that portion of the plan is scheduled to be completed by 2016).
No matter how good a plan seems, there will always be dissenters.
As one commenter posted should be clarified, the hotel and convention center aren’t part of the plan that will take shape by the Iron Triangle. It is, though, part of the redevelopment of the area that Michael Bloomberg championed during his time in office.
In the case of the Willets Point development, some worry about the involvement of Fred Wilpon’s Sterling Equities, and some (understandably) feel for the businesses in the Iron Triangle that have been uprooted.
In the grand scheme of things, though, this redevelopment will make the area around Citi Field much more attractive and much more enjoyable during game days.
I can do without the mall rising where Shea Stadium was, but if that’s the price to pay for shops, hotels, restaurants, and bars, so be it.